29th June 2017
Deepali Schneider, Account Director for the London corporate team, considers the merits of a proactive communications strategy during turbulent times.
The line it is drawn
The curse is cast
The slow one now
Will later be fast
As the present now
Will later be past
The order is
And the first one now
Will later be last
For the times are a-changin’ – Bob Dylan
When we look back over the last 12 months, the amount of change in the West is staggering: Brexit, Trump, Macron, and the seismic shifts in the UK political landscape… the list continues to evolve. Not only are we living through the fourth industrial revolution, but also a period of huge challenges, uncertainty and relentless change – all of which brings opportunities.
Having had the chance to live and work in several countries for extended periods, I have come to believe that challenges and uncertainty are often positive. It has been interesting to observe the similarities on how businesses, governments and people from different cultures react to issues and how they choose to communicate.
With technological advances, we are seeing the rise of citizen journalism, fake news and complex algorithms that filter and monitor the information we consume. With constant connectivity and ever-faster-paced news agenda means that everyone is communicating at a speed like never witnessed before. This has led to a significant shift in how we consume information with research indicating that our attention spans are becoming more fleeting.
Given the faced paced information culture we are living in now, it is essential for companies to place more importance in communicating with their audiences and showcasing their expertise. There is huge demand for credible and insightful information and this presents vast opportunities. Having no proactive communication strategy can be risky as it demonstrates that a business does not stand for something, especially as expectations are high in today’s connected world.
I believe that adding boldness to a proactive communication strategy can be beneficial. If a company chooses to lead on a challenging issue (whether it is Brexit, treating customers fairly or any of a thousand topical issues), this not only provides a platform to showcase its expertise, knowledge and skills to all stakeholders, but also provides direction to lead us through uncertain times.
Businesses need to seize the momentum during this period of change and strive to ensure that their identity and values are not lost. The ones who do embrace a bold and proactive communications strategy will always stand ahead of their competitors – those with only a reactive communication strategy risk being seen as defensive and unreliable. Whilst we navigate through these uncertain political and economic times, it is vital that businesses seize this opportunity to lead.
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