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    High turnover quickest way to the bottom

    April 29, 2013 by  
    Filed under News

    Kieran Moore  From:The Australian  April 29, 2013 12:00AM

    A RECENT article in The Australian’s Media section spoke of how entry-level salaries in the advertising industry were paying no more than they did a decade ago, failing to keep pace with inflation and driving young talent to other industries.

    Fortunately, things are somewhat better in public relations.

    While most in the advertising and public relations industries would agree that things are relatively tough out there, the smart agencies decided many years ago that salaries were only one element to having an engaged team.

    Paying below par is crazy – firstly, because you don’t attract the best and brightest and, secondly, if you do manage to attract them they disappear pretty quickly. Once the word gets around, you find the people you have spent time and money nurturing and teaching will be lured off by big money offers as fully, or at least partly, formed practitioners.

    The old adage “pay peanuts and you get monkeys” still remains true.

    The smart move is to benchmark salaries against industry norms and offer a good salary commensurate with the person’s experience.

    It’s an exciting time to be in the industry. The digital landscape changes on an almost daily basis. With the rise of mobile, digital and social media public relations practitioners are an integral part of marketing strategies on every level. We expect even our entry level starters to have a skill set which wasn’t invented a few short years ago. It’s simply short-sighted to expect highly skilled and smart operators to come with a low price tag.

    High turnover is costly, both in monetary and morale terms, and most smart organisations realise it’s the quickest way to the bottom.

    But I am also firmly of the view that the people who work only for the money are usually the ones that you are generally happiest to wave goodbye. Sure, they have to be paid in line with their peers but experience has shown that it is other, less tangible, things that keep the good ones working harder than I sometimes think we have a right to ask.

    If you aspire to attract the best and the brightest and expect a lot of your people, then start offering a lot. But, and I think this is crux of the issue, I suspect the best and the brightest also want to know that there’s some sort of a deal going on: we expect them to perform and they expect us to do more than just pay them. Most people want to be challenged and to be allowed to challenge. They want to be trained and mentored from when they start and even as they move up the ranks. They want to work bloody hard but still have plenty of fun.

    Recently I was involved in some research on Gen Ys – the group born after 1980 who people decry as being commitment phobic – and found that when asked which factors would put them off a potential employer, the top deal-breaker, with 88.4 per cent, was if a company didn’t offer a competitive salary but in second and third were if the company did not make an effort to be environmentally responsible (77.5 per cent) and if the company did not make an effort to engage with the community (64.5 per cent).

    Respondents were also asked if they would consider changing employers if they discovered the company they worked for was being socially or environmentally irresponsible, to which 68.8 per cent answered “yes”.

    The research is far from definitive but backs up the findings of other researchers who have consistently found that younger workers are looking for more than just cash.

    In my opinion, I believe the best and the brightest also relish the opportunity to work on the biggest brands and the most exciting campaigns. And when they leave – and some of them do, and sometimes for big money offers – they want to know that they are much better off for the experience. And, if we are lucky, they come back with more experience and a broader outlook on life.

    The corporates call it an Employee Value Proposition – but really, it is just good business.

    Kieran Moore is the Australian chief executive of Ogilvy Public Relations

     

    Is the climate right for risk taking?

    March 26, 2013 by  
    Filed under Blog

    It took the launch on Tuesday of the updated Climate Institute/GE Low-Carbon Competitiveness Index to bring home the underlying message about climate change. That is that while climate might be the agent of change, our focus has to be on risk.

    Lord Nicholas Stern, the author of the Stern Review – the highly influential 2006 UK government-commissioned review on climate change, spoke at the launch via teleconference. He pointed out that the world had not seen temperatures rise by more than three degrees above the long term average for the past 3,000,000 years – when sea levels were around 20 metres higher than at present – yet we are now looking at a four to five degree increase in the next 40 to 50 years. Just what effect that is going to have on life and death matters like food security, the availability of water and extraordinary climate events – let alone the upheaval caused by the forced migration of millions of displaced people – is best left to the experts.

    What I do know is that the likelihood of such occurrences is now so persuasive that businesses and organisations must look to including climate change in their risk analyses in the same way that they factor in any other risk.

