Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Annual Review: New Clients, New Services

We just held our annual off-site meeting, and it was a great one. Everyone reported on the work we’re doing for about 30 active clients, scattered across the United States and in a couple of other countries. They include a half-dozen that are new in 2012, including such blue-chip associations and companies as the American Chemistry Council’s Responsible Care program, National Ocean Industries Association and PPL Corporation.

The session is a snapshot of our practice and how we are evolving. It showed that we’re handling a wider range of subject matter than ever before, and a wider range of communications, marketing and public affairs activities. As just one example of our expanding services, check out this infographic we produced for the Solar Electric Power Association. Our clients are loving this relatively new way to present complex stories visually - we’ve created around 15 for different clients in the past few months.

Most of all, we had the chance to recognize the quality and creativity of our diverse work. How can I describe it objectively? Maybe in the words of our clients. We recently asked them to give us their views of our work. It was great to see that about 20 sent responses, which we reviewed at the meeting. They were uniformly . . . well, let me quote a few, to give you the idea:

“PCG’s communications counsel and tactical assistance are critical to our company’s strategic success.”
“PCG is thorough, proactive and all in all, pretty wonderful.”
“A pleasure to work with.”
“The hard work is always flawless. You make it seem as if we’re the only priority.”
“Your ability to quickly respond to emerging crises, provide strategic counsel for internal and external communications and facilitate top-flight training has given me peace of mind as a communications executive.”

It made me proud. End of commercial.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Nuclear Energy Industry Communications in Pacific Rim Nations

Over the past several months, PCG has been working in cooperation with the Pacific Nuclear Council (PNC) to study the effect of the events at Fukushima Daiichi on nuclear energy industry communications in Pacific Rim nations. Using a web-based survey, we sought to gain insight into best communication practices, priority topics and future plans for nuclear energy education on the Pacific Rim.

You may not be familiar with the PNC – an organization composed of nuclear societies in Pacific Rim nations with a mission of advancing cooperation in the region on nuclear energy. After the events at Fukushima Daiichi, the PNC decided to conduct a survey of nuclear energy communications professionals in Pacific Rim nations, the first survey of its kind in the region.

PCG did the actual survey work, generating participation among communicators from Japan, Korea, China, Indonesia, Australia, Thailand, Russia, Canada, Mexico and the U.S. We reached out to communicators in several other nations as well, but didn’t generate participation from them for this survey. The PNC intends to conduct the survey annually to grow the richness, depth and breadth of the data and to track trends longitudinally.

Mimi Limbach, Partner at PCG, shared the findings at the 18th Pacific Basin Nuclear Conference in Busan, South Korea. The top line – respondents spent much of their time during the past year correcting misinformation about nuclear energy. No surprise there, as critics of nuclear energy are active throughout the Pacific Basin, and Fukushima caused a lot of confusion about our technology.

Other points of interest: 

  •       Respondents highlighted the need to make technical information about nuclear   energy more accessible and easy to understand.
  •       The general public, media, government officials and regulators were the top audiences (in that order).
  •       Safety, waste disposal, cost and health effects were the top four issues (in that order).
  •       The need to develop and implement an effective crisis plan was an overwhelming priority. Fukushima demonstrated that not all crisis plans are created equal.
One surprising finding was that, for many organizations, the use of social media appears to be relatively immature. Perhaps this is attributable in part to the relative conservatism of nuclear energy organizations. For example, you would be surprised at how few nuclear utilities in the U.S. have a robust social media program. However, about a third of those surveyed intended to launch or grow their social media programs in the next year.

If you’re interested in learning more, here’s a link to a presentation about the survey: http://www.pcgpr.com/pncsurvey.html.

Mike Diekman, PNC Executive Director, 
Reem al Hashimi, Head of External Affairs 
and Government Relations for the Emirates 
Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC), and 
Seah Lee, Assistant Manager at Korean 
Nuclear Energy Promotion Agency 
Mimi Limbach, Partner and PNC Vice-President/
President Elect and Reem al Hashimi of ENEC listen 
to Jenam Jang’s (KONEPA) presentation on energizing 
young people to support nuclear energy during the 
Pacific Basin Nuclear Conference’s Communications 

Friday, April 6, 2012

Some Surprises in 'State of the Media'

The Pew Research Center has posted its State of the News Media 2012, and for anyone still pulling for print, it’s not a pretty picture. Online news sites saw their audiences grow by 17%; network, cable and local TV news saw increases in viewers; even radio news attracted more listeners. But magazine readership dropped a fraction, and newspapers continued their decline, by a full 4%.

Other highlights from the study:

· More than half of smartphone owners (about 44% of all adults) use it to get news.
· People are returning to TV for their news. The three network evening news shows now attract 22.5 million, up 4.5% in a year.
· CNN and MSNBC saw significant gains; Fox News, still the leader with a prime time audience of 1.9 million, saw a decline for the second straight year.
· The revenue trends were even more polarized: online news sources saw increases of 23%, while newspapers experienced a decline of over 7%.

Surprisingly, the amount of non-digital news produced seemed to expand on many fronts. More local TV stations added very early morning news shows, beginning as early as 4:30 a.m., setting a record for the amount of daily news programming on local stations (over 5 hours). And new magazine launches outnumbered those that folded by 239 to 176. The one medium that shrank, of course, was newspapers, which continued reducing their size and the amount of space given to news coverage.

The revolution continues. Stay tuned.