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Having a Positive Impact with Alexander PR’s Dwayne Alexander

March 4, 2020

The Reputation Management Specialists.

Dwayne Alexander is the Co-Founder and Global Practice Leader of Alexander PR.

Alexander PR is a New Zealand-based, full-service public relations agency with global reach, specializing in reputation management. They assist boards, CEOs, business owners, and marketing decision makers with reputation, strategy, content, and commercial opportunities. Alexander PR Ltd is a licensed affiliate of Burson Cohn & Wolfe, a global communications and PR agency with offices in North America, Latin America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific.

Learn more about how Alexander PR can help manage your business reputation by listening to this episode of The Thoughtful Entrepreneur above and don’t forget to subscribe on   Apple Podcasts – Stitcher – Spotify –Google Play –Castbox – TuneIn – RSS.

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Welcome to The Thoughtful Entrepreneur Show. I'm Josh Elledge, Founder and CEO of UpMyInfluence.com. We turn entrepreneurs into media celebrities, grow their authority, and help them build partnerships with top influencers. We believe that every person has a unique message that can positively impact the world. stick around to the end of the show, where I'll reveal how you can be our next guest on one of the fastest growing daily inspiration podcasts on the planet in 15 to 20 minutes. Let's go.

With us right now we've got Dwayne Alexander. Dwayne, you are the Co-Founder of Alexander PR. Alexander PR in New Zealand, you're, you're one of the big dogs. And you've done amazing things not just of course in New Zealand but globally. You're a very very respected name in the in the world of public growth. I listen, it is it's really an honor to have you on. So if people can't tell on fanboying a little bit, Dwayne, Dwayne and his crew do amazing work. And I'll just, I'll just put this out as well. It's, you can find Dwayne and and, and his team at AlexanderPR dot co dot, NZ. So, Dwayne, thank you so much.

Thank you, Josh. Thanks for having us. We really appreciate it. It's a long, long flight between New Zealand and the US.

The internet, right?

Yeah, it helps things a bit. So, so just again, maybe just kind of give an overview of what Alexander PR does.

Yeah, we're a full service reputation agency, actually half of our businesses issues in crisis and the more complicated legal stuff, helping companies and CEOs from across the world and in New Zealand and Australia, particularly reputation when things come knocking at the door that don't really want. And it's interesting because we're a small team in global standards, but a very talented team that's been together for be 1012 years, and many of our customers have been with us for 10 or 12 years as well. So it was especially sweet when we've been given invitations across the world, to go and receive awards in Singapore, and in London, and in LA, and in Washington, DC, all in the last three or four months, which has been a true instead of a blessing, you know, in some respects, we're very grateful for it. And what we have realized during that process is many CEOs, if they want to be successful, have to become passionate about the social good. And in fact, the social license to operate has become critical for companies across the world, not just because of Gen Z, or because of Gen Y. But because actually, it's a It's a real reason to differentiate your business across the world, not just with media, not just with governments, but actually with consumers, your consumers.

So specifically, are we talking about being engaged in social good campaigns? Or are we talking about being mission and purpose focused?

I think it's the latter. Unless you have it ingrained in everything you do from your management planning sessions through to how you hire your staff. It can be seen as window dressing, you know, and in the world campaign, to me is sort of a misnomer because a campaign indicates that it's a short sort of maybe something you do on an annual basis. Whereas if something is ingrained in your culture, you are going to make a difference. I mean, New Zealand, New Zealand for example, the government is starting to look at procurement and wellness and well being and with a company can fulfill certain criteria and help the economy, the culture and society. And if your company does good, then perhaps going forward, it may be on the procurement list more than somebody else. So that that is something that I believe will resonate around the world. We can't rely on governments to create positive change alone anymore, nor can you the church or communities. It's the smart companies around the world, which are saying, well, let's live, eat and breathe something and make a difference.

So you mentioned something about, you know, being mission purpose focused. But then you talked about winning a government contract and I think a lot of people might have the idea that that stuff doesn't matter, but that that government contracts and bids are given completely objectively based on price and ability to do the job. And that's all That matters.

