Earlier this year, we talked about the 2022 Edelman Trust Barometer and the implications of business being the most trusted institution this year. What we’ve seen over the last few months has only reinstated this fact and made it clear that businesses have more power than ever before in influencing consumers on a different level than just selling to them.
Edelman’s survey found that of all institutions, business leads the charge with 61% trust, while government and media come in closer to 50%. Seventy-seven percent of survey respondents cited that they trust their own employer, further qualifying businesses as the leader in trust and indicating the importance of the relationship between employer and employee.
In a blog post from earlier this year, I talked about how businesses have an opportunity to be a societal unifier in the midst of division, how businesses need to respond to the call for more societal involvement and the importance of corporate social responsibility. Now I’m taking it one step further as I examine the demand for businesses to level up their corporate communications to meet growing consumer expectations, and how your business can meet them.
What do consumers value?
Over the past few years, we’ve seen a switch to brand activism, where brands are taking a vested interest in the world around them by funding causes that coincide with their mission statements, encouraging their employees to volunteer and making donations to nonprofits. These things were once seen as unique, but they’re now becoming the norm. Consumers, especially millennial consumers, are much less willing to support brands that don’t align with causes that they agree with. And the expectation is shifting so that consumers want brands to show them exactly how they’re making an impact.
This “show don’t tell” mentality is forcing companies to focus on their corporate transparency, requiring a top-down approach to corporate communications. So, what are the steps to increasing transparency and connecting better with the audience you’re trying to reach on the topics they care about?
Nail down your focus
To successfully figure out a corporate communications plan that resonates with your consumers, you need to understand what makes sense for your company based on your company’s values and mission statement along with what your customers value. Is there something you can talk about that aligns with both your company and your customers?
Your company might’ve already decided your corporate communications plan, but if you haven’t yet, there are a few things to remember. This shouldn’t just be filler content or an initiative for show. Yes, leveraging the trust of your customers to grow loyalty is a huge draw to a program like this, but making sure you’re actually making an impact and have the resources to put toward a corporate communications effort is crucial. That’s why picking something that already aligns with your brand is fundamental to success.
Find discrepancies early
It’s great to decide on sustainability as your focus and something you advocate for as a company, but if you aren’t making active efforts to reduce your business’s carbon footprint and overall environmental impact, then your efforts are falling flat and your customers will notice. Make sure that you’re being authentic and practicing what you preach.
A great way to understand how you can be better as a business is by surveying your employees. They’ll have ideas on how you can be more genuine in your CSR approach, which is extremely important since your employees should be your biggest advocates. You can also go to your customers for feedback. What do they appreciate about your brand? What are they talking about in relation to your brand and how can you improve on their feedback? They’ll be your biggest critics but they also can really help you grow.
Take control of the conversation
Put messaging out around the topic you’re covering that puts you in charge, like a blog post, social media content or sponsored content, such as a Premium Business MAT Release. The Premium Business MAT Release is our latest offering and guarantees media placements, traffic and engagement on your distributed article. We work with our network of publishing partners and also distribute your content to the homepage of select websites’ business section fronts alongside business news content, making it the perfect solution to gain traction around your corporate communications efforts.
By controlling the conversation, you’re ensuring that your story can’t get altered and that you’re staying ahead of the topic. Eventually, this will lead to positioning yourself as a thought leader on the topic. Stay consistent and keep your messaging the same throughout all levels of the business, so that this isn’t a performative effort but something that your company truly believes in, from your entry-level employees all the way to the top.
Controlling the conversation requires publicity, however, so it’s important to get some positive press around your company’s efforts. This can come from pitching media or from something like our Premium Business MAT Release, which will get you guaranteed coverage for your story on reputable business news sites. Ensuring that your message is getting to your audience is crucial to building and controlling the conversation.
Building the role of a thought leader
Thought leadership is so important in giving your brand credibility, which again comes from getting that positive PR. But once your company is in the spotlight, make sure that you continue to update your followers about advances that you’re making. For instance, have a landing page dedicated to your corporate social responsibility efforts that you update regularly. You could also promote your updates on social media, in blog posts and in email blasts. Making sure your audience sees your continued dedication is super important to holding on to your position as thought leader.
You can also encourage your employees to advocate for your brand on social media. If they believe in the work you’re doing, it will go miles for your brand reputation.
Building trust doesn’t always come easy and might require some additional tools, like the Premium Business MAT Release, to get you the attention your efforts deserve. This importance that consumers are placing on businesses to take a more active role in the betterment of society isn’t going anywhere, so it’s important to get involved as soon as you can to meet consumers’ growing expectations.
If you’re looking for guaranteed placements on business sites to get your corporate communications messaging out there, reach out to us. We’re happy to talk about solutions to your corporate communications challenges.