media management

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Engadget recently posted excerpts from a Nokia internal ‘Burning man memo’ from its new CEO Stephen Elop originally published to all Nokia employees. Essentially the memo describes Nokia’s current declining market position, attributes this to lack of management and leadership. This information is not actually anything new or suprising, not really news. Two days later the British national newspapers all contain exerpts from, and an analysis of the memo. Most of them appear to have missed the point, understimating Elop’s skills, by calling this a ‘Ratner‘ moment. Ratner jokingly denigrated the quality of his businesses products outside any plan to change that quality. It is fairly obvious, that Stephen Elop has been doing what he was employed to do, analysing and planning a strategy to rectify Nokia’s current declining share of the phone market.

Stephen Elop has a wealth of experience of fast moving, competitive business. His former job was President of Microsoft’s Business Division (Microsoft Office etc). Elop joined Nokia in late September 2010.  He’s scheduled to announce Nokia’s strategy later today. The ‘burning man memo’ release is so clearly a step in the media management to hype the coming announcement. Any Microsoft President knows that a memo or email to all staff is sure to be released to the press, they write their memo’s with that knowledge – they are written as press releases.

For me the story is that in approximately 4 months he can learn the internal business processes, influencers and work with the senior management team and partner companies to develop an achievable, convincing, publishable vision and plan for changing the companies direction.  Assuming it will be all those things, that’s impressive. The public version of this plan comes at today’s conference. The UK National press has all joined in on creating free publicity hype around this plan before they even know what it is. Elop is doing a great job of media management, and the press don’t even seem to realise he’s doing it.  Even I’ve got wrapped up in the story. Doh!

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