Presentation on theme: "MORE WITH less (Oh not again!) Kathleen L. Lewton, MHA, Fellow PRSA Steven V. Seekins, MPA, Fellow PRSA Kenneth G. Trester, Fellow PRSA Lewton,Seekins&Trester."— Presentation transcript:
MORE WITH less (Oh not again!) Kathleen L. Lewton, MHA, Fellow PRSA Steven V. Seekins, MPA, Fellow PRSA Kenneth G. Trester, Fellow PRSA Lewton,Seekins&Trester PRSA International Conference October 17, 2010
We come with (some) good news Cutting budgets can be an opportunity.... to reinvent your work in a new&better way Really. Glass half-full and all that! We are here with PRACTICAL counsel on how to do it And what’s the alternative? Just say NO?
Overview: We’ve heard it all before Tighten belts Cut out the fat Across the board reductions Support areas (staff functions, aka “fluff”) take the first hits And there’s only one difference today.....
This economic downturn is even impacting healthcare Provider organizations are desperately seeking to “mitigate the effect of the financial crisis” says HealthLeaders national exec survey And they are walkin’ the walk Cost reduction one of top 3 priorities of CEOs They see hospitals really ARE closing –If NYC is a bellweather..... small and large alike are going down Rx companies are looking at less-than-robust pipelines, patents expiring, ever lurking threat of (more) government regulations Docs ready to sell practices to best bidder
And even organizations that are doing “OK”..... Are looking three or four years out and (if they’re paying attention), they’re worried The cost slashing consulting firms are doing a lot of business And they love to look at the expense side of the ledger first Even IF you may avoid budget or staff cuts, you are surely being asked to do more, more, more
We could (and would) go on and on.... The CEOs we’re hearing from are battening down the proverbial hatches SO when the phone rings or the arrives saying “Tell me what you’ll do to cut 30% out of your budget.....” OR “Here are six more things we need your team to handle.....
Is it mean to be lean OR keen to be lean??
More with less IS an opportunity! We’ve all been through this in the past First reaction – oh my, but not US? Is it something I’ve done? Or said? But we’re doing SUCH great work! I’ve tried SO HARD...
Time to remember.... It’s not personal. It’s business. That’s how the CEO sees it, so if you react personally.....
Yes, we CAN fight the fight Make a great, and 100% accurate, case for the value of the work we do Explain and explain why we’re different, should be exempt, are better than the others, help the others, etc. But really – do we want to be perceived as DIFFERENT than the rest of our management peers? Is that the way to the CEO’s heart?
Because even IF it’s true... What you’re really asking for with that line of attack is: Take less from my division and MORE from somewhere else –Nursing? And what we sound like is: Tone deaf, self-centered or truly clueless
“I said we are in bad shape, and my PR VP said but I still need this budget”
The other scenario... “OK, I’ll get a plan together. And do you also want us to start working on a communications plan so we can be ready to present this to the organization?” THAT is music to the CEO’s ears PS You have to really mean it. You can’t go back in two weeks with “Here’s why we really can’t cut OUR budget.”
SO..... where do you start and what do you do? A practical 5-step analytic approach
Our 5-Step Approach 1.Lock in the essentials that must stay (but may be revamped). Then look at what’s left and: 2.Ruthlessly assess the high cost items 3.Analyze and evaluate remaining programs and prioritize the keepers 4.Identify NEW best practice efforts that you want to add 5.Finally – go back over what’s left on the table and ask “How can we do this more cost effectively”
Step One: Identify, justify and recommit to the ESSENTIALS
LST Short List of Essentials: Customer satisfaction (and the culture change to get there, if needed) Employee communications Online/website: core channel, front door These have to stay -- but that doesn’t mean as is – all can be revised and revamped with an eye toward leaner, keener
Essential #1 Customer Satisfaction PR plays a leading role
The core of any organization: Customer care&caring Reputation is built on reality -- how we perform, how we take care of and build relationships with our core stakeholders, Promotion builds awareness and supports perception – but the foundation is performance So marketing/PR must be integrally involved in this key arena of organizational performance, not just relegated to promotion or communications
Up Close: Customer satisfaction Customers are “expert endorsers” – their opinions based on experiences and their satisfaction drives word-of-mouth endorsements Today’s picture isn’t pretty –Banks, airlines, pharmacies, hotels, Netflix, Pampers – the blogosphere is rife with UNHAPPY CUSTOMERS –As prices increase, crankiness and expectations increase and poor service results in REALLY MAD people
Culture change may be required Customer satisfaction often requires true culture change, and PR/marketing staff are the culture change warriors McKinsey study of execs in companies that successfully implemented change: Clear, comprehensive and compelling communication Define and share clear goals Communicate a compelling story Acknowledge success regularly and publicly
PR = Culture Changers CEOs of top performers in the quality and customer satisfaction arena say it has to start at the top Ideal place for PR/marketing to step up and help CEO make it happen If you have a crisis, leverage it If you don’t have a crisis, lead by inspiration, persuasion, threats..... Use communications, research and planning skills to ensure that data is translated into action
The public relations role also includes: Culture management Keep the platform burning Provide measurement tools Manage the customer research Shoppers Other feedback mechanisms (Web, callbacks) Spread the message Successes AND failures/challenges Metrics outcomes and benchmarks Keep it on top management’s agenda
Make it stick - even if you’re big, complex & decentralized Can’t be “Change Initiative du Jour” New processes to support new cultures HR policies and practices critical Reliable tracking systems Accountability mechanisms Disciplined, methodical rollout plan with standardized communications Benchmark against national peers, AND your own market competition
Essential #2 Internal Comms Creating a motivated workforce
Employee Communications: A core sustainable strategy Employee behavior drives QUALITY,customer satisfaction, market share, efficiency and more Employees can support or undercut all messages to other stakeholders
