Implications for Communicators of the Political Climate
Truth on Trial: How Communicators Can Navigate the Polarized Environment
Richard Levick, Chairman & CEO, LEVICK, briefly chats with Doug Simon, CEO, D S Simon Media about the current communications climate and how it is deeply affected by current politics at Truth on Trial: Implications for Communicators. Richard discusses how next week’s midterm elections will have a significant effect on the USA and how this impacts how the public perceive brands.
DOUG: Hi I’m Doug Simon CEO at D S Simon Media, I’m here with Richard Levick he’s Chairman and CEO of LEVICK. Thanks so much for being with us.
RICHARD: Doug thank you. Always good to be with you.
DOUG: Now you’re a key part of this Truth on Trial Implications for Communicators event. What’s your top tip for how communicators can navigate this landscape?
RICHARD: Well thanks Doug for asking the easy question of how to get everything reduced down to 10 seconds or less. I think the challenges are enormous. Everything is politicized. Now if you shop at Nordstrom’s or drink a Starbucks you’re accused of being political. I think the thing that communicators need to keep in mind is how important it is to always communicate the facts, have an echo chamber and continually communicate the message.
DOUG: Right now, you use the F word-facts. Those seem to be up for debate these days. How do you create that authenticity for your organization when facts are in dispute?
RICHARD: You don’t think it’s not so much about facts even though you use the word it’s about the echo chamber that is continue with the facts but have them repeated over and over by third parties, that make people believe because they hear it and see it from others.
DOUG: Clearly midterm elections might have an impact, coming up here recently on a panel that discussed some of those issues. How do you see things changing for the better or will it just be different?
RICHARD: Well I’m shocked to hear that there are midterms I haven’t heard any or seen any media about that for the last two years. You know I think what we’re seeing and as of this morning polls continue to show that Democrats are likely to take the house. They’re not likely to take the Senate. That’s going to lead to a more divided government. That does mean that they are going to be investigations, I don’t think that the Democrats want to impeach the president, but they certainly want to raise the issues over and over again. I don’t think we’ll see many changes for the better just a lot more noise and anger.
DOUG: Great. One important issue the role of the CEO. How important is it for organizations to get their CEOs out there whether it’s on video with the media to build authenticity?
RICHARD: Well the first question before you even put a CEO out there Doug is what their brand? Should they have a brand? And then the most critical thing is about being authentic, being consistent with your brand, I think for boards of directors and for the C-Suite the most critical question is what are we selling the old trope about? We’re here for profits, were here for our shareholders- that’s not enough anymore. You know Michelin is about safety when so much is riding on it. And Apple and Starbucks are about lifestyles. I think those are the questions that companies have to ask. Millennials expect it and shareholders are non-shareholders alike do as well.
DOUG: Awesome. Thanks so much for being with us.
RICHARD: Thank you so much. Great to see you.