    Chi Mun Woo, the director of Climate Change and Sustainability at KPMG, perhaps put it best at the launch when he said of some boardrooms in which “there are rational decisions being made for a world that doesn’t exist anymore.”

    Lord Stern has said recently that he had underestimated the risks and would have been “a bit more blunt” in his report had he known the effects of the past six years. At the launch he pointed out that China, which was reorientating its economy, had jumped up the Low-Carbon Competitiveness index to third place behind France and Japan.

    Australia is ranked 17th, after a “fragile improvement in low carbon competitiveness” –  as characterised by John Connor, the CEO of the Climate Institute.

    In the interests of transparency, I should tell you that Ogilvy PR partners with the Climate Institute and I sit on its strategic board. In the interests of even further transparency, I should tell you that I do it for my beautiful six-year-old daughter and couldn’t live with myself if I didn’t think I was doing at least something: after all, it’s not worth the risk.

    Download The Climate Institute, Global Climate Leadership Review 2013 here.

    By Kieran Moore.

    Navjyoti – The Power of Hope

    June 6, 2012 by  
    Filed under Blog

    I have been fortunate enough to visit Nepal twice. The first, in 2002, was when I came across the work of The American Himalayan Foundation and through them started sponsoring the Navjyoti Center for Mentally Disabled Children – the first center established in Kathmandu specifically for special needs children.

    After a decade of supporting Navjyoti and being kept up to date through reports from AHF, drawings from the children and letters from the staff, I returned to Nepal in December last year and paid a personal visit to the center. I hoped seeing it would help me better understand the work being done there and I wanted to hear the stories of the teachers and students firsthand. Also, selfishly, I wanted to see how I could use this experience to ensure I maintained perspective in my day to day life after I returned from Nepal.

    What first surprised me about the school was the overwhelming sense of care, friendship and love that came from the children, the teachers and the parents. Whilst I knew from the letters and the updates I received how well cared for the children were, nothing prepared me for the sense of community I discovered the minute I set foot on the school grounds.

    All of the 70 children at Navjyoti suffer from physical and intellectual disabilities such as autism, cerebral palsy and Downs Syndrome. There is also one category, “category 4” where children who can not be diagnosed are grouped.

    The main aim of the school is to provide services to ensure the children and their families are supported in the child’s quest for personal independence through education and play. Nepalese families generally have neither the information nor the resources to care for a disabled child and the center works hard to fill these gaps. During my visit I began to truly appreciate the financial hardship faced by many of the families and the more than 20 per cent of the children who live in an orphanage and travel to Navjoti every day.

    The principal of the center is Sister Suma, a 60 year old Catholic nun from India and a member of the Order of the Sisters of Nazareth. She told me the authorities in Nepal estimate that 10 percent of all children in the country are actually living with some form of disability and explained some of the cultural issues that families and disabled kids have to deal with – many are hidden from their communities due to the shame, fear and embarrassment.

    The children are divided into classes depending on their abilities and I spent the day playing games, watching them practice their reading and writing and joined in a music and dance class. I was also lucky enough to help with some of the girls in their bead making which I loved. The school encourages other vocations skills such as candle making and home-made greeting card and envelop production to give the children a way to contribute to their families and increase their self-confidence.

    I was deeply distressed by the stories of neglect and abuse that some of the children suffered before being part of this community, yet humbled by their need to be loved, their sense of fun and so much laughter. Probably the simple needs of all of us when we get right down to it.

    When the kids all got on the bus at the end of the day and I waved goodbye – I couldn’t help but feel they had more to teach me in one day, that I could teach them in a lifetime.

    By Kieran Moore.

    Roy Morgan Research

    May 17, 2012 by  
    Filed under Blog

    For more than the past three decades Roy Morgan Research has been researching the standing of various professions on the criteria of ethics and honesty in the eyes of the public.

    It always makes interesting, if unsurprising, reading. This year’s telephone poll, conducted with 651 Australians over the age of 14 on May 9 and 10 and released this week,  again put nurses up the top with a 90 per cent rating for honesty and ethical standards, the 18th consecutive year the profession has led the standing. And, for the 31st year running, used car salesmen have occupied the bottom rung with a rating of 2 per cent – a drop of 1 per cent on the previous year and three points below the dizzying heights of their 5 per cent peak in 2003.

