Does purpose still matter? An important question that was asked by Kass Sells, Global COO and President, International, WE Communications at the starting of his address at #RTSPECTRA. SPECTRA is one of the largest virtual events for the fraternity of PR and Communications in India. Day 1 of the event took place on 29th November 2020, when he posed the question.
Sells stated a very important statement “Communicators are the catalysts of change”. He believes that if communicators can harness the power of communication, they can fuel progress. Communicators can illuminate the shared humanity. Communication is the rock foundation on which purpose is built. He explains with examples, how brands have stood up for the public in this time of the pandemic when institutions like the government couldn’t. He lists out 5 principles that have been most effective for brands and they should use it in their process communication.
- Stay true to your purpose: Authenticity is the key. Communicators have to ensure that they continue to act with their purpose. It is very important. Answers to questions such as the reason behind the existence of the organisation, the reason of doing what the organisation does, the process of spreading positivity in the society while making money, can help the brands find purpose-driven communications.
- Be Prepared to Act: Education of the situation and the plan should be sent to all the employees, stakeholders, and customers. Brands should have plans and strategies in place, for any unforeseen situation that can be thought of.
- Speak Truth and Be Clear: The world has seen a lot of fake news and misinformation. Brands should not add to it, rather eradicate it as much as possible. The brand should be clear about what they want to speak, they should be truthful when conveying the message. There is be consistency in what the brand is communicating and it should be done with compassion.
- Be Human to the core: The behaviour towards the employees, customers, and stakeholders should be empathetic. There should be a deeper connection that is built. The brand should show up in all situations in the community. They should be active in the community. New ideas and strategies should be used if required. Brands should be connected to the ground and behave like a human.
- Good Communication starts at home: Communication should start from within. It should start with the leadership team and with the employees. The brand has to connect with them. It has to know their priorities and their concerns and has to stay in touch constantly. He believes that a proper conversation, directly or via zoom, beats a studio produced video.
He ended by saying that it is up to the brand to sit and find the purpose and the priorities. But a brand should not cut purpose, rather should lead with it. Communication has changed manifold in the pandemic and the ways of communication have changed. Amongst the challenges that are faced, there is an opportunity for brands to change. Brands should change for good.
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