Norman Ng

The Ultimate PR Tool – “LISTENING”

In Uncategorized on April 1, 2012 at 16:09

ImageYou’ve heard it before – agencies after agencies pitching in, swearing they’ve got the right answer for you, that altruistic PR strategy that sets them apart (and purportedly to give you that winning PR stroke). More so today, the pitch goes in the line of how great social media tools from Facebook to Twitter are. True, but are they missing the point?

Before even diving into the deep end of the pool by adopting new PR strategies or digital platforms, one fundamental area which IMG always professes is Listening. Not only will it save you from drowning (a horrible PR death), it allows you to sense make both the PR & Comms. landscape better, it also empowers you to empathize with your stakeholders and audiences clearer.

It’s like medical practitioners and medicine. Prescriptions should not precede an objective understanding of health / medical symptoms, period.

And we’ve developed a fundamental five point framework to help you kickstart that essential PR & comms. “listening” / sense making process. We call it S.P.I.N.E., an acronym for:






Each and every one of your diverse stakeholders and audience have distinct SPINES, each requiring specific PR and Comms actions and strategies to tackle it effectively. 

For instance, I recently shared the importance of SPINE as an enterprise tool with the Singapore Sports Council (SSC), a government statutory board in Singapore. The SSC was gearing towards deepening its stakeholder engagement through its numerous operation centers across Singapore. Not surprisingly, we established with them that each operation centre had vastly different profiles of stakeholders (e.g. demographics , socio-economic status). From young to old, from students to white collar professionals. For example, the white collared professionals were more keen on racquet sports, and families were more keen on water-based sports activities.

Had the SSC jumped in and promoted their full spectrum of programs and facilities en-mass, I think their ROI would have been very muted, at best. 

So before your enterprise thinks about leveraging on the coolest social media platform to “engage” and brand yourselves. Think again – and we had better start that deep listening process on stakeholders first. And SPINE is a first step that will make your PR journey better, tomorrow.

(S.P.I.N.E. is a proprietary PR & Communications strategising tool developed by ICON MEDIA GROUP, and is shared at in our enterprise learning & development programmes.)

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