I’ve just got back from Brussels, feeling suitably enthused after a really interesting couple of days at IABC’s conference on communicating CR.
Mercifully free from presentations of the “Here’s what my company does and aren’t we brilliant?” ilk, instead we were treated to a variety of perspectives, all pretty much reinforcing the same fundamental principles.
The need for CR to be fully integrated into business strategy, making sure that efforts are relevant and material, focusing first on employees and core business operations, and using the power of storytelling to engage with stakeholders on a much more personal level – all these things came over loud and clear and left me feeling confident that CR 1.0 (at least in the minds of those in attendance) is well and truly dead in the water.
My own personal highlight? A panel discussion where, amongst other things, the panel were asked what questions they would pose businesses in order to begin to get under the skin of their attitude and approach to CR.
I was feeling pretty happy with myself as Tom Dodd of the European Commission suggested a series of questions that really go to the heart of my own thinking on CR 2.0…
- To what extent is CR truly integrated into your business strategy?
- How do your products/services do good for society and the environment?
- To what extent do you try to lead your customers?
- To what extent does your commitment to CR contribute to innovation?
- (For all of the above) To what extent do you tell the same story to investors?
And then Solitaire Townsend delivered the coup de grace – encapsulating everything in one simple question that instantly brought home why she’s the CEO of a highly successful communications consultancy and I’m not…
- Why will you still be in business in 2058?
Hats off to Soli, that’s just an absolute belter of a question, and she followed it with some equally brilliant advice…
If they don’t have a clue how to answer it… Be scared. If they can instantly rattle off a really slick answer… Be very scared!
But if they really have to scratch their heads and think about it for a bit, now that’s someone we can work with.