4. New Requirements of Graduates.
The media panel was clear; there are no more general purpose reporters
because deep knowledge of subject is critical. We need graduates who can write and code, who can use tools
that provide graphical proof. They must have an appreciation of aesthetics and understand the user experience.
They must write in a concise fashion, then embrace the social web to maximize their readership.
5. CCO Role at Inflection Point.
Gary Sheffer, who is chief communications officer at GE and the chair of the
Arthur W. Page Society, said that the CCO role is being mashed up with the chief marketing officer role. “There is
a real sense of urgency on defining the future job of the CCO. Business has been much too quiet on important
issues. The CCO should push his or her company to educate the public on energy, food safety, technology, as the
inside game does not work anymore.” He quoted his boss, Jeff Immelt, CEO of GE, as saying, “We live in a
complicated world. Companies do not exist in isolation. It is an important lesson for leadership on how GE fits
into this world.”
Future of Agencies.
Salman Amin, who runs the North American business of SC Johnson, was eloquent in his
critique of agencies. “Agencies are fragmenting and asking CMOs to be brand curators. This will lead to ever
more transactional and less relationship oriented business. We want value creation and it can come from
anywhere. We need multi-disciplinary executives on our business who can go beyond the day to day, to focus on
strategy and innovation.” Joanne Lovato of Samsung Mobile added, “We want our agencies to get out of their
traditional swim lanes, but also to cooperate on the execution of great ideas. Our goal is marketing ideas you
have never seen before (such as the Jay-Z album launch to Galaxy owners on an exclusive basis — the album
went platinum before mass market release).
7. The Broader Mandate of Public Relations.
Justin Sikora of Darden noted that the primary function of his social
media group is to respond to customers who are complaining about service. “We are an engagement tool. We are
using our community as input for decisions on keeping or removing products from the menu, or testing new
ones.” Stephanie Moritz of ConAgra told the story of the pop-top on Chef Boyardee packaging, where the
disappearance from the shelves caused a mini-protest by passionate consumers. “So we did a re-launch of the
Easy Open can, with Second City actors who focused on people who were angry that pop tops were being
reintroduced; a bit of tongue in cheek was important.” She also identified the most loyal fans of the can and
sent them notes, coupons and the Second City video link.
I am so proud of the Edelman team who took on this labor of love for the academics, most notably Nancy
Ruscheinski, vice chair, client engagement, for Edelman in the U.S. and director of the Academic Summit, whose
infectious enthusiasm for the project made it a great success.