New global survey highlights crisis of leadership

New global survey highlights crisis of leadership

  • Open communication, decisive action and personal involvement mark great leaders
  • South Africans place higher value on ethical behavior than global peers

Leaders in all spheres of society, from business to politics, trade unions and community leaders, face a crisis of confidence as people all over the world expect more from them but lack faith in their ability to deliver.
Also, personal interaction and the use of traditional media, both print and broadcast, are still the most effective ways to communicate, ranking higher than social media on credibility.

These are some of the many insightful findings of the second annual Ketchum Leadership Communication Monitor (KLCM). The KLCM is a 15 minute global on line survey conducted by leading communications consultancy Ketchum.

The survey was conducted among 6000 respondents in 12 countries, including South Africa, evenly spread at 500 respondents per country. Other countries include emerging market peers of Brazil India and China; European countries France, Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom I; the  United States and Canada , as well Singapore and United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Vincent Magwenya, CEO of Magna Carta, which is the exclusive Africa affiliate of Ketchum said “Leadership, or lack of it, has been the most pressing issue in South Africa and the world in the wake of the global recession. A study that assesses people’s attitude towards leadership and communication is both relevant and timely. As Magna Carta, we are excited to be working with Ketchum in bringing out the leadership and communications monitor.”

Overall the survey found that only 24% of global respondents believed that there is effective leadership in the areas of business, politics, local community and among union leaders.

The survey shows that politicians who fail to act with long-term interests in mind can learn from business leaders, as 61% of those surveyed globally  see business leaders as focused mainly on the long-term, countering stereotypes that corporations are obsessed with the next quarter’s profits.

60% of those surveyed believe politicians have a short term focus, while 39% feel business leaders have a short term focus, implying that 61% believe corporate heads have a long term view.

Business chiefs also come out on top for taking responsibility when things go wrong. Politicians, by contrast, trail behind all other leadership categories on both measures – 60 percent of survey participants view them as short-term focused – suggesting the world of politics has much to learn from the business community.

Magwenya says Magna Carta is now looking forward to sharing the insight and findings from the survey with its clients to better understand what the findings mean for individual organisations and industries.

The survey reinforced findings from last year that leadership and communication has an impact on the company’s bottom line, with a significant percentage prepared to stop purchasing a company’s goods as a result of its leadership conduct.

South Africans hold their business leaders in very high regard. Business leaders (39%) are the most effective category of leader, followed by leaders of non-profit organizations (30%).

Similarly, forty-two percent of South Africans feel that business leaders are the most effective communicators followed by leaders of non-profit organisations (30%).  Ninety-one percent of South Africans feel effective communication is important to great leadership, higher than the global average (75%) and higher than any other included country.

South Africans show a higher than average disposition on a number of key areas, 50% of South Africans value ethical behaviour for example, well above the global average. South Africans also show a higher than global average, at 61%, for stopping to purchase a company’s products as a result of leadership conduct.

More than most countries, South Africa feels that leading by example (81% compared to 65% globally) and communicating in an open and transparent way (80% compared to 66% globally) are important behaviours to be considered an effective leader.

By far, South Africans view the technology industry (47%) to be the industry demonstrating the most effective leadership, followed by the hotels, leisure and tourism and automotive industries (both at 32%).

The technology industry is seen as the most global credible communicator in offering great products (and explain technical uses simply) and being led by CEO who are great communicators. This is probably what can be termed the Steve Jobs, for the late Apple founder’s vision and leadership during the Apple revolution over the past decade.

South Africans think that in 2013 leaders need to be open and honest about the nature and scale of the challenge ahead (70% compared to 59% globally) and provide a clearer overall vision for how economies, businesses and other organisations can survive (55% compared to 50% globally).

While only 6% of South Africans have more confidence in political leaders looking towards 2013, 27% have more confidence in business leaders.

The survey found that even in the era of social media, people still value personal interaction above all else as the most credible means of communication from a leader.  This is followed by traditional media platforms of print and broadcast, with social media platforms ranking lower globally.

South Africa and its emerging market peers  exhibit roughly similar characteristics in many aspects of their view of leadership.  For instance, Africa, South America, China along with the US rate transparent communication higher than Europe.  About 91% of those surveyed in SA value transparency, followed by 83% for China and 81% for South America and the US.

Brazilians tend to believe in their business leaders more than their global counterparts, at 49% compared to the 34% global average. Chinese consumers believe that business leaders are the most effective leaders (58%), followed by political leaders (49%).This is significantly higher than the global averages of 34% and 21% respectively.

This general belief in all their leaders is probably a reflection of China’s rise in prosperity over the last two decades combined with the country’s command economy and information control.

Indians generally view their leaders as more effective than most of their global counterparts. 41 %   (compared to 34% globally) view business leaders as effective, while 35% feel the same about non-profits (compared to 26% globally).

A finding that will make business leaders think long and hard is that employees are ranked as the most credible source of information for a company. They are followed by analyst and other experts, customers, with the CEO in sixth place on the rankings.