    The advertising industry had a welcome rise, bouncing from 5 per cent in 2011 to 8 per cent this year to remain in second last place, just ahead of real estate agents (9%), and federal and state MPs (both 10%).

    At the top, nurses were followed by pharmacists (88%) and doctors (83%) and it is interesting to try and extrapolate just what it is about those professions that stands them apart and what business executives (18%) could learn that might resurrect their profession in the community’s standing.

    And executives should try to learn because honesty and ethical standards should be at the core of every company’s reputation.

    We can talk about the caring nature of the top three professions and the life-enhancing nature of the work they perform – something most company executives can’t hope to emulate – but what they all have in common is face-to-face interaction with their customers. People know them. They know what they do and how they sound. They know and trust them to the extent that they will divulge their innermost secrets and fears to them and are willing to accept bad – sometimes the worst – news from them.

    Yet very few company executives ever talk to customers especially customers with a problem (David Thodey, Telstra CEO being a notable exception)? Complaints are delegated to a front desk or a department, with the response being handed down from on high through that intermediary. How many executives invite cranky customers into their offices and sit down and discuss the problem with them? How many instruct the switch to send complaints directly to them for resolution?

    One of the reason companies find themselves in trouble when a social media campaign goes badly awry is that few know what their company’s reputation actually is. I wonder if it’s because  our company executives know the share price, the sales figures, the forward projections, but they don’t know what the public – their customers and potential customers – really feel about them.

    Trust is not just automatically doled out to those in positions of traditional power and influence. The social media age has given power and influence to many disparate voices so it is imperative that trust is now earned through an authentic two-way conversation – the sort of heart-to-heart that you might have with your doctor or nurse or pharmacist.

    And, just as with those conversations, the executive might not always like what he or she hears but it just might end up being good for your company’s health and reputation.

    By Kieran Moore.

    Asia Pacific Summit on Measurement

    March 30, 2012 by  
    Filed under Blog

    In the middle of last year, as part of the tenth anniversary celebrations for Ogilvy Public Relations in Australia, we commissioned some qualitative and quantitative research amongst leading Australian communications professionals. We wanted to find out their thoughts on how they saw the industry in 2021. One question asked was what did they consider to be the biggest problem for the profession in a decade.

    One resounding answer was measurement: finding a legitimate and verifiable method for measuring the effectiveness of public relations. For years we have had plenty of evidence that the hardy old standby of advertising value equivalence was an unreliable measurement method, but despite attempts to run a stake through its heart it kept climbing out of the grave and haunting the profession.

    So we decided to do something about it and announced that before the end of 2012 we – Ogilvy PR Australia – would have a viable, creditable system in place that would prove the worth – or otherwise – of our campaigns to our clients and not just in terms of outputs, but the business outcomes that we were challenged with at the beginning of the assignment.

    We are a long way down the track in developing a host of measurement options for our clients.

    On the back of that commitment to change, I was delighted to accept an invitation to attend and speak at last month’s inaugural Asia Pacific Summit on Measurement, which was organised by AMEC, the International Association for Measurement and Evaluation of Communication.

    By any measure (legitimate and verifiable, of course), the conference was a great success, reaching agreement on a number of issues, most of which will be further discussed at AMEC’s European Summit in Dublin from June 13-15. Included in those agreements were an outline of 12 key competencies that would give a communications professional an understanding of research and measurement techniques, and recommendations which will lead to the development of worldwide social media measurement principles.

    The necessity for change is great because right now CEOs are challenging their CMOs and Communications Directors as never before to prove the financial effectiveness of PR and the impact on the bottom line.

    One of the main factors holding back meaningful measurement is persuading organisations to put sufficient fat in the budget to allow for evaluation, or convincing ourselves that there is value in carving something off our own slice to demonstrate effectiveness – or not,  as the case may be.

    However, for this to happen we need to be confident in how we measure; confident that a client examination of how we assess ROI will prove illuminating and transparent. It’s a complicated problem but the inaugural Asia Pacific Summit was both a recognition of the need for a solution and a sizeable step along the path to finding that solution.

    By Kieran Moore.

