FIVE MINUTES WITH ABE SMITH
EMEA president at Cision, Abe Smith, talks about his company’s latest innovations and why renewed focus on paid, owned and earned media is vital for the future of the PR industry
What is Cision Cloud? How will it improve targeting and outcome of earned media?
Cision Communication Cloud brings the workflow for the PR professional together in one platform. What somebody in PR, IR or comms wants is to do their craft more effectively, and the best way is to bring the best in class tools in one application that’s easily accessible and enables you to manage that entire workflow. The ability to define your audience – targeted journalists, or influencers, or media contacts – is important, and once you find who you want to reach., it’s incumbent on the PR professional to distribute that communication. And as the message is distributed, it’s about monitoring your media and understanding the impact achieved through that media pick-up. Monitoring goes into the world of insights and analysis, to determine what is the pick-up telling us, what is the pick-up telling us about our brand, our opportunity, and some of our challenges and risk. And analysis is very important to guide some of the decisions internally, and also to redirect the communication strategy.
Will this integrated approach to PR become best practice?
The technology is available today. It’s not an aspirational view, it’s a technology that is widely being consumed by customers globally. Part of making this a reality is re-educating the market and this kind of discussion is really critical, because we feel that if we can get the word out that PR understanding is evolving, and the opportunity to improve their craft is available through technology, then we’re doing our job.
Is automation into the wider PR industry likely?
Today we have over 20,000 customers so we work with them diligently to make sure they go on this journey with us, we do our best to amplify our message through PR and also social, as well as traditional advertising through other channels, and also education. We bring this to the market in a way that’s understandable and consumable – it’s a change management scenario. Often people might consume part of the solution, they might begin by adapting and applying these technologies to insights in a meaningful way and slowly get more mature in the process. We’re very steadfast on being customer-facing, out with our clients, messaging and discussing this movement and helping people understand how and why.
What can a multichannel approach bring to earned media?
The market wants to synchronise its entire view of the customer, and the way customers communicate through all channels, including paid, owned and earned. Until now, without using something like Cision Insights, it’s almost impossible to get a singular view of all channels such as what the customer doing at a paid level, what they’re doing through owned media access, how they’re interacting with social tools and then how we’re looking at participation with media access like digital or publications. The marriage between paid, owned and earned, taken in a simplistic form – which is actually quite challenging – comes from drawing this information together and using professionals to build a view of all channels combined and the insights thereof. It’s working towards the true technical integration of paid owned and earned platforms, and these tools working more harmoniously together.
What impact will Cision Cloud have on companies and brands using this technology to further their content reach?
Marketers today are much more sensitive to the fact that it’s one customer. You look at that individual holistically, so if you spread the message in a very disjointed way, the customer gets confused and you miss opportunities, messages and targets. This idea of a single view of the client and the ability to communicate to that individual with a proper channel at the right time at the right place with the right message is pretty complicated but we think that honestly that comes through leadership. When you start to see the rise of an earned media provider like Cision, it moves with noise away. It becomes really interesting for the chief marketing officer because they analyse and view their work using the same set of metrics and measurements, the same discussion on conversion and analytics, and are precise in understanding how to communicate and connect in a more meaningful way.