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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.

Why General Counsel could be critical to integrating your sustainability communications

Sustainability communicationsWhile working on sustainability communications project for a global pharmaceuticals company, I used to laugh how each time we proposed an innovative idea, they client would sigh and say: “I wonder what Barry would say about that”.

 

“Barry” was the person in the legal department whose job it was to vet content. He was seen as a barrier, stifling creativity in the name of compliance.

 

In our experience, this is a common problem and it extends to all the issues that are usually owned by the legal affairs function: corporate governance, (s)election of board members, compliance, remuneration, business conduct. Communication of these topics, especially online, usually is limited to presenting the required documentation using dry, impersonal technical language. Most companies come across as a carbon copy of all the others.

 

A new awareness in legal affairs

 

And yet, general counsels at some companies are starting to challenge this approach, understanding that rules, codes and procedures can only do so much on their own. How you present them has a big impact on behaviours and perceptions, both inside and outside the company. They realise that communications can influence their success in engaging management and employees, suppliers, regulators and business partners, making it an important part of a new skillset.

Swiss companies improving, but none make the European top 10 – Bilanz exclusively covers the 2015-2016 Webranking Switzerland rankings

Bilanz

Swiss business publication Bilanz reports exclusively that while more and more Swiss companies are improving their performance in the Webranking Switzerland 2015 research, no Swiss companies find themselves in the European top 10. Now in its 12th edition, the Swiss ranking is conducted by Lundquist in collaboration with Comprend.

 

Webranking works as a stress test, in that it measures the fundamentals of online corporate and financial communications and dialogue of the largest listed companies, based on stakeholder demands. The research’s objective is to promote a digital culture within companies and help them understand how to meet the growing expectations of stakeholders.

 

Bilanz’s article (in  German) reports that when it comes to their digital corporate communications, Swiss companies are improving.  This year, 36% of Swiss companies pass the test, meaning they achieved 50 points or more (half of the max score), up from 22% in 2014, and 16% in 2013.

Made in Italy companies disappoint – CorrierEconomia exclusively covers the 2015-2016 Webranking Italy Non-Listed rankings

CorrierEconomia Siti WebItalian weekly CorrierEconomia  reports exclusively that when it comes to digital corporate communication, only a few of  Italy’s non-listed companies pass the communications stress test and the “Made in Italy” brands continue to disappoint. Now in its second year running, the Italian ranking on non-listed companies is conducted by Lundquist in collaboration with Comprend, and follows the publication of the Italian listed companies last week.

 

Webranking works as a stress test, in that it measures the fundamentals of online corporate and financial communications and dialogue of the largest listed companies, based on stakeholder demands. The research’s objective is to promote a digital culture within companies and help them understand how to meet the growing expectations of stakeholders.

 

 

CorrierEconomia’s article (in Italian) reports that only two companies (SACE and Granarolo) pass the test, achieving over 50% of the total score (meaning they achieved more than 40 points out of a total of 80), considered the threshold for a site that meets the demands of stakeholders in terms of transparency and dialogue. It also discusses why it is important to invest in digital corporate communications from a reputational standpoint, so as not to come unprepared to future challenges that will have a major impact on the business, such as future investment opportunities, internationalization of the business and so forth.

CorrierEconomia exclusively covers the 2015-2016 Webranking Italy rankings

CorrierEconomiaItalian weekly CorrierEconomia reports exclusively today that the performance of companies in the Webranking Italy 2015 research has increased, however still two thirds do not demonstrate the ability to govern their reputation in digital channels. Now in its 14th edition, the Italian ranking is conducted by Lundquist in collaboration with Comprend.

 

Webranking works as a stress test, in that it measures the fundamentals of online corporate and financial communications and dialogue of the largest listed companies, based on stakeholder demands. The research’s objective is to promote a digital culture within companies and help them understand how to meet the growing expectations of stakeholders.

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