Using conflict constructively to generate content

Conflict is a basic part of human nature which generates interest. Think back to your primary school and seeing two little boys fighting in the school playground – a crowd forms very quickly before the teachers arrive to separate them –  and this shows our basic human interest in conflict.

Think of war or action movies or sports like boxing. One of the key ingredients of drama is conflict.

People are absolutely fascinated by conflict so here are some ideas about how an organisation or brand can constructively use conflict to generate interesting content for their audience. Watch this 2:30 min video.

  • Create content that shows in what way you are fighting the good fight
  • Present the problem you are faced with
  • Demonstrate how you save the day  – as the knight in shining armour!

And this is how you can use conflict constructively, you painted a picture of evil, of potential destruction and mayhem and shown how you saved the day.


Tony Coll is a highly regarded public speaker on Reputation Management, Crisis Communication and the Media.

His company, Tony Coll Media Training works with individuals and groups, from C-suite executives on defining messages, making speeches and videos, practising crisis communication plans and being interviewed in the media, to stakeholders learning about responsible social media.

Follow Tony on Twitter: @tonycollmedia

Reflections on the 2015 IABC World Conference from The App Garden


Hear from Bulent Osman, CEO of The App Garden, as he recounts his experience at the 2015 IABC World Conference in San Francisco.

With the Monday morning San Franciscan sun shining brightly, I walked passed the top-hatted doorman and through the doors of the Marriott hotel.

It was the first day of the IABC World Conference and the reception was awash with excited chatter. These people were, after all, the world’s best business communicators so it was no surprise to hear the elevated decibel levels befitting of their corporate roles.

At my first IABC World Conference, I was keen to hear from the keynote presentations and meet like-minded people over the two days. As a sponsor of the event I was also looking forward to see our advertisement of the StaffConnect app on the huge billboards, hosting a ‘Dine Around’ and sharing the world of internal communication apps in my presentation.

Hot-footing it to the main hall, I was captivated by the first keynote speaker, Aaron Dignan, who enlightened us on The Responsive Organization. Insightful, compelling and informative…what a start! The rest of the day was a wonderful mix of being inspired by a variety of speakers and meeting interesting people in the Hub.

I went to every exhibitor stand to gain insights into the products and services being offered in this sector, keen to see how they could complement our own product and discover new partnership opportunities.

Tuesday was even better. There were more excellent Keynotes and plenty of networking with attendees from all over the United States, Canada as well as a few fellow Brits too. My presentation went well with plenty of interaction, great questions and photos being taken of my StaffConnect presentation slides.

IABC World Conference Dine AroundOne of my highlights however was the Dine Around. This is where I hosted a small group of delegates to dinner at Café Bastille, a French restaurant in the heart of San Francisco.

The food, the service and the company were faultless. Even a few over-excited diners loudly cheering The Warriors to victory (something about the local basketball team winning a trophy for the first time in many years) didn’t spoil the atmosphere. A lovely evening!

The final morning went by in a flash and before I knew it, I was on the Virgin flight back home to London. Happy, tired and delighted after a great conference, my thoughts floated towards the 2016 IABC World Conference in New Orleans.

Now that should be quite a party…I can’t wait!”


Bulent OsmanBulent Osman is an expert in mobile marketing and Founder & CEO of The App Garden Ltd. Passionate about solving business problems with cutting-edge technology and currently building a high-growth company in the mobile software sector.

Having started The App Garden, his goal is to build a truly outstanding software company, known and respected for building enterprise mobile software solutions that matter to the NHS, Healthcare and large enterprises in the UK and around the world.


A year in summary


Tessa O’Neill’s speech at IABC UK Annual General Meeting of 30 June

As I acknowledged in my acceptance speech in June 2014, I knew this would be a year of transition and change. It almost felt like the best we might achieve in this term was to maintain an even keel until the real developments took place later this year.

But I was keen to push for innovation in our board to set some foundations for novel work that would, in line with our new brand offering, best represent IABC in the 21st century.

So our aim as a board was to create excitement around IABC, grow our network, encourage greater participation and demonstrate exceptional value of membership.


Our Board

The IABC board comprises expert communicators, with day jobs and most importantly with personal lives that should always take precedence over any volunteering activity.

So it’s often a challenge to give your all to something that can only be supported in your spare time – especially as there’s less and less of that nowadays!

But I have been hugely impressed this year by the dedication of all our board members and, particularly, by those who took their roles extremely seriously and delivered over and above what was expected. And special mention must go to Susan Walker, Dana Poole & Kira Scharwey for their exceptional work on events, digital marketing and membership respectively.

I’ve really enjoyed working with the team this year; it’s been a huge honour, and a steep and fulfilling learning curve. So I’d like to pause and ask all our board to stand up so we can give them a big round of applause.

Thank you! So on to our update…


Historically maintaining healthy membership has always been a challenge and increasingly so for all associations.

But, despite a slow start, overall membership has actually risen year-on-year by a not inconsiderable 70 percent. This is chiefly due to recent student sign-ups from Bournemouth University and London College of Communications (LCC).

And we are working with Bournemouth to maximise IABC’s engagement with student members (via a student representative and potential sub-committee of students who will promote IABC internally).

We also saw great success in increasing renewals during Member Month. Board members divided up the chapter’s list of lapsed members and personally contacted each of them. A bit of Nudge theory in practice!


The mentorship programme is becoming a USP for the chapter. It has been the main draw for greater student membership.

We currently have 12 mentors and as many mentees, with potentially 100 additional mentees joining the programme from LCC and Bournemouth over the next year.


We have introduced a time-limited “wave” approach to deal with the increased number of mentees. And we also hope to increase mentor numbers accordingly; offering web-based training to more experienced members.

We also signed up our first two regional mentors this year. A good way to engage established members outside the SouthEast who sometimes might feel like members-at-large.


While very much an exploratory year for Regional, it has not been without results.

We held our very first regional event – and webcast – with the South West Corporate Communicators (SWCC) in Bath in October 2014. It featured IABC’s very own Shel Holz as keynote and more than 20 people attended. Interest continues to grow.

Looking ahead, we are planning further events for 2015-16 in Bristol and Bournemouth.

We have also worked to engage members in Sheffield, South Wales, and Leeds over the coming months. So more opportunities to expand our organisation nationally.

We are in discussions with Leeds University about enrolling more than 50 students and promoting IABC to a further 200 students at the university, together with corporate members and communications professionals in the local area.

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