The sentiment 'Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery' appears to hold no truck in the unedifying spat about Melania Trumps speech this week; critics claim that some of it was lifted from the incumbent first lady Michelle Obama's speech in 2001. Both speeches were suitably gushing accolades to their husbands' backgrounds, values, beliefs, and of course suitability to be President of the USA.
Of course these days content swirls around our multi-channel world at such a frenetic pace that plagiarism goes unnoticed and may even be welcomed as an endorsement of ideas. Indeed a recent CyberAlert Blog revealed findings from Columbia University and the French National Institute that a whopping 59% of links shared on social media were never actually clicked on or opened before sharing!
“People are more willing to share an article than read it” study co-author Arnaud Legout said in a statement. “This is typical of modern information consumption. People form an opinion based on a summary, or a summary of summaries, without making the effort to go deeper.”
Commentators called the findings depressing and frightening. Thoughtless social shares can shape the news agenda by further sharing what's already heavily shared and by determining what goes viral. Blind sharing drives the trending algorithm on social media sites and defines.
What is clear is that headlines matter, really matter. Big, bold messages are required more than ever to get noticed as evidence shows we are simply too busy, or unwilling to do more than scratch the surface, or a few surfaces to find what we are looking for. They can of course be lethal if the big message is off mark and/or raises false expectations creating problems further down the line, as we know to our cost in the customer service sector.
This week we reviewed old Convention brochures from the last 20 years to make sure we weren't recycling old messages! This is easier said than done because at the end of the day the 'Drama' is the same, it's just that timelines, technologies and players have changed. I was struck by the continuum of critical elements through to today of people development, channel choice, accurately interpreting voice of customer, measuring the value of service, outsource or not, how to select a partner, getting the customer business case accepted, removing complexity from the front line, rise of the knowledge worker, complaints culture on the increase….this is just the surface. Now that doesn't mean nothing has changed; far from it. We are now operating in a multi-dimensional mixed model environment, with the biggest driver for change being smart phone adoption. However the fundamental issues of closing the gap between customer and organisation and building trust looms as large as they did 20 years ago.
Last week our new PM Theresa May, spoke passionately about the need for more customer and worker representation on main boards. I had a sense of deja vu as I recalled the creation of CCA Future Scenarios from 2012, a collaborative venture with 40 leading brands. One of these was named and visually recreated as 'Camelot and the Round Table
' which depicts a world where we have far more democracy of board decision making, with many more influences, particularly customers and employees being considered than today's arguably narrow base of opinion.
So, we are definitely going to dust this one down for Convention 2016 and get some serious benchmarking done to see if any progress has been made in the intervening years. I'm not going to invoke a Melania v Michelle spat with Theresa May however, it's too complicated as there's another woman involved! Melanie Howard from Future Foundation pioneered this wonderful work with our group and I'm sure could claim to have said it first!
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