FIVE MINUTES WITH LARRY WEBER
Racepoint Global chairman and CEO Larry Weber is a global expert on marketing services and public relations, with a decades-long career in digital technologies under his belt. In an interview, Weber discusses changes in the PR industry and the importance of purpose for the businesses of today.
You just recently released your latest book – ‘Authentic Marketing.’ Why do you think purpose is more important than ever to succeed today?
I believe that to become the kind of brand that captures hearts and minds, every company needs to have a corporate purpose. My new book, Authentic Marketing: How to Capture Hearts and Minds Through the Power of Purpose, provides a guide on how to transform organisations around purpose and establish new levels of customer and employee engagement through a more authentic form of marketing.
I believe that this purpose should be something intrinsic to an organisation’s DNA, allowing it to mobilise around a societal problem it is uniquely positioned to address. This could mean developing sustainable products or donating products or services to those in need.
Companies that embrace this approach and live their purpose will deliver a more authentic form of marketing and communications, and narratives around purpose will naturally appeal to their core audiences. This has particular appeal to Millennials, the largest generation today in the workforce, who choose to work for and buy from companies that strive to have a positive impact on the world.
Racepoint Global has a clear interest in storytelling and creative strategies. How does that translate for the PR team at RPG?
Racepoint works hard to understand the information our clients and their audiences need, and how they can best receive this information. Our campaigns integrate advertising, video and social media, and they are powered by creative, compelling fact-based narratives. We find that storytelling and the storytelling life-cycle garner attention in earned media. The narratives we build are brought to life with creative, visual content, and extended through social, paid media and key influencers. For Racepoint, social and digital provide the connective tissue that unifies public relations, advertising, marketing and public affairs. We work to identify the right metrics with our clients, and track progress and results throughout the life of our campaigns.
What changes have you witnessed in global PR lately?
Technology has brought sweeping change to our clients and our industry. We are witnessing the collision today of technology with humanity. Our clients are looking for a strategic context to every campaign. This means we need to have a clear understanding of their business, how that business is evolving, and how their customers consume information. Clients are increasingly demanding and cost-sensitive. In addition, there is greater demand for industry vertical expertise and keen interest in data-driven, measurable and validated results. With the rise of global companies come requirements to serve these clients not just in America, but across the whole world.
We are also seeing a convergence of advertising, PR and strategy consultants, and backward integration of traditional advertisers into PR and marketing services. These are but a few of the changes now underway.
You just recently reassumed your CEO role at Racepoint Global. What does that mean for the future of your company?
Last year was certainly a difficult year for our industry. Racepoint weathered the storms along with most others. Yes, we had some missteps of our own making, but we learned from them. A few ‘science experiments’ didn’t pan out. We experienced a slow down in growth that was disappointing. I reassumed the role of CEO because I thought I could apply my operational and leadership experience to return the company to those levels of performance that it had enjoyed over the years and that I expect.
I am really pleased with our growth strategy and our positioning. Our technology focus and experience and presence in some of the world’s leading centres of innovation serve us particularly well. Through thick and thin, I am particularly proud of the quality of our work that has always been there. I am pleased to say we finished off last year strong and with a nice head of steam going into this one.
What did you learn from the experience?
During turbulent times, focus on those things you can control. In our case: high quality, hard and thoughtful work and creativity.