To desert the ship or their quarters in battle, was punished with death or marooning

This is one of the pirate articles or rules of behaviour set down in 1720 by the famous Welsh pirate Bartholomew Roberts (pictured above). You can read more about him at ( Adam Morgan – who coined the terminology of brand challenger behaviour, uses the pirate articles as a way of building challenger behaviour in organisations in his book “The pirate inside”. The pirate articles also serve as a model for an integrated team, where integration doesn’t only improve your chances of booty but is a condition of survival.

Speaking at the Big Digital Debate hosted by MediaTel earlier this month Mark Cross, communications planning director at the COI, emphasised the importance of integrated working practices and called for new ways of collaborating.

Mark went on to benchmark a change in communications planning thinking :
“There is a shift in the hierarchy. The first port of call is not necessarily advertising”.

Mark is great proponent of behavioural change theory in communications planning. And it is in this territory above all that sometimes ads must take a secondary role in influencing behaviour.

If your kpi for a brief is to announce something quickly, and make the consumer an irresistible offer they can’t refuse then an ad can be hard to beat. But if you’re working in territory that demands long term shifts in attitudes and real behaviour changes then advertising may well be just one of the tools in your armoury and of course may not be the lead one by any means. Social Media, for example, is very different from a bought ad campaign in that it is not something that you can switch on and switch off. But for that very reason it can be brilliant as a tool for helping to deliver long term behavioural change.

The well attended Big Digital Debate raised all kinds of interesting questions. In particular it drew attention to four areas that need shaking up.

• Integrated planning processes – we need to chuck out any ways of working that assume advertising is a sine qua non of a campaign.
• Integrated research – we still don’t have an easily integrated research metric that measures net ratings across media channels and increased cover build from one channel to another.
• Collaborative ways of working – we probably need incentive schemes to drive collaboration between different agency partners of the client rather than settling for a situation where agencies are competing to control.
• New codes of behaviour – the pirate articles admittedly need some updating. Let’s build the Communications Articles for a new era.

This is all overdue really. We named this new era the Age of Dialogue some years ago now. Then it was all just starting off. Now it is mature. And the challenges for really effective communications are greater than they ever were.

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