Adam Honeysett-Watts is Principal Director at Conservatives in Communications, Co-Chair of the PRCA Corporate Group and Founder & Director at do Different.
This time yesterday, I was co-hosting an event, on behalf of the PRCA Corporate Group, which posed the question: When should business #TakeAStance? And in the spirit of doing things differently, we wanted to keep it brief yet engaging. The 45-minute session began with a video snapshot of 2020’s political, economic and social events and how organisations responded to them, before moving onto a lively discussion and Q&A.
With thanks to Westminster Digital for the production and to all participants, including Natasha Jones, Head of Communications and Policy at Funding Circle; Paul Holmes, Founder & Chair of PRovoke; and Rebecca Donnelly, my fellow co-chair and UEA graduate.
I’m particularly interested in this topic because I’m of the opinion that, while some functions in communications rise and fall in terms of where they are in the pecking order, corporate reputation management consistently remains among, if not at, the top of the league when it comes to what businesses should prioritise in terms of PR.
Yes, digital and internal communications played a critical role throughout the year – and will continue to do so into 2021 – however, it is reputation – the overall perception of an organisation that is held by its external and internal stakeholders (based on its past and current actions as well as its future behaviour) – where the bulk of investment should be targeted.
For those of you interested in my perspective here’s a quick snapshot. Like many other Conservatives in Communications, I closely follow current affairs and keep our supporters and my clients informed about what’s on and coming up on the horizon. While they are proactive in terms of taking a stance and communicating it internally, they are more reserved or opposed to communicating it externally. Why so?
To strike a balance, what I suggest is asking yourself four business-level questions:
1. What’s the purpose of my business?
2. Will taking a stand negatively or positively impact our purpose?
3. Will taking a stand hinder our future ability to attract and/ or retain customers and employees?
4. Does this issue rise to the level of a core issue vs a preference?
Should your business take a stance or not? That’s up to you! Sometimes the answer will be yes. More often it will be no. But, before you rush into supporting a position go through the process I have just outlined.
This piece was written for do Different.