A version of this post originally appeared on LinkedIn.
I am convinced that we need to fundamentally rethink our approach to communications, PR and marketing.
On Sunday, I was inducted into the Arthur W. Page Society Hall of Fame. I was deeply moved to learn of the Society’s decision, and honored to be recognized by my peers as having made a significant contribution to our field.
In my speech, I took a definitive position stating that we must move communications to an even more mission-critical role, introducing a new paradigm called Communications Marketing.
We will build from our core, enhancing corporate reputation and employee engagement into new areas such as customer service and new product development. This will require a melding of marketing and communications, grounded in data-driven insight and led with bold ideas.
Marketing can no longer do it alone; the solution to every problem is not a new advertising campaign. We need real action to solve today’s complex problems, inspired by communications thinking.
The three key elements of the Communications Marketing paradigm are:
Evolve: See around the corner to predict what will happen, listen to community feedback and adapt the strategy for brands. You must have action before communication.
Promote: Grounded in our storytelling heritage, with ideas designed to start movements such as the Dove* Campaign for Real Beauty, with an emphasis on experiences that are true to life and add value to relationships.
Protect: This goes beyond crisis management. We need to hold the organization to its promises where it matters most, on issues as diverse as human rights, tax and product safety. Globalization and transparency are the game changers.
Communications Marketing will require two other important changes from those of us in the communications field. We must insist on superb creative work because it excites and drives people. We need to bring home more Cannes Lions. We must also be open to new types of talent, including planners, quantitative analysts, digital and media superstars and creative storytellers, who will imagine new types of content that is both immersive and powerful.
We can make Communications Marketing a reality by embracing new skills predicated on systems thinking, a global view, reliance on data and a relentless pursuit of innovation. Communications must operate with the rigor and analytics of marketing while marketing must operate with the storytelling mindset and marketplace reality of communications.
In short, it is our time to lead.
Being inducted into the Page Society Hall of Fame is an unbelievable honor. I am especially proud to follow in the footsteps of my father, Dan Edelman, who was similarly honored seventeen years ago. I accepted the award on behalf of my late parents, Dan and Ruth, and the over 5,000 Edelman employees around the world (including my brother, sister and two of my daughters) who work every day to inspire and satisfy our clients, who in the end make all of this possible.
Richard Edelman is president and CEO.