On Iwata's "Toward a New Profession: Brand, Constituency and Eminence on the Global Commons"
Tiffany Winman 12000065XB firstname.lastname@example.org | | Tags:  changes social-media shifts profession marketing relations trends public smarter-planet ibm social media pr communications
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I just finished reading Jon Iwata's excellent Institute for Public Relations 2009 Distinguished Lecture in NYC on November 4--“Toward a New Profession: Brand, Constituency and Eminence on the Global Commons."
Iwata, IBM Senior Vice President of Marketing and Communications, centers his talk on the three key things he sees Public Relations becoming:
1. The fusing of brand and culture into a new management discipline. He shares that IBM has created a new department that brings together experts in the workplace and experts in the marketplace on the same team: "We are moving large numbers of people into new roles and responsibilities, reconceptualizing job categories and career paths, reallocating our resources, rethinking our measurements, and changing what we expect and need from our partners."
2. The creation of constituency. He explains that, at IBM, "the constituency we most appeal to has been the forward-thinker in everyone. We have in our time rediscovered this constituency, and they are rediscovering us. This is the basis of our Smarter Planet strategy. We are specifically and deliberately working to validate and stoke the optimism of forward-thinkers. We are saying to them – because we really believe it ourselves: 'Your hopes for your industry, your city, your environment, your community are now within your grasp. This isn’t a metaphor. We can actually build a smarter planet.'” And he notes that IBM marketing tactics in this space do not focus on our products and services. Rather they purposefully "invite people to think."
3. Building the eminence of our workforce. He clarifies, "What do I mean by 'eminence'? No matter what their industry, their profession, their discipline or their job, people with eminence are acknowledged by others as expert." It is these experts, not content, that people will start to look for. He continues, "What will determine success or failure in the coming era will be not whether your people show up on the global commons, but what they do once they’re there."
Another exciting tidbit: He announced that the Page Society has created a task force on New Media, which Iwata is co-leading with Alan Marks of eBay, to "convene C-suite officers – legal, finance, HR, marketing and communications -- of major corporations. We will grapple with issues of governance and risk. We hope to emerge with policies and guidelines that all business can adopt."
In a nutshell, Iwata summed up much of the social media strategy I've been working on with a host of others in the last few years in IBM Software Group. In some of my blogs ahead, I'll journal some of this work while agreeing with Iwata's sentiment, "I will not be so presumptuous as to offer ‘best practices.’ These are early days." Rather I'll share some of the plans, insights, and struggles I've faced on this journey.