Daniel Tisch is the President and CEO for Argyle Public Relationships, one of Canada’s largest independent public relations firms. Dan worked at senior levels in government before embarking on a 20-year consulting career in which he has advised CEOs, boards, government leaders and marketers for some of the world’s biggest brands. From 2011 to 2013, he was the Chair of the Global Alliance for Public Relations and Communication Management. He led the Global Alliance to unprecedented growth and co-chaired the World PR Forums in Melbourne in 2012 (where we first got to work with Dan through the PRIA) and Madrid in 2014.
What’s been the biggest change to communication/marketing/public relations since you began your career?
When I started out working for a minister in the Canadian government in the early 1990s, PR was all about ‘staying on message’ and delivering that message mainly through news media channels. We had the luxury of long news cycles: we would prepare the message, do the interview, and not see or feel much impact until the evening television news and the next morning’s dailies. Today, communicators have less control over the message than ever before, as it is adapted, influenced and spread by many voices; so communication has become even more about the building of relationships with stakeholders and influencers, and stewarding those relationships both in person and online. To do well in the long term, you need a higher level of transparency and authenticity – plus an ability to know when you’re wrong, to say so quickly, and to back up your apology with tangible, measurable action. And whatever you say or do, it’s on the internet forever. The higher stakes, higher speed and eternal legacy of communication have changed the business forever – and generally for the better.
Tell us about your typical day in communications.
There is no typical day! One of the joys of consulting is never knowing exactly what the day will bring. I may interact with a corporate CEO about his or her leadership communications; I may meet with government officials, consumer marketers or pharma executives — often all in one day. I might generate wild ideas with colleagues in the Argyle Brainstorming Room at our Toronto office, and then consider how we would implement the best one across the country. I’ll post some stuff on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn or Twitter. I’ll join a volunteer board call. And if it’s Tuesday, I’ll take my younger son to Cub Scouts that evening.
Finish this sentence: ‘Communication is…’
…a social good, and a business imperative. Too many businesspeople still see PR as something to do when they want publicity or face a crisis. Ask yourself this: In an environment where most of the value of a brand lies in intangibles such as reputation, are relationships more important or less important? The answer is obvious. Every organisation needs an ongoing strategy to build and invest in those public relationships — for mutual benefit. The best communication achieves mutual understanding, and is aligned with the truth, the public interest, and social harmony.