Live from Critical Issues Forum; Burson CEO and Hillary advisor Mark Penn

November 8, 2007

The 2007 Critical Issues Forum is on to desert now (a small semi-sphere of flourless chocolate cake) and patiently awaiting the panel discussion which includes Mark Penn, CEO of Burson Marsteller and author of “Microtrends:”

  • People think the future is 10-15 years away. It’s here now
  • For example, the majority of people buying cars is women. Automakers know this, but the system is built for men. They don’t fundamentally change things to catch up
  • People are diverging to so many microtrends so quickly. Stop trying to lump them together. Until we do that, we won’t see the changes in agencies that are needed
  • There is a difference between being authentic and trying to seem authentic. I realized this in 1995 when I first met Bill Clinton. I realized in 5 minutes I was dealing with a very serious, hard working, authentic person. It’s impossible to do this from the outside
  • Most people thinkg PR is the height of inauthenticiy. It’s important to overcome the gap. Don’t always go back to the client and tell them to change. A lot of times they already have. We don’t always believe it and and competitors are driving the opposite message.
  • Andrew Heyward: We have to figure out a way to reward the ‘disruptor’ within organizations
  • Iwata: Intranets sound boring. We use them in the modern area find out who we are. One starting point to understand your employees to find out. If we did it again, we’d go outside our firewall to our partners. If your team creates, stages, and analyzes this conversation, that is incredible power. You can actually deliver the entire dialogue. Then you can find out your response mechanism to drive organizational change. This is not a traditional communications function.
  • Blackshaw: Before you drop a lot of money in a media campaign, find out first the openness to believability. First thing is maybe creating mechanisms for holding back. If, in fact, the ad messaging is at odds with the conversation, may be hold back. What the PR world needs to do is figure out how to reconcile the two.
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