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Users and uses: what the GRI will discover about digital transformation

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Three years ago, I was lamenting the lack of talk of digital and social at the last Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) conference sustainability reporting.

 

With all the talk of how engagement was supposed to become the key for determining the relevance of issues to different companies, stakeholders and contexts, it was surprising to me that so few made the connection with the way technology is transforming our system of relationships. Sadly, engagement has turned out to be principally carried out inside companies and in low-tech ways – interviews, surveys, focus groups, workshops. Connecting to a wider conversation is rare.

Four Top Mistakes Experts See in Online CSR Communication
Burnout! by Skley, on Flickr

 

And yet, when it seems that the hardest choices have been made, there it comes, the external opinion, the outside perspective. It’s the most unpredictable part of the process due to the variety of people out there with differing habits, expectations and opinions. What’s more, on-screen reading habits mean users will absorb only a small fraction of your actual content.

 

At Lundquist, we’ve been asking experts, professionals and stakeholders what frustrates them most while navigating corporate sustainability information online and engaging with companies. It’s research we’ve been doing over the past years as part of the CSR Online Awards, drawing on input from 1,600 people. We’ve been looking at the initial reactions in our latest survey, currently ongoing. Here are top four errors to avoid, according to the people who spend most time sifting through online CSR disclosures:

Our secret to sustainability communications: just ask…

Lundquist CSR Online AwardsIn much of the developed and urban world, digital is making life faster, more interconnected and more data-dependent. Our interactions have become more informal and yet more mediated thanks to the emergence of new communication platforms with their streams, algorithms and networks of connections.

 

What does this trend mean for sustainability and corporate responsibility (CR), concepts that (should) revolve around relations and interactions? How is it changing the way people engage on social, environmental and governance themes?

 

That’s a question we at Lundquist have been asking since 2007 as part of our CSR Online Awards. The 1,600 responses we’ve received over the years have provided illuminating insights. And it’s time to reach out again to all those involved in sustainability – whether professionally or personally – to take the pulse of how engagement is evolving in a digital age.

 

Have your say: join the survey now.

Official video from Lundquist’s European Seminar on Digital Corporate Communications and Webranking Awards

Lundquist European Seminar on Digital Corporate Communications  Milan 3 December 2015_EUWatch the official version of the video from our latest seminar on digital corporate communications , including excerpts from speakers’ presentations.

 

Re-watching these moments always brings a smile to our face. It reminds us of the preparation and reflections shared with the more than 90 companies registered. We want to thank them again for having joined us, and congratulate the Italian best corporate website winners.

 

We heard from Shel Israel, author of “Lethal Generosity”, and a host of other guests such as Jochen Schweitzer (corporate development, strategy and sustainability at Siemens) and Harri Utoslahti (Communications manager at Kesko),  on a number of important themes across digital corporate communications.

 

We hope you enjoy the video.

Germany Inc.’s dilemma in sustainability communications: connecting users (sorry, stakeholders… sorry, people…)

Lundquist - Econsense“Integration” is a word I resist with vehemence, but one I end up using despite myself. Being “integrated” is seemingly a virtue and yet what is actually being integrated with what is normally a mystery. As a piece of business jargon, it’s a ripe candidate for the FT’s Golden Flannel awards.

 

In digital, everything is by nature connected, making it paramount to specify what you think should be integrated: for us at Lundquist, it’s always the “user” (read: “stakeholders”, or read: “audience”, well actually, just read: people).

 

The importance of getting “integration” right when it comes to corporate communications – and sustainability communications in particular – was made evident in meetings with German companies in late 2015. This included a session with two-dozen representatives of Germany Inc. – from Robert Bosch, Bayer and BASF through to VW – under the auspices of Econsense, the country’s forum for sustainable business, which invited Lundquist to talk for a second time about trends in sustainability communications.

© 2015 Lundquist – Partita IVA 05881100969

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