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
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
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
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
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