This underlines that companies must look after their employees and communicate with them effectively in order for the companies story to be carried far and wide with credibility.
ENDS

Issued by:Magna Carta Contact
Person:Hilary Macaulay
Tel No.:083 628 6405
Email: hilary@magna-carta.co.za

State of PR in Africa influenced by investment and development, says Magna Carta

State of PR in Africa influenced by investment and development, says Magna Carta
Public relations, although still in its infancy in many African countries, is assuming new significance as international investors and South African companies expand operations on the continent. Taking the step of creating a presence through a PR network, however, is still not for the faint-hearted, says Magna Carta.

One of the major downfalls for entrepreneurs entering the African market is that many proceed on the mistaken belief that the continent is an integrated market with few differences between countries. It is assumed that a ‘one-size’ fits all approach to businesses and services ensure success. This belief is far from the truth in a continent that is home to 54 states, each with its own challenges and local economies that range from ‘developed’ to emerging status, says Vincent Magwenya, CEO of Magna Carta.

“The state of PR in Africa varies widely, something that is not surprising when it is considered that barely 20 years ago the industry was virtually non-existent on the continent.

“Today, although PR is becoming part of the business fabric, extensive research needs to be done before a commitment is made to opening dedicated operations in various countries,” says Magwenya, who has extensive experience in Africa and is presently guiding the expansion of Magna Carta, through the existing partnerships and TBWA African operations.

“Partnerships with local agencies are essential in Africa. However, taking this step requires that you have an in-depth understanding of who you are partnering with and their various affiliations, if any, with international agencies.  Magna Carta’s research showed that four broad categories of agencies exist in Africa,” says Magwenya. These are:

  • Local offices affiliated to, or affiliates of, global PR/Advertising groups
  • A limited number of Africa specialists with claims to actual experience of working across African countries
  • Local agencies with genuine PR specialists on staff, and
  • Local one-stop shop agencies that claim to have PR expertise as part of their overall offering

“The final category forms the majority in most African countries. Most agencies offer everything from advertising to marketing and simply include PR as one of their offerings. The growth of this sector was natural, given that specialisation in specific markets was often not possible because of the small size of markets on the continent. This forced entrepreneurs to take the ‘one-stop shop’ approach to doing communications business.

“The structuring of these companies is in marked contrast to the growth of communications entities as they are known in South Africa. Here, each company within a large group has a defined structure, specialist staff and the ability to integrate with other specialists to meet clients’ requirements.

“In the rest of Africa, practitioners can often be found housed in a single room with single individuals assuming responsibility for disparate communications functions. Again, this approach is defined by market size and requirements,” says Magwenya.

When approaching PR in Africa the basic requirement therefore is to understand the maturity levels of individual markets. The next step is to cluster countries into defined, categorised markets to ascertain what levels of quality service and competition could possibly be encountered.

“Broadly, when examining opportunities available to Magna Carta and TBWA, we found four categories of African markets we could clearly define,” says Magwenya. These were:

  • Developed markets
  • Emerging markets
  • Semi-developed markets, and
  • Under-developed markets

“South Africa is a developed market as it has a mature PR market whose services are rated as amongst the best in Africa. Emerging markets include Nigeria and Ghana. In these countries little was known about PR as a practice two decades ago. However, due to increased international investment and participation in these economies, growth in marketing and PR activities is taking place.

“In this context it is interesting to note that the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR) recently held their third ‘Golden Eagle’ awards for the PR industry.

“Semi-developed PR countries include Kenya, Uganda, Namibia and Botswana. These countries have mature and independent media environments, but have a PR industry that is focused on delivering events, rather than providing strategic counsel to companies and governments.

“The use of PR consultants, many of them originally journalists or media workers, is growing. In Kenya the primary driver for this increased activity is that the country is used as an ‘East African hub’ by multinational businesses and is also home to many NGO’s including the United Nations.”

The under-developed markets cross territories such as Angola, Tanzania, Mauritius, Malawi, Mozambique, Swaziland, Lesotho and Zambia where media are generally under-funded and under-skilled. Where companies do exist in Angola or Mozambique they have strong Portuguese links.

“Although PR and communications-based activities are growing strongly in the emerging markets, it must be generally accepted that their success and growth is tied to the media, which because of issues of ownership and funding, can have wide-ranging quality.  Where media outputs are poor, PR is generally disregarded as a necessity. Consumer consumption of newspapers also plays a role by limiting circulation figures – another pre-requisite for PR and advertising practitioners.

“Consumer consumption of newspapers is entirely different to that of mature markets like South Africa. In some markets it is not uncommon to see groups of people huddled around newspaper stands. They literally ‘rent to read’ newspapers and then hand the publication back to the news vendor when they have completed reading.

“The repercussions of this are that communications professionals are unable to get accurate readership figures or audience ratings. Having an understanding of local factors like these is essential if the opening of a PR company is being considered.

“Although it is undoubtedly Africa’s time to take the international spotlight and the continent boasts a burgeoning middle class that is driving prosperity, entry into markets must be thoroughly researched and carefully considered. Ensuring that all factors have been taken into account will ensure success,” concludes Magwenya.
ENDS

Issued by: Magna Carta
Contact Person: Hilary Macaulay
Email: hilary@magna-carta.co.za