One of the surprising findings in the 2023 Edelman Trust Barometer was the high trust level of company newsletters, well ahead of mainstream media, search, or social media. This is one of the outgrowths of the COVID-19 pandemic, with media seen as increasingly politicized. At the same time, the economics of the newspaper business continue to deteriorate, with hedge fund ownership of several important media properties leading to headcount reduction in newsrooms. Therefore, we are recommending to clients that they go direct to the end user with important information, to supplement that which they can get in other forms of media.
The City of New York is launching Hear From Eric, a new initiative from Mayor Eric Adams to communicate directly with New Yorkers. Citizens can sign up to receive digital updates about new policies, local events, and progress on key initiatives. Mayor Adams said, “If we’re launching a new program that New Yorkers care about, that can put money in pockets or improve quality of life, I’m going to make sure New Yorkers hear about it directly. We’ve accomplished so much in our first year but none of these accomplishments mean anything if New Yorkers don’t know about them and aren’t using them. That changes now.”
The City will also target content to specific neighborhoods, making sure the right information is getting to the right people. The goal is to ultimately evolve this into an SMS tool and use advanced software to send personalized communications, getting the right message to each audience.
The Mayor’s office will also send a weekly update to influencers with Axios-like content, quick facts that can be used in conversations about the City. Here are a few from this week that I did not know about. Subway crime was down 30 percent in January. Composting will be done curbside across the entire city, collecting leaf and yard waste or food scraps. The new Skip the Stuff law means take-out will no longer have plastic forks and knives unless requested.
This is the new reality for chief communications officers. Go direct to the end user. Provide a platform for discussion and feedback. Get the facts out on all platforms, including through influencers who have their own channels. The mainstream media will always be the ultimate arbiter of truth, but we need to make our case as an adjacent source of quality information.
Richard Edelman is CEO.