Brunnen Communications – viestintätoimisto
impact management

Impact management is now in demand

Europe is experiencing its most serious situation in decades. Russia’s widespread indefensible attack on western values and international right is also reflected at the desks of communications experts – directly and, for many, also indirectly.

Information influencing has by now become clear to many communications and management representatives. The work of a communicator has already long involved identifying and understanding audiences. Since these audiences are often in constant motion, their needs and motives need to be identified. Effective communication is able to respond to or even exceed audience expectations.

Unfortunately, the irrational war we are witnessing has also mobilized those with the wrong motives – information influencers. It is no longer enough to receive and interpret messages, we now need to know more, to see behind messages and to assess their authenticity and purpose. It may be difficult for some people to identify information influencing and even more difficult to understand how to protect against it.

According to the definition of the Prime Minister’s Office, information influencing is harmful communication that may be carried out by a state or non-state actor who may also knowingly or unknowingly act on behalf of a state. Individuals, various organisations, societies or consortia as well as other actors may also be behind information influencing.

Examples of information influencing may include manipulated images, untruthful information spread about an organisation, disinformation appearing on websites or even the hijacking of social media accounts. It may also be an exceptionally heated debate involving provocation, argumentation and brusqueness without any listening taking place. A communicator is generally the first to recognize information influencing.

Crying need for strategic communications competence

Much has been said in recent years about how communication has changed from reputation management of one’s own organisation to managing the expectations of various stakeholders. I think communication is still both, but in a serious critical situation where large masses or even states are involved, communication is increasingly more impact management, which in turn protects against information influencing. The most important part of communication has thus been to engage in source criticism, persistent analysis and making objective conclusions. And to word everything understandably to create the right kind of influence where it should be.

Professional, transparent communication is always both diplomatic and factual. Communicators have high ethics and their job is to build trust with stakeholders, who in this way would learn to understand more and to make better decisions for example.

Information influencing on the other hand is pitch black and is intended to cause chaos, distrust and wrong decisions. The information given is deliberately misleading.

Management and communicators must the whole time understand the different mechanisms of influencing and to differentiate those that cannot stand the light of day. Understanding calls for experience, scope and thinking. It also requires an uncompromising nature and an assured way of working. Professional communication is an unbeatable bridgebuilder between an organisation and its stakeholders. This is why by now, communication processes, responsibilities and guidelines for emergencies must be put in order.

Taru Nikulainen

Taru Nikulainen

Taru lives and breathes strategies, influence, changes and crises. Being well seasoned in the communications field Taru manages to keep her head whilst many would already have their head spinning. She loves war history, the German language, literature, her two dachshunds and her family. In her free time Taru rides horses, plays tennis as well as goes skiing and running.

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Kuule ensimmäisenä toimistomme kuulumiset ja pysy aallon harjalla alan trendeistä. Saat kuukausittain ajankohtaisimmat viestinnän uutiset suoraan sähköpostiisi.

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