Workforce communications Require multiple channels Education/literacy variations Employee preferences Repetition important AND Face to face with supervisor remains #1 preferred channel Publications, , videos, etc., can be used to reinforce, explain details
Case in Point: The Huddle Organizational problem: Low employee satisfaction with intradepartmental communications Low employee satisfaction with trust Bottom quartile patient satisfaction Serious financial losses
Solution: The Huddle Breakthrough communications tool Systematic process for assuring group discussions every day Simplicity: 5 to 10 minute meeting Consistency: everyone, everyday, every shift Interactivity: discuss customer service standards Motivational: reinforce personal values Fun: engender team spirit
Chain of success starts with satisfied employees
Essential #3 Web Presence It’s the foundation
We really don’t need a slide here We all know we live in a www. World But how many sites are truly best in class? Easily, easily navigable Eye-catching and easy to READ Great copy that’s exciting CURRENT and instantly updated If not, why not? Facebook friends and tweets don’t make up for a HOME page that’s not top notch
Now that we know what’s staying How to sort out the rest
Once the essentials are nailed... The hard part starts What stays as is What stays but is downsized or restructured What goes on the auction block (back to the departments who should be doing it) What goes in the dark of night What’s given a decent public burial And what’s added
There IS an upside– opportunity to lose dead wood, streamline, enhance Yes, some of this will be painful (we all love our four color glossy magazines) BUT this is also an opportunity to get rid of things you have hated for years If you’ve always done it for TEN years And to ADD best practices you’ve wanted to add but couldn’t get extra budget for Slash enough and there’s suddenly money available
Recap: Steps 2-5 Step 2: Assess the high ticket items Step 3: Rank order the rest of the list using a defined, rigorous process Step 4: Determine what you’d like to add Step 5: Go back and look at every program with your “Is there a better, cheaper way to do THIS” radar
Step Two: Look at the high cost programs CRM: Highly expensive not always effectively used. Can you do just as well buying segmented mailing lists? Ratings services (pay2play): Expensive, seldom worth the investment. Consumers don’t use them, and everyone can get some sort of high rating, thus leveling the playing field. Consultants: Often they’re “first to go,” but carefully evaluate their value in resetting strategy or outsourcing project work. Sponsorships: Rigorously assess ROI. If a sponsorship has no purpose but to gratify someone, assign the cost to that someone’s budget. Publications: Do they really have a purpose anymore? Have we maximized what we can communicate “for free”? Can we do more face-to-face communication?
Step Three: Assess and prioritize (How to retain your sanity, your employment status and your peers) Hint: use a PROCESS, not a dart board
Look at your “to do” list strategically Assessment and analysis –Know your audiences and how to best reach them –Identify how each project you do ties specifically to key business objectives Ask around –interview the key players and find out what they need, want and expect from PR Clues to what you can broom away Also fodder if they end up saying don’t cut anything (because no one is willing to give up anything) Do THEY agree on corporate business objectives?
By going through this process: You build and maintain credibility and support from the rest of the management team, You’re seen as a canny innovator who’s clearly trying to craft win-win solutions in lean times
Then start sorting Create a set of criteria to assess each program or project your department now handles Adds a level of objectivity to the process and helps you sort through it all
Marketing and Communications Prioritization Methodology Program Priority Decision Marketing Publicity Key Client – Business as Usual Included in Strategic Plan Not Included in Strategic Plan IN (8)IN (1) Marketing can Impact Potential Low Marketing Impact No Potential OUT (3)IN (7) High ROILow ROIOUT (3) Resources Available No Resources Identified IN (2)IN (1) No Resources Identified Resources Available Low BackingHigh Backing IN (2)OUT (3) KEY: 1 = Will do: major program 2 = Planning support & may do 3 = Won’t do 7 = Publicity effort only 8 = Key client: business as usual
Criteria to consider Does this program/project: Have a champion (CEO, Board?) Support market growth (raise funds, recruit students, etc.) Enhance our reputation Build relationships with a key audience Highlight a niche that’s “unique” to our organization Contribute to employee morale Have a measurable impact
This process gets you to: The point where you have looked at everything you are doing with a rigorous eye, using facts and data And you have numbers to help you rank order the list That helps when someone says we MUST keep doing #18, because you can say OK, then #4 has to go
Step Four: What’s shall we add? What new channels/tactics can you create/ enhance to deliver their message to the right audience Social media Blogs Thought leader programs – cost almost nothing, and if you make 200 key opinion leaders “insiders” you’re reaching 20,000 people Community-based events Affinity groups AND (y’all share your ideas now)
Step 5: One last look: Can we do it cheaper? Take your final list – the essentials, the keepers in priority order, and the new additions, and look at each tactic, asking “Is there a way to do this less expensively?” Online vs.printed Market to docs vs consumers or consumers VIA docs Face to face, the cheapest channel of all....
Having completed the five steps....
Now you have a PLAN Begins with the Essentials Omits high ticket items that don’t deliver real value Rank orders programs and projects, eliminating the low rankers to make more time for..... New programs AND everything has been scrutinized for cost efficiency and effectiveness
So sell it..... It meets needs within budget constraints It’s based on best practices, proven effective You’ve built in metrics and research dollars to ID results! Have an expert or expert opinion available to tee up or back up your plan Pre-sell it to key peers so they “get it” and will speak up in support You’ve created a better program, with more content and results, for the same or less money... AND you’re free from the things that never worked!
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