January 3, 2020

Red Havas CEO James Wright Takes to LinkedIn to Talk About Compassion in a Merged Media World

by Ellen Mallernee Barnes in News

When Richard Branson, Bill Gates or Arianna Huffington want to engage in conversation with the business world, they all go to the same place: LinkedIn. The same goes for our own CEO, James Wright.

The professional networking site has more than 562 million users. However, only 1 million of these users have ever shared self-published content to LinkedIn Pulse, the site’s built-in news aggregation feed.

This smaller group of thought leaders is on to something, having figured out how to effectively use the platform to share their observations, and tricks of their respective trades, with LinkedIn’s vast audience. The thought leadership they’re able to build on the platform trumps any that they can establish on an original blog, as LinkedIn Pulse gives them direct access to those 562 million people who check in for content and connections.

While thought leadership can be perceived as a buzzword, it’s no doubt an important—and often measurable—currency for executives today. According to a recent study, 69 percent of business leaders agreed that thought leadership is one of the best ways to get a sense of the caliber of thinking an organization can deliver. In addition, 63 percent said thought leadership is important for building the reputation of new and small businesses. That’s why Red Havas regularly includes LinkedIn in the thought leadership strategies we create for our clients.

Our own Red Havas CEO, James Wright, has recently begun using the platform to share his insights on changemaking through caring, leading with compassion and Merged Media. We encourage you to follow him there, where you can read his thoughts on everything from compassionate leadership to CSR to what it means for PR practitioners now that the lines between earned, owned, shared and paid have merged. We’ve also summarized his insights below.

Be the one who cares enough to make a change

Before becoming the head of Havas PR North America (now Red Havas), James served as CEO of Red Agency Australia as well as chief commercial officer of Havas Group Australia/New Zealand.

James’ most recent LinkedIn article used an example from his time in Australia to focus on how we can all make a significant difference in the world just by the simple act of caring. To him, “the most impactful work is done when the cause is personal to the people working on it.”

One such personal cause was Red Agency Australia’s #EndotheSilence campaign.

During a “Red Retreat,” or annual agency-wide three-day event filled with inspiration, planning and team building, it came to light that some of our female employees were suffering from endometriosis, a disorder in which tissue that normally lines the uterus grows outside the uterus.

James wrote, “Though it affects an estimated one in 10 women, women largely live with the physical pain and mental consequences caused in silence. That’s why our campaign was called #EndoTheSilence. The Australian government had never given the condition a dollar, and that to me was simply unacceptable. So, we launched a campaign to encourage the government to make it a health priority. By connecting our cause work to our team members’ lives, we were able to go after it with not only our strategic and technical capabilities, but with our hearts and souls.”

James also noted the breathtaking results of the campaign: “Within six months of launching our #EndoTheSilence campaign in Australia, and in partnership with Endometriosis Australia, the minister of health had issued a public apology to all women in the country. We had also raised $4.5 million to fund research, created a huge amount of momentum in Parliament and gotten a number of celebrities involved.”

Leading with compassion

In James’ previous Linkedin article, he shared his insights on leading with compassion. “The best place to start with cultivating a compassionate leadership style is to examine your values and intentions,” he wrote. He noted his personal motivation stems from wanting to tell his children about his work. James is determined to do work that improves society. He is also focused on improving his workplace.

“Good leadership comes from the heart,” he wrote. “To do right to by your business, you have to do right by your people.” His key principles include: empowering your employees to better themselves, valuing attitude over skills, giving and receiving consistent feedback and praise, relentlessly seeking perspectives other than your own, collecting all of the facts before making a judgment, and being a friend to your employees.

Merged Media, the future of PR

James’ first LinkedIn article explained the Merged Media concept, or the merging of earned, owned, shared and paid media. To the average consumer, all of these channels are essentially one and the same, requiring any successful public relations agency to adapt to this shift in media consumption in order to thrive today.

James wrote, “With unprecedented access to data and technology, public relations practitioners are uniquely fit to merge the lines that have divided the types of media for too long. We can help brands interact with today’s consumers across all media sources, presenting themselves within the current landscape in a way that mimics how their audience is behaving. We can help brands tell a channel-agnostic story that covers all of the old media bases—as well as the new and emerging ones.”  

Our Merged Media network is on a mission to reinvent what PR means—on LinkedIn and beyond.

Follow our CEO, James Wright, on LinkedIn to stay up to date on our ever-changing industry and all things Red Havas.