How to Tell Your Story in the Age of the Attention Economy

How do you win the attention of an audience? During the 17th PR Days in Moscow international festival, communication specialists spoke about their profession and its future with people of quite different skills – creating and producing stories.

michalkov.JPGMoscow, 31th May – As part of the PR Days in Moscow international festival, a conference was held in the SKOLKOVO school of management on 29th May on “Producing in the Age of the Attention Economy: How to Tell your Story”. Communication specialists met with academics, entrepreneurs, TV and film producers to discuss how to attract and hold the attention of audiences and win their trust in an age where trust is totally lacking. Around 400 guests took part in the event, which was organised by the Russian Public Relations Association (RPRA) and Mikhailov & Partners Strategic Communications, which this year celebrates its 20th anniversary.

The plenary session of the conference opened with an address by American futurologist Francis Fukuyama, who highlighted the role of trust in the efficient development of societies, states and companies. Trust and the creation of stories to help win it were the subjects of speeches by film director Nikita Mikhalkov, US film director and producer Paul Brown, entrepreneur and creator of the Marusya project Nikolay Fomenko, minister of the Government of Moscow and head of the city’s culture department Sergey Kapkov, head director at Channel One Andrey Boltenko, general producer of STS TV Vyacheslav Murugov, editor-in-chief of RT TV Margarita Simonyan, and photographer and producer Anton Lange.

slashcheva.JPGThe participants and journalists were particularly interested in the title of the conference. Juliana Slascheva, President of Mikhailov & Partners, explained what the “attention economy” means and why a whole conference was devoted to the subject. “The attention economy is a fast-evolving area of economics that is based on the fact that the consumer’s attention is a finite resource. Anyone who is competing for and wants to command the consumer’s attention, be it a national government, a businesses of any size, a public organization, a cultural figure or politician – all of them these days have to think not just about the channels and tools by which they convey their information, but also about how to tell their story properly, how to make it clever, interesting and accessible for the consumer for which it is intended. And this concerns any type of product – ideological, consumer, cultural or social. The attention economy today is about having to fight for every consumer using new techniques, about access to a channel no longer being that important: much more important is the story itself.

fukuyama.JPGAmerican philosopher, futurologist and writer Francis Fukuyama believes that any company that wants to be successful has to develop social capital: “If there’s no trust nobody will pay any attention. Above all, trust is needed in society and in business. Companies become successful when they make active use of their social potential, building it on trust rather than earning it...Social capital is the third type of capital in today’s economy, alongside the material capital of property and human resources.”

According to Aleksandr Lyubimov, general director of RBC TV, production skills and the emotional impact of the story are becoming especially important in the new age: “You have to know how to produce your life, how to produce your career and your country if you are its leader... I think that it (the story) needs to be emotional. You have to tell this story in a professional way. It needs to have friends and enemies, tyrants and victims, heroes and antiheroes. And then it will appeal to people!”

Following the plenary session the discussion of successful stories continued in several round tables.

AgencyOne held a round table entitled “New vs. Traditional Media: Internet Video vs. Traditional Channels. What is the New Generation’s Choice?”

In a debate organized by the Association of Consultants in the Field of Public Relations (AKOS), representatives of consultancy companies and corporate communication specialists discussed the new demands being made of the PR profession.

How to build a strategy and create a media presence for a company abroad was discussed at a round table entitled “Russian Companies in the International Media: Overcoming Stereotypes and Telling your Story”, prepared by the global communications company Burson-Marsteller.

Specially for the PR Days in Moscow conference, Medialogia carried out a study the best news pegs during the first half of 2013, identifying the most outstanding events that received the widest coverage in the media. The winning companies spoke about their most high-profile projects during a round table entitled “News Pegs 2013”.

One of the conference partners - CROS public relations development company - initiated a debate on the topic “Infotainment: The Death of News or a New Synthesis of Event Reality?”

The techniques and tools of modern political technologies were discussed in a section entitled “Political Storytelling”, organised by Niccolo-M, one of Russia’s oldest PR companies. And in parallel, the Russian Public Relations Association hosted a discussion on the subject of “The Russian Storytelling Landscape”.

The conference partners were the SKOLKOVO Moscow School of Management, AGT communications agency, Philip Morris International, and the CROS group of companies. The conference’s technology partner, HP, presented its latest tablets and notebooks.

The event’s general information partner was leading Russian media holding RBC.

The information partners were RBC TV, BusinessFM radio station and Interfax.

To access the conference photo album follow this link

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