Jerome Bloch (360Crossmedia): 2023 trends in communication
Since the election of Donald Trump, fake news has invaded the media in an unabashed manner and the propaganda of the war in Ukraine has not helped matters. According to Jerome Bloch, CEO of 360Crossmedia and author of the book 'No Bullshit', "our era is imposing increasingly sophisticated methods on business communication". Interview.
How do you analyse the current evolution of communication?
The first word that comes to mind is 'Orwellian': information is becoming totalitarian in all its forms. It is no longer a question of informing but of subjugating or at least manipulating, and it is not uncommon to listen to two radically different opinions on a given subject without having the slightest idea of who is telling the truth. This obviously creates a lot of anxiety. Our societies, imperfect as they are, were built around bonds of trust that are being broken at a dizzying speed never before seen in history. We have gone from Gutenberg to Zuckerberg to Heisenberg in 20 years. Until recently, to be published you had to go through a publisher who had served as a safeguard since the invention of the printing press in 1454 by Johannes Gutenberg. In 2004, the creation of social networks such as Facebook gave everyone a voice, thanks to its creator Mark Zuckerberg. But since the election of Donald Trump in 2016, the end seems to justify the means, as in the show "Breaking Bad" where Walter White the chemistry teacher becomes a drug king under the pseudonym "Heisenberg". The result: the main driver of communication becomes entertainment and the public seems to be willing to give up its societal need for universal truth in order to enjoy the show, settling for a gregarious truth shared by a small group.
"Information is becoming totalitarian in all its forms."
What solutions do you recommend to companies?
I know only two: presence and relevance. The question of presence is no longer relevant. Today, every company must communicate at least once a month with an article or a video and once a week on social networks. Consider this as reputational insurance, as it is very easy to denigrate on the internet today, often with great damage, knowing that regulators, for example, are connected 24 hours a day. A regular presence allows you to occupy the field and create links with journalists and influencers. These relationships can be invaluable in the event of a spurious attack. Once a presence is established, relevance is achieved by working on content and form. I often quote Jean-Claude Biver, former CEO of Hublot, who told me that the success of luxury watches began with the creation of quartz watches: the day that everyone could afford this object, quality watches saw their value increase. The same dynamic applies to content today: posting on Linkedin is not enough to reach your target. You need to create short, engaging, high-quality formats. I am thinking of e-conferences, 20-minute interviews with charismatic experts, white papers or books. For example, HSBC made a big impact last year with its ESG Square concept, which is available on the website, in a conference and in a book.
"We have gone from Guttenberg to Zuckerberg to Heisenberg in 20 years."
What advice do you have for individuals?
In my book "No Bullshit", I explain the work involved in a healthy search for universal truths. Everyone has the choice of bleating with their flock or patiently building a moral compass, of watching a 120-episode Netflix series or reading well-chosen books and websites to sort out what is true from what is false. Everyone is free to do what they want with their lives and seek their happiness as they wish. However, my background as a top sportsman has taught me an essential lesson: "Immediate pleasure leads to future suffering, and vice versa". As for the omnipresent temptation of conspiracy, often synonymous with destructive anxiety, I always remain faithful to Bertrand Russell: "Love is wise, hatred is foolish". (Love is right, hate is foolish.) We must maintain trust in our fellow human beings, despite the temptations around us.