MARKETING in the #FakeNews Era ISBN: 9781599329260, Advantage Media Group, an e-book by Peter Horst
The book opens including a list of acknowledgements of persons “…who spent time with me to offer their wisdom…” and is followed by an Introduction that appealingly begins with “I can’t wait to hear what you learn – just don’t mention me.” The author recounts how, while preparing a speech on how brands increasingly are drawn into social and political “firestorms, #boycotts, and social media crises”. he had spoken with numerous other CEO’s, all of whom concurred with the growing importance of this subject. Further, each had expressed his/her desire to know what others said, BUT most frequently ended the conversation with some variation of this remark. His conclusion: “When veteran executives say they really want to read something but are afraid to be associated with it, you know it’s a topic that needs some attention.” Thus, he specifically delineates his target audience as “anyone who is accountable for the long-term financial health of an organization. That means you CEO’s, general managers and board members.” However, he believes it also includes the marketers, PR managers and all communications professionals “who need a deep understanding of each other’s craft because another new reality is that brand health and corporate reputation have become deeply interwoven” because “the new realities for brands in the #FakeNews Era” is here, and probably for a long time to come.
The body of the work follows in three parts. PART I: THE NEW REALITY broken into 3 Chapters: 1 – Collapse of the middle and the rise of tribalism; 2 – Fear and loathing in America; 3 – No safe sidelines. In these chapters he examines the “Collapse of the Middle” – the economic middle class, centralist political posture, and a balanced and impartial news media, all disappearing with everything and everybody being pulled into opposing camps (formation of ‘tribes’ characterized by their strong social identity) followed logically by the rise of intertribal fear and loathing aided and abetted by the #FakeNews Media. Thus, “Americans have lost trust in the people who are supposed to make it work, to fix the problems and make society better” resulting in loss of safety that existed formerly in the sidelines. PART II: NEW RULES with 4 Chapters, each title self-explanatory – Identify your core values; Understand your tribe; Put your values on display: New rules in action – Heineken’s “Worlds Apart” characterized by a brief description (for those unfamiliar) of the controversial Heineken’s proposal and followed by discussion of its tenets. PART III: LEADING UNDER FIRE composed of 4 Chapters, also self-explanatory with titles –Overcoming internal objections; Get ready for when it hits the fan; How to respond under fire; Is this reality here to stay, which is a compilation of statements contributed by CEO’s, President/chair, founder/cofounders, etc. of well-known organizations. A, Brief Parting Thoughts, and a note, About the Author, providing details of his extensive capabilities and contributions conclude the book. Most helpfully, at the end of each chapter a list of ‘Takaway’ thoughts are listed.
Discussion: There is not much this reviewer can offer except to strongly recommend that interest in this author’s presentation actually should far exceed his targeted audience. As someone many years involved in a different area of consulting, I find his strategic vision is impressive and his ability to discern the bases of a problem, precisely delineate them and then provide practical, viable solutions is amazingly apparent. Thus, whether of his targeted audience or simply any thinking person today, all will discover answers to many questions about today’s seemingly chaotic milieu provided in a stimulatingly enjoyable package.
5* Informative, stimulating, enjoyable for audience even beyond those targeted.