I think governments will change and you can see it around the world and wrote the rulebook has been thrown out, really, it's very hard to predict how people will react. And you know, leadership is about persona personalities. And actually the people that get the attention of these personalities be the community groups, companies from around the world are the ones that are going to actually change the agenda. You know, you can look at Congress, you can look at governments around the world, but actually, it can be a single idea from a group of teenagers, which goes across the world in seconds, if not minutes or hours, and can change legislation. You know, from our little corner of New Zealand. One of our clients, Andrew bonds did the four day week initiative, where he said people should really be working less should be remaining productive in the four days and paid for five And we've seen that resonate around the world In fact, Russia is looking at it in their legislation. In the UK the Labour Party is also looking at it seriously as well. Funny enough, when I was in American DC last week, I got a lot of rise smiles looking at me saying well you know, we love our work here in the US. However, when I stood up and did my my acceptance speech, and many of the US citizens around the room, realized that actually it's good for family it's good for the planet, it's good for mental health. They seem to change the tune a little bit as well. So we love work we all you know, anybody, Josh, you live, eat and breathe your business and many of you as well, but it's about creating a positive loop as well and not just doing work for work sake. Now,

yeah. So, obviously so that's something that they You've been involved in. But that's it. It's interesting, you know? So just, you know, ask you this question is why focus on that? And and why is that good for business helped me connect the dots there?

Well, in terms of this specific initiative, the four day week initiative is all about productivity. You know, and you read an article in The Economist, for example, that said, on average, if you've got 50 staff, you know, 60 to 70% of their time is spent on Facebook and, and Instagram and finding the plumber and you know, doing a lot of things and that's, you know, that's life, okay. Essentially, what we really need to do is ensure that there's not a presenteeism in the building, and that the culture is all about productivity. And that essentially, you're focusing on the right things. And that's what that campaign is about. But it's not just about that campaign. I mean, we've got climes, Swedish ginger Wallah who essentially 14 years has spoken about accessibility and sustainability. Yeah. And you know, him and his family have been picking up rubbish around Lake Rotorua for many years before it became popular and popular wrists. You know, he's recently got rid of all the plastic, you know, plastic straws and his business and it's about actually focusing on little little things that amount to a lot for the community around you. And not waiting around for the government to create legislation or the church to come in and feed the poor people. You know, it's about finding something that you're passionate about and going out there and creating a meaningful difference. One of the winners was a wastewater beer. I think it was called Carlsberg Sweden. Can you imagine that? And you know, it's selling well. It was number seven in the world. initiative was number eight in the world out of 70 countries, thousand 500 entries. So, you know, the analysis that we've done, you know, on the long playing back, is, it's not enough to live, eat and breathe and have purpose, but it's also about being able to communicate it as well. And this is almost 40% of the job. Because unfortunately, you do have a lot of rake that and CEOs and founders who will hide your light under a bushel, and they'll just continue to do what they do. And they don't actually realize that actually, if they extend it and told the world a little bit about it, they could actually do even more good,

you know, but that's true. That's true.

Sometimes they're a little bit cha.

Yeah, yeah. And, and explain a little bit more about that. Because, you know, we run into this issue with people that, you know, they feel like they're just going to be bragging and boasting and they're going to feel like that. It's, it's inauthentic to say, Oh, look at us look at the good things that we're doing. Go into that a little bit more, would you?

It's a very real problem. And especially in New Zealand, where, you know, people don't like to talk about success in many respects. And it's a constant challenge that we have with very successful CEOs who really just, you know, don't do it for the limelight. And we have to find very valid reasons to get them on in front of a camera or in a, you know, in front of a microphone to talk about what they do. But generally the way we do it is because if they do go down the road of talking about what they do in a more profound way, it actually can amplify the good that they do so many, ultimately will cross the line and start to do a little bit more public awareness about what they do. If they really truly believe that it's going to help more people, more community communities. You know, and and what we tend to say is, you know, take it one step at a time, you know, first there is a journey that every CEO has tell your own personal story, because it's going to attract other funding. It's going to attract other supporters across your market and in the world, people who are equally interested in what you're doing as well. And you'll be able to change the world much faster, and amplify what you're doing.

Now, in your work, where you're doing a lot of work with crisis, communication, reputation management, I bet you would hope that many of your prospective clients would be doing this work ahead of time. Because it can help a little bit right.

