One of the first EACD events of the year focused on how to survive the upcoming year and how to take practical steps to communicate effectively. