The International Association of Business Communicators’ EuroComm 2013 in Brussels drew to a close a few days ago. And, predictably enough, given all the planning and hard work that went into preparing it, the event was a resounding success. The conference slogan – Disruptive Communication for Disruptive Times – sought to convey both the inescapable uncertainties and the huge opportunities that face professional communicators who are seeking a way to convey their messages through the (dis)information blizzard.
Communicators from around the region will gather in Brussels from April 10-12 this year for Eurocomm 2013. The event will focus on “Disruptive Communication for Disruptive Times” as communicators are continuously facing change in their environment, tools, and their very companies.
Being held in Brussels, the event presents an opportunity to look at how the Commission and Parliament are adapting to change and to ask questions about the upcoming elections.
For several years, ZN has been actively involved in IABC, with several members on the Belgian board as well as in the region. “It is a great opportunity to meet fellow communicators, find out about their challenges and learn from each other,” says Philip Weiss, IABC Chair for Europe, Middle East and North Africa.
Eurocomm will have 18 minute inspiring talks (borrowed from TED), a Pecha Kucha style event – where everyone can put their story forward – and hands-on workshops that IABC is known for.
As always, the ZN’s team of Hyperthinkers have been hard at work. Their heads becoming so hot with ideas that it would blind an infrared camera and boil the kettle from a distance. Here’s a look at some of the things they’ve been up to:
Animal Testing Perspectives – Animal testing is a controversial issue and one that is difficult for the general public to fully grasp.
That’s why the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA), together with ZN, created a space that could help people understand the nuances surrounding the issues – including the link between research and health/healthcare benefits – and where an honest and balanced debate could take place.
The website has two sub campaigns. The first relates to new EU rules that will require scientists to publish research summaries online. It aims to bring more transparency by asking what information people want to see. Have a look at research studies in plain words.
The second has to do with the increasing pressure to end animal research in Europe. If no more animals would be tested on in Europe, what would the ramifications of this policy be? Would animal testing become a major industry elsewhere? For this reason, Animal Testing Perspectives is launching a page to discuss all the potential side effects. To find out more, visit Shall it stay or shall it go?
James Elles – James Elles is a member of the European Parliament. He is a member of the Parliament’s Budget committee and substitutes for many others. He is also the founder and chair of the Transatlantic Policy Network and co-founder of the European Internet Foundation. Now that you’ve seen his resume, we can agree that “government elite” is a pretty accurate description. So why is ZN involved with an EU politician?
In addition to providing communication strategies for companies and associations, we also provide services for… people! We recently gave Mr. Elles’ site a makeover and made him more accessible to the people. Take a look at http://www.jameselles.com.
IABC – If you are in the business of communications, you will be familiar with the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC). No? Well, it is really big network that helps “practitioners” (people in the biz) connect and share knowledge.
It currently has 16,000 members, and guess who chairs the Europe and Middle East region? Our very own Chief Hyperthinker, Philip Weiss! In an effort to give IABC Europe a facelift, we gave its website a good do-over too! You can see the result on europe.iabc.com.
If you would like to know more about IABC, Phil wrote about his experiences and the benefits of joining the association on his hyperthinker.eu blog.
ZN is currently working on many other exciting projects, so stay tuned for more news!
Networking has become a very important skill in our work as communicators. For many year, I have been personally involved with many organisations and networks, one of them has been the focus of a great deal of work. It is IABC, the International Association of Business Communicators, of which I am now Chair for the Europe and Middle East region.
The network has been very useful in helping me meet interesting people, introduce clients to peers and learn new skills. In fact, it was through IABC that I met several authors who helped me get my publishing contract with Gower for my book. Coincidentally, (hrmm) “Hyperthinking” will hit the shelves of every good bookstore near you by the end of the month.
IABC also put me in contact with several clients. However, its most important benefit is that it has served as an open communication channel for a variety of people who bring new ideas and perspectives to the table. It has also helped me engage with many EU officials in an open and informal way.