Yeah, yeah. Unfortunately, human nature is such that we all believe that it'll never happen to us, you know, so many CEOs that they would either go through the classical, do foo hours of media training, develop a booklet, put it in the little library and then put it away and not think about it for in a number of years. Unfortunately, that just doesn't cut it. And it shouldn't cut it for boards either. You actually need a regular, almost a fire drone top thing in terms of practicing. You know, we've just had a major catastrophe in the middle of Auckland and New Zealand, where the sky city Convention Center which has been both burst into flames, you know, and it was only half a bolt, and it it crippled the city for days and days. And you could argue that perhaps the right crisis and issues protocols weren't in place, because it was sort of hours and hours before people knew what was happening. You know, but but coming back to, you know, understanding what to do in a crisis. You need to have gone through the thinking before you're actually in the crisis in order to succeed. So You need an idea of who the stakeholders you'll need to reach out at seven o'clock on us on a Friday evening, when everybody's doing other things, how will you reach them? You know, is it via text? Is it via telephone by email? You know, are you going to send messages out? You know, there's a whole lot of pre work that needs to be done in an issue in crisis. And also, the successfully managed crises will take sometimes three or four years to turn around and put something back into the into the community, you know, where the the ill has happened. So it's a long slog, you may turn around the initial crisis, but then there's the reputational damage. And then there's also the reparations that needs to happen to make sure that you know, the things that have gone wrong, are better or improved.

And, and so, Dwayne, in terms of one thing that I've heard as well is generational. And I think that so I think both you're seeing both cultural moves toward an expectation that there's more to accompany than just its products and services, that there's a soul to that company. And so I think culturally, we're seeing this more and more, but also from the data, I've seen generationally, there's an expectation in terms of, you know, companies that have a, you know, the values and purpose and, you know, the involvement in making the world better. You know, folks in their 20s I don't wanna say just millennials but I, you know, I think that you know, just the, you know, anyone in that age and below, it's just the way that you know, it Look, if I got the option between two different companies, and one just selling me a product, the other ones sell me a product and it might be $1, or two more But I get to be a part of something. I think we're seeing a lot of trends toward that second option. And I'm sure that's what you've seen as well.

Absolutely. All the research points to Generation Z, you know, driving that, very idealistic, and rightly so. They're very ambitious for the planet and for their parents and their grandparents. But essentially, you know, they look for social proof. And companies that create the social proof in an authentic way, are the ones that are winning, they're winning the awards, they're winning on the profit, the p&l as well. And in order to build social proof, it's about going out and asking your customers to tell you the stories. And it's the stories of the customers that are engaging your other customers and helping to change behaviors. So ultimately, it's not the flashy at style. ad agency ad that's going to cut it anymore. It's the user generated social media content that's been developed and use researched as well, because it's not enough to pay lip service and say that you're doing good people in this, you know, even Generation Z likes to see proof that social proof should come in the form of Have you done the research that shows that you're doing positive things in your market as well. So it's not enough to create stories. The stories have to be foundational, you know, have a foundation in, in science and maths.

Yeah, terrific. Well, great. So, Dwayne, anything else that that folks, I mean, you've you've done a lot of traveling around the world in and you've been heralded for your work in this space, any other things on the horizons that that all business owners And brand owners and personalities should take into consideration about where economies are going, where consumers are going, and where business is headed.

I think, you know, the big thing for us is talent. You know, we couldn't do what we do if we didn't have a very tired team who'd been with us for a long time and understood the vision and the values of what we're doing. The issue that businesses face around the world, is they actually are a lot of opportunities around and retaining top talent is going to be the big, big challenge of the next millennium because there's so many options. And I think from a cultural perspective, we need flexible working. We need an ability for people to do good things in their lives and have a work, you know, enjoy their work and also have balance with the family as well. And whether you're American from the UK or right The future of work has to involve you have to be developing it in conjunction with your team, as opposed to just top down. And I think that's the biggest single thing up. Artificial Intelligence is around the corner. However, it's human beings, ultimately that will define where we go in the next 10 years not artificial intelligence.

Terrific, right Dwayne Alexander, you are the Co-Founder of AlexanderPR found on the web at AlexanderPR.co.nz. Thank you so much very, very insightful. You know, again, business owners that are intentional intending on being in business for quite some time. Please pay very close attention. Maybe re listen to this episode again. To make sure that you get this message and that you know you lead with your why you communicate your Why do do good in the world. communicate that good, Dwayne. These are all amazing, very, very powerful lessons I think that business owners can take. So I want to thank you so much for your time. Thank you, Josh.

Our pleasure. Thank you for having me.

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