    Lipstick and a tedious debate on a very important day

    March 7, 2012 by  
    Filed under Blog

    Surely it was coincidence.

    With Thursday being International Women’s Day, the timing of Monday’s article in AdNews was exquisite.

    PR and corporate affairs a “pink ghetto” read the headline and in the story that followed we read concerns about the “rapid feminisation” of PR and “highly feminised corporate affairs”.

    The article was from a 46 page report, Trends and Issues in Australian Corporate Affairs, on behalf of communications search and recruitment firm Salt & Shein. On display for all to read was “the delicate issue of a female-dominated industry in PR and corporate affairs”.

    And the reaction here at Ogilvy, Australia’s largest PR organisation: Does anyone really care that much?

    No doubt the unnamed “leading and most experience senior corporate affairs professionals” gave earnest and well-meaning responses when interviewed.

    We have 130 people working at the five different companies which operate separately under the Ogilvy PR Australia umbrella. Those five companies are headed by four males and a female and I suspect the gender mix throughout the organisation is around 30/70, with females in the ascendancy. But the question again is: what does it matter?

    There was a time when women – and people with different coloured skin or different religions or sexuality – were not considered for certain jobs. A time when factors other than ability determined what you did and how far up the chain of command you rose.

    And until I read the AdNews story and the Salt & Shein report I thought those times had long gone. One of those anonymous interviewees says: “I don’t believe gender imbalance is good for any profession. I really worry that it makes us appear to be a bit of a ‘pink ghetto’, so that we’re perhaps taken less seriously by management.”

    At Ogilvy PR Australia we work for a large number of corporate organisations and my experience has been that it is the quality of advice – not the gender of the person giving that advice – that dictates the degree of seriousness with which management views us.

    And when we talk to clients they really want to know just how we are responding to their needs. They want to know how we are going to be accountable for what we say we are going to do, how we can accurately measure success. They want to know that we understand integration, that we can advise them about new and emerging media channels, that we challenge them through our creativity and expertise.

    They don’t want to know whether we wear lipstick!

    And maybe, just maybe, the reason PR is not taken more seriously is that some in the industry seem to think “the delicate issue of a female-dominated industry in PR and corporate affairs” is important.

    By Kieran Moore.

    The importance of good writing

    December 16, 2011 by  
    Filed under Blog

    In these days of text messaging it’s easy to dismiss good writing as something we don’t need to concentrate on – after all, who but the pedants really care whether we write “their” or “there” or “they’re”.

    Well, at Ogilvy PR we care a great deal. We care because good writing is correct writing. We care because it’s doing the little things correctly that differentiates us from other agencies. We care because our clients care. But most of all we care because good writing is powerful writing. It is writing that expresses the message in a manner that resonates with the reader.

    Good writing looks effortless, but it is the product of endless practice and revision. Good writing doesn’t need jargon or endless adjectives, it just needs to get the message across.

    Some of the Ogilvy PR team recently met with Christie Poulos, founder of Jumpshot Productions. She spoke about the new frontier of video content (and I’ll blog about that exciting future in the New Year). But just as we all know a poorly made video when we see one – wooden acting, trite dialogue etc – so do we recognise bad writing.

    Here’s an example from the website of an architecture practice (which shall remain nameless to protect the guilty):

    “—- is an architectural practice that sees computation as a means of opportunistically collaborating with the heterogeneity and flux of social, cultural and ecological substrates. Employing both genetic and phenotypical strategies of formation in which multiple intelligences and behaviours compete for the gift of instantiation, —- seeks to move beyond the diagram as the dominant of architectural understanding. The resulting complex and adaptive morphologies achieve their definition performatively as the emergent outcome of highly specific architectural concerns embedded within generating rulesets.”

    That stunning example of gobbledygook is from the US but, as this first line of a media release here in Australia, Australia is not immune:

    “It is the industry of body beauty and assumed smokescreen vanity that appears to be oblivious to the global financial crisis as getting people to sweat continues to smell of sweet success for fitness leader, best-selling author, lecturer …”

    There’s a simple way to ensure that we never commit similar atrocities: write, revise, rewrite, revise … then get someone else to review.

    And remember: no one – not even Shakespeare – started off life being able to write well. It takes practice, practice and more practice.

    By Kieran Moore.