At the end of October we met at the IBM Forum to revisit our understanding of crisis management. In an age where crises are more frequent and virulent than ever before communicators need a better understanding of how they can adapt to these changes. Recent examples include VW falling victim to a virulent online attack by Greenpeace, Egyptian activists using the web to mobilize support against Moubarak and IBM anticipating a social media crisis. No company, individual or government is immune to this new challenge. Read more
ZN is part of a cool social media event on the horizon in Brussels on 25 October 2011. Philip Weiss, ZN’s chief HyperTh!nker and evangelist will be exploring, along with a team of online specialists, from corporate, institutional and consulting worlds, whether social media really can help you manage in a crisis.
Do not miss this unique event, find out more and register for this event.
At the IABC World conference, Shel Holtz gave a great presentation on why ‘Your Company Must Become A Media Company’ (see the slides below). He also recorded the content of this presentation that can be downloaded as a podcast. He further talked about this notion as well as the concept of content curation in an article on the CW blog.
Over the past few years we have been working with many clients on the importance of getting the web content right, starting from the ‘Content Critical’ message of Gerry McGovern, leading to more sophisticated ‘transmedia’ content strategies that Shel touches on in his podcast.
We now work on developing ‘editorial’ strategies where we explore how clients need to set-up the right structure to get content approved by the relevant members of the organisation for the content to be published. We also work on editorial plans to ensure that the resources, the tone and the substance of the stories are planned ahead of time, as many organisations underestimate the time and the importance of having the right set-up to manage this.
The podcast and article of Shel are well worth listening to as it clearly emphasises the importance of content but gives a clear picture of what the quote ‘every company needs to become a media company’ really means with some insights from the author of the original quote.
He points to the fact that this is one of the most significant trends in corporate communication and that the discussions around content strategy and the hiring of relevant skills in this area are growing at an increasing speed.
How is your organisation doing on its content strategy? Have you got the resources, the structure and perhaps even more important, the right mindset to cope?
Just finished a presentation sharing our concept of Hyperthinking with a group of IABC ningers. It was a good discussion and it felt as if the concept made more sense for some people who had heard about it before but needed to hear ‘the story’ in order to make more sense of it.
The basic concept is that we need us concept to help structure a change of mindset to adapt ourselves to transformed environment. We defined Hyperthinking with some values and a set of 4 dimensions to help people have a structured approach to become more creative, accepting and embracing permanent change and adapting to technology and in particular to the impact of the internet.
Check out the prezi below (thanks for the great work Emma!).
Tomorrow I will be heading to London to attend a conference organised by IABC Europe. I will be making a presentation on how the Belgian chapter of IABC launched it’s own ning over one year ago and can provide a model of how such organisations can use online network to help members network and share ideas.
This is the first time I attend an IABC Europe event, and will do so in my capacity of President of IABC Belgium (yes – you can now call me ‘Mr President’) something I was appointed to over the summer. It’s an exciting challenge as I have been involved with IABC for several years now and have seen it as a strong network of global communicators based in and around Brussels, and have also started to better understand the potential of IABC as a global organisation (it has over 15 000 members worldwide).
Also at the event John Smythe, author of the the CEO as Chief Engagement Officer will be sharing his thoughts and I plan to ask him a couple of questions from the discussion that started on the IABC ning. The key question is how to approach employee engagement and motivation in the post(?) recession age – check the discussion and tell us what you think.
I will be keeping you posted next week on how this went.
Also think of joining IABC at a networking cocktail that will be organised on the 5th October. You don’t need to be a member to join but it is a good way to get to know the people involved and share your ideas of what we should be doing in the coming year.
Last year, I introduce the eBook ‘Your Online Journey Starts here’ at an event in Brussels, with Toyota, Microsoft and VCE (Volvo Construction Equipment) who shared their own experience with online communication.
We have captured a summary of my presentation which gives an overview of some of the key topics of the ebook. It is intended as a simple introduction to how the internet is changing communication for global communicators, and what they can do about it. To find out more check the video (below) or download the ebook (below).
Apologies for the poor sound quality!