Monthly Archives: January 2011

Commscrum’s predictions for 2011

Dan Gray – CommScrum London

Wow. Is it really a month since we last posted? I suppose the LinkedIn group is partly to blame/congratulate for that – a lot of conversations have migrated over there – but still, it’s a bit of a poor show, and we promise to try and do better over the coming months.

To kick off the New Year, we thought we’d borrow from an annual tradition of KK’s on his own blog, and put forward some predictions for 2011 – three apiece from each “scrum forward”, plus one or two wild cards from all of us. Having been conspicuous in my absence from the last couple of rounds, it’s about time I rejoined the fray and got the ball rolling so, FWIW, here are mine…

1) Sustainability as fundamental long-term viability (an impetus for redesigning core business) rather than ‘green’ and old-fashioned corporate philanthropy (a tactical bolt-on to soften the blow of ‘business as usual’) will hit the big time. Unilever, P&G and Walmart all moving in this direction suggest the elephants are already learning to dance to the tune of real sustainability.

2) As a result, brand narratives will increasingly seek to connect core business activities with serving a higher social purpose, as a means of attracting and retaining customers and talent. (When guys like Michael Porter start prosthelytising about it, you know the idea of ‘constructive capitalism’ is gaining mainstream acceptance!)

3) The need for authenticity – for this sense of purpose to be baked into everything a company does (in the very products and services it provides, in its organisational design, and in the way it conducts its daily business) – will place an increasing premium on genuine strategic consulting capability, leaving traditional brand/comms agencies vulnerable to a major turf-grab by the management consultancies.

Kevin Keohane – CommScrum London

These predictions may, or may not, align with those at DTIM – which haven’t been written yet …  🙂

1)  Employer Branding practice will shift focus to an “internal” rather than an exclusively “external recruitment” focus, with the realisation seeping through that employer reputation is as much what you and your people (and indeed others) say and do on a day to day basis as what your recruitment media communicate.  Dan’s right, authenticity will be seen to matter more. Watch (ideally with a wry, and possible patronising, sense of humour) as all the previous “external” focussed experts magically transform themselves into employee engagement specialists. Cue EVP v.’2.0′.

2) Many organisations will realise that putting “media” after “social” was neither as complicated as gurus were making it out to be, nor as easy as the “just jump in” brigade would purport (tip o’ the hat to Mr Klein).  Cue social media ‘2.0’.

3)  Many “best practices” in employee communications, whether related to writing, intranet, cascades, social media, etc. will become ‘so easy to do and adapt’ that there will be some more innovative firms wondering why they have to hire “communication professionals” to do it.  Which bodes well for external suppliers and providers, and perhaps less so for in house people.  But don’t worry; these things are never as dramatic as hyperbole such as mind suggest…


Lindsay Uittenbogaard CommScrums from The Netherlands

Hmmm.  Well aside from the fact that you NEVER know what is around the corner, here goes:

1) Business schools start to put 2 and 2 together to see that no matter how good communicators are at ‘representing their industry’, ‘stating their business case’ and ‘measuring their outcomes’ – they’re not going to get sponsorship if leaders don’t really get it.  Communication learning makes it on the management school curriculum.

2) The whole communication piece starts moving into its own function (if it isn’t there already) because the internal and external pieces have got to go together.  Any HR / Sales / General Management influence on the direction of communication becomes seen as more of a hinderance than a home.

3) Some Senior Internal Comms veterans start moving out of the profession because the past 10 – 20 years emergence of internal communication – and all of its hopes and aspirations – is settling into a more permanent state of realism that may not be such an interesting battle to keep fighting.  However, these movers are finding that they’re making pretty good leaders now…  surprise, surprise!

Best wishes for 2011 folks.  Mike – over to you…

Mike Klein – Commscrum Janteloven

Am feeling a bit battle-weary at the moment, which is tempering my usual optimism:

1) I see strong signs of cultural retrenchment in 2011 – with the WikiLeaks controversy serving as a clarion call to those who want to roll back all the technology, transparency and interactivity that we have started to take for granted.  Some practitioners will be in for a very tough 3-6 months until business realises the world has truly changed.

2) At the same time, the idea of social and tribal communication, my personal hobby horse as well as a way of looking at informal communication as driver or inhibitor of change, will gain currency – even in management circles.  Impacts will not only include enhanced roles for clued-in comms pros, but also the opening of other “people fields” like diversity and knowledge-management to communication pros.

3) While I don’t necessarily believe that Sustainability will be the banner all companies raise in 2011, I do think organisations will start getting more real about “raison d’etre”–not just in terms of mission (what they do) and not really vision (who we want to be), but more “who they are”.  Expect some evolution in this space.

And…as the last worder here, a meta trend:

Anger.  Political anger is at extreme levels throughout the West.  Even in 5% unemployment Denmark there’s a “throw the bums” out drumbeat as elections approach.  Recent political violence in Europe and  the anger-swilling Tea Partiers in the US highlight a trend with real organisational implications.    Most of those rioters and Tea Partiers are pissed off, and they work some where.  And chances are, politics aren’t the only thing they are angry about these days.

Best – and hopeful – wishes for 2011 from the Land of the Missing Sun.