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Corporate Affairs in 2015

23 Jun 2015

The Corporate Affairs Summit is an annual power packed forum for corporate affairs professionals.  It’s a great chance to hear top speakers ranging from Disney to Telstra, as well as an opportunity to reflect and network.  And thanks to a partnership with CAS2015, it was a great chance to meet up with IABC folk from Australia and New Zealand.

A powerful takeaway was the speed of change. As Jason Laird wondered: Can the news cycle get any faster without bending the space-time continuum? Further tips on social media:

  • 78% of news sites are accessed from mobiles
  • forget video unless you grab your audience within three seconds
  • images can increase your tweet pickup by 35 per cent
  • 75% of online articles are less than 500 words
  • content is king, but distribution is the kingmaker

The key to success as a corporate affairs professional is to understand the business and ‘walk the talk’, be numerate, write well and deliver measurable results that an executive board values.

The case studies on crisis communications were excellent, ranging from the ICAC investigation and Sydney Water, the Martin Place siege, and safety at mine sites. Rio’s focus for example, is safety, and it was interesting to note that being awake for 16 hours is equivalent to drinking three beers.

Being a Canberran, the sessions on government relations were relevant, particularly the insights of former political leaders Mark Latham and John Hewson. Their long experience and ability to speak freely reminded me of Statler and Waldorf from the Muppet Show! Key takeouts:

  • use your own polling – it’s the language of politicians
  • disengagement is a global problem and politicians are widely seen as opportunistic, short-term and negative
  • bipartisanship seems impossible
  • political short-termism means there’s a lack of good policy making
  • opinion polls are unreliable as 20 per cent of the population don’t have a landline
  • “industry groups are useless” (thanks Mark) and lobbying/influence should be cleaned up
  • it’s not just the politicians, but the media, due to the demise of specialist reporters and the lack of investment in journalism.

So thanks CAS. Look forward to seeing you next year. For those wanting insights and networks in the meantime – stay in touch with IABC!

Leanne Joyce, President, IABC Canberra

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