Friday, April 28, 2006

CCM Conference

This years CCM conference - the annual gathering of the Council of Communication Management - was one of the best in years.

The focus of the two day retreat in Santa Fe covered many topics related to corporate and internal communications, from leadership to grass roots communications, mentoring to employee health & wellness. And of course, technology (I participated in a lively panel discuss on corporate blogging, what RSS will do once it moves behind the firewall, and the potential impact of social media on employee communications - more on that in a future post).

One of the most interesting observations from the conference involved the 2004 presidential campaign. Former Clinton Press Secretary Mike McCurry, who was a part of the Kerry campaign, discussed the campaign communication strategy and how the two parties approached the effort differently.

Post election analysis showed that the Bush team had mobilized far greater numbers of grass roots supporters in key battleground states. A core tenant of this strategy was segmentation of the voter audiences to target each group with tailored messaging and support. Not unlike the approach starting to be used for employee communications today.

An observation that highlighted how much the internet and then-budding social media is changing politics was summed up with the view that Kerry ran the "last conventional presidential campaign of the 20th century," and that Bush ran the "first of a new style campaign of the 21st century."

One of the best stories that highlighted how much the media landscape has changed revolved around how the media teams treated the national media. The Kerry team had a 7:30pm call each night to review that evening's coverage on the network evening news shows. The Bush team didn't have such a call because they didn't spend much time or energy concerning themselves with the network news.

There's been plenty published about how the under-30 population doesn't read newspapers, the demographic of the evening news being well beyond the 18-49 group, and that the internet has become the preferred source of news and entertainment (so much so that the BBC announced a major strategy change earlier this week on the subject).

Now the influence of social media - and the metoric rise of sites such as are having a dramatic effect on not only how people recieve one-way communiations (from their politicians, their executives, their local governments and their kids), but how groups of people truely interact.

This change is happening in our society far faster even than the impact eCommerce has had on retail sales. This evolution is also happening within our organizations and has a direct impact on how people manage, and how organizations communicate and operate.

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