2012 Conference: David Jones explores how communication evolution creates new world for business
David Jones, Global CEO of Havas and author of the best-selling new book, “Who Cares Wins: Why Good Business is Better Business” delivered an illuminating presentation at the 2012 International Corporate Citizenship Conference on evolutions in communication and their ramifications for business behavior.
Jones joked that the title of his address could have been “Preaching to the Converted,” as the assembled professionals are well aware that business needs to do better to do well. “Look at this as ammunition you can take back to your companies,” he advised.
Pointing to the global economic crisis sparked by a pursuit of profit for profits sake, Jones suggested that if business doesn’t change its behavior there will be another crisis. But he emphasized that since that time we have moved into an age where people are empowered through digital and social technology to hold business leaders accountable. With a new “radical transparency” making what was once private public, “If you behave in the wrong way today, you’ll get found out.”
Millennials are big drivers in this new world, Jones said. They have different standards and are experts at using a technology that gives individuals the ability to create mass movement. Jones identified a number of ways that, as a result of this evolution/revolution, business is changing and needs to change.
From Image to Reality – Businesses need to focus on creating the best possible realities and share it. “If our companies’ realities differ from the image we’ll get taken down,” Jones said. He stressed that it’s about transparency, authenticity, and speed in communicating about the good and the bad. “People don’t demand perfection but they do demand honesty,” he remarked.
From Control to Collaboration – In the past, those who had the most information had the most power. Today those who share the most information have the most power. In the old world, Jones said, consumers might tell 10 or 20 people how they felt about a product, Now it could be thousands, hundreds of thousands or millions.
Employees to Advocates – Employees today are in a position to be the voice of a company with negative or positive results. Those employees are more inclined to assume that voice as they have more of a personal connection to their company. This is a problem for the more than 70 percent of companies that do not have a social media policy.
From Buying Attention to Earning It – Getting a message out is no longer about simply buying more ad time and the volume of communication by a company online or anywhere else. Ninety percent of branded viral videos fail to generate buzz, Jones said. “It’s an art rather than science.”
From Who to Where – There is a new power connected with the ability to locate people and the products or services they desire. Eighty-five percent of mobile search queries are location based, Jones said. Calling the fears stirred by this technological ability generational-based, Jones predicted that in the future giving up some degree of privacy won’t involve the major issues that have been written about.
From Profit to Purpose – It can no longer just be about making money. Eighty-six percent of consumers think it’s important for companies to stand for more than just profitability. Jones describes this new reality for business as the Social Business Idea – the overlap of making money and doing good. “Capitalism is a good thing. Business is a good thing,” said Jones. “But business has to behave the right way. It’s about good intentions and great execution.”
Jones sees this new Social Business Idea as a force behind social media. He contends that social responsibility, or social irresponsibility, drives social media. “Social media has taken CSR out of the silo and put it in the P&L statement,” Jones said.