Clearly in Business Leader: Less heat, more fixes

19 August 2021 | 3 min read | News
Clearly Team

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In this month’s Business Leader, Clearly MD Paul MacKenzie-Cummins’s column talks about the need for businesses to move beyond using hyperbolic marketing messages and towards those that educate, support, inform and clarify what the business stands for, its values, and ultimately what’s in it for their customers who choose them as their product or service provider of choice.

Less heat, more fixes

As businesses reopen their physical doors, any notion of this being a ‘return to how things were’ is a misguided one. Things will not be the same again, but this is a good thing. If we have learned anything from the last 18 months, it is that business leaders have an opportunity to both influence and effect change on a scale like never before.

Earlier this year, the annual Edelman Trust Barometer found that public trust in businesses outweighs that for governments and the media.

In fact, business is not just the most trusted institution, it is also considered the most ethical – 86 per cent of people want CEOs and Managing Directors to speak out on societal issues.

During the height of the pandemic, savvy business leaders recognised that their organisations will be defined by the crisis. They could see how customer purchasing decisions were increasingly being influenced by what the business says and does.

The question now is how can leaders make this work for them in a way that prominently positions them as a product or service provider of choice, giving them that all-important competitive edge?

There are two elements at play here: financial imperative and social currency.

Investing in your brand through advertising, marketing, or public relations is essential to economic recovery and growth. However, this needs to be balanced with sustainability and social impact considerations.

Indeed, Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) reporting will dominate the corporate agenda for years to come. Businesses will no longer be measured solely on financial performance; their impact on local communities and the environment will be key considerations.

This will also influence the messaging emanating from organisations. There needs to be a move beyond the hyperbole and self-aggrandising communications that dominated pre-pandemic promotions.

“Businesses will no longer be measured solely on financial performance; their impact on local communities and the environment will be key considerations”

Rather, the focus will be on building brand reputation through greater engagement in a way that educates and informs stakeholders of the organisation’s ‘purpose’ – it’s raison d’etre.

In other words, generate less heat, achieve more fixes and in doing so organisations will greatly benefit from a sustained reputational dividend.

If you need guidance on developing your post-pandemic communications strategy, get in touch.

This article was published by Clearly in the September 2021 issue of Business Leader magazine.