Communication Architecture, Pt. 3

Part 3 on the Comm. Arch. model that I’ve been developing and using with clients. The reason I’ve been working on this is to try and develop a strategic dashboard that will help CEO’s and CMO’s manage their end of the communication, content and conversation of their brands, people and organization. There is a big challenges with this:

Organizations are built around an old model.

We have departments built around functional silos that do not recognize today’s communication realities. The marketing department handles brand advertising. The sales department does it’s own promotions. The PR department handles the press. Perhaps there is even an investor relations group. And within any of these you have sub-silos for internet, social media, events, even search has pure SEO/SEM people. It’s maddening to navigate and ends up barraging the consumer with so much confusing noise. But what is the solution?

For example, when people posted videos about Domino’s Pizza on YouTube who should respond — marketing or public relations? It’s a problem for both departments. Because it is showing up in the press, you need crisis response PR working on it. And because it is hurt the brand and potentially sales, you need marketing working on it. But doing what and how?

In this instance, we have an unusual response from an unusual source – the CEO himself on YouTube. It’s brilliant. The right response from the right person on the right medium. And then a campaign went into gear that addressed needs across the board: product, research, marketing, PR. It was not a “new media” or a “social media” campaign (as is so en vogue right now). It was an authentic response to real customer feedback. They listened, did something about it, captured content of them doing something about it, and then told that story. It hits all four quadrants on the matrix.  But this is rare, and it shouldn’t be.

Top leaders need to own macro-message management of their company and brand.

Period. End of story. Show me a great brand and I will show you a fanatical leader behind it who is accused of micro-managing every detail. There are the obvious ones like Steve Jobs who’s brilliant secrecy around new product development whips people into such a frenzy that he needs very little PR staff to handle it. But there are lesser known brand geniuses like Herb Keller at Southwest Airlines who keep a company focused, on-message and relevant to consumers. Unfortunately, these leaders are the exception and not the rule.

This Comm Arch model proposes a structure to manage all communications.

It is a tool for development and a dashboard for reviewing messages. In fact, on the next post, we’ll deconstruct the Domino’s Pizza example into this framework to see how it works.