COMMENT: PLATFORM; Get connected to cope on this naked planet

Instant global communication means businesses must now act super quickly to deal with corporate foes, says Peter Hamilton

Instant global communication means businesses must now act super

quickly to deal with corporate foes, says Peter Hamilton



The head of the CIA is worried about security in cyberspace: dodgy

foreign powers getting their hands on secrets through global computer

networks and other areas of IT.



Well Mr Director, join the club. There is a growing band of us in the

communication business who also wonder what to expect in the frenzied

world of the virtual future.



We live in an era of unprecedented universal communication. An explosion

of information on a scale never seen before. No corner of the globe, no

incident or issue escapes the prying eye of technological expose. The

world has become naked with few, if any, geographic frontiers left.



Business success can’t be achieved without recognising ‘The Information

Society’ and being part of it. To succeed you must communicate on a

global scale. It must be strategic and planned. Business has to face the

fact that every day, the ups and downs of its routine affairs are under

vigorous scrutiny.



IT means stakeholders of an organisation can communicate instantly with

each other, globally, form a collective position and put a company on

the defensive even before it realises it has a problem.



In the dark hours ‘virtual’ corporate foes may be huddled over their PCs

compiling dossiers about your business in different parts of the world,

ready to beam them to a central point; then to e-mail the whole of your

organisation with unpalatable and embarrassing accusations. Then

they’ll e-mail it to the national and international networks. And all

before breakfast.



Don’t believe it? It’s already happening. Disgruntled shareholders,

employees, customers, political groups sharing information on the web;

establishing bulletin board sites on key issues; mobilising themselves

to act around the world at the click of a mouse. Of course, most

companies have no such fears. They have nothing to hide. But accidents

and the unexpected do happen. There’s also your own positive story to

tell.



Wild, uncontrolled communication is, of course, a recipe for chaos.

Business leaders and others have to ask themselves: how do we manage our

affairs in an orderly way with everyone shouting at the top of their

voices; disagreeing; spreading false rumour; promoting their alternative

agendas; mobilising instant pressure groups, all with the aid of the

most sophisticated communication techniques known in the history of

mankind?



The answer? First identify the issues. Then look at what you have to

bring to the table. Adopt a global communication strategy which promotes

your interests in a way that’s compatible with local culture, customs,

aspirations and concerns of the countries where you’re doing business.

Finally communicate actively, freely and truthfully. Communication’s got

to be a top management function with so much at stake. Survival will

increasingly depend upon effective response to the new communication

age. Global customers who don’t trust or respect an organisation, won’t

do buisness with it.



To cope with what lies ahead, you must be part of the global

communication revolution. Get connected literally and figuratively. Then

you’ll better understand and be better prepared for the things that will

not only make the world a happier, healthier and safer place but, with

your global customers, you will prosper. And you’ll no longer be naked.



Peter Hamilton is MD of The Communication Group and chairman of Entente

International Communication SA



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