Out of The Box 12 | The Future of Communications: Are you Culturally Ready?

out of the box newsletter Jul 30, 2021


Hi, it's Katie here.

I recently joined the BeenThereDoneThat team in New York, heading up our communications and culture strategy – lovely to meet you – and honored to take the reins of the newsletter this week.

We are building a new capability on the team to help support brands as they navigate the ever-shifting cultural tides. Our aim is to help educate brands to be proactive, creative and confident as they communicate with audiences where they are, which is increasingly…everywhere.

And let’s be very clear: there’s a lot that brand communications experts need to sift through these days. From what channels to be on, how to enter a cultural conversation authentically and with agility (Diane Sawyer’s PR team deserves a h/t this week for winning the Ted Lasso season 2 news wave), to determining when, how and if to speak up in the present deluge of breaking news, tweets, TikToks and status updates. It’s no wonder that Gartner recently found only 8% of communications leaders believe they have the right set of skills in their staff to meet demands.

Yet, while some might grow panicked just thinking about all the ways a well-meaning brand message could go wrong in the mosh pit of contemporary media, there’s even more opportunity for a brand to be creative and strike the right tone. Never before have communications teams had the near-infinite, Cheesecake Factory-esque menu of ways in which they can reach audiences—from the masses to the nichest of die-hard fans. And the more brands can breathe a little unexpected creativity into the ways they communicate, the better we are all for not having to read yet another pledge or press release that’s had the life red-lined out of it.

That’s why we’re partnering with brands looking to reinvent and build a new future for the realm of communications. We aren’t keen on crisis comms or assembling (ahem, problematically-named) war-rooms to repair missteps. We believe the future of comms is not adversarial and the last thing we all need is more contention; it’s being prepared.

We’re working with brands to be more proactive and forward-looking: to drive conversations instead of being pressed to respond to them. Our mission is to help companies and their communications teams be culturally ready. To speak on given issues or not, to learn more about the nuances of communicating authentically in culture and above all to be creative in how, when and where they engage with audiences. We’ve assembled a top-bill list of comms experts to call on and we’ve begun getting feedback from the top chief comms executives in the industry.

Now, as always, we’d love to hear what you think—especially about our foray into comms, the future of the industry and any thoughts you might have on who we should talk to, partner with and know about who is dominating in this space. And this is just a beginning: Soon, we’ll be kicking off a series dedicated to the future of communications and innovations happening in this space. In the meantime, here are a few articles pointing to a bold new era of creativity in comms.

More soon, and as always, we are curious to hear what you think.

Katie Manderfield
Senior Advisor | SVP, Communications & Culture Strategy at BeenThereDoneThat



1. How comms service providers see the future of communications

Read Time: 6m 

One expert's prediction? "Communication will outperform marketing." 

Read More


2. Fearing a chaotic post-pandemic workplace? Fix it by going all in on this 1 thing

Read Time: 7m 

Spoiler alert: it's communication. "Communication became a frequent media topic during the pandemic largely due to the problems that resulted from failure to understand how it works as a process rather than just a function." 





3. How public letters became companies' favourite form of activism

Read Time: 6m 

A look at whether CEO statements and pledges are really moving the needle. 





4. RIP ping-pong. The era of wacky office perks is dead

Read Time: 3m 

Forget the free snacks - young employees, aged 21-34, want your words.




 UK Address

Zetland House
5-25 Scrutton Street
London, EC2A 4HJ

 US Address

BTDT Global Inc
PO Box 831, Larchmont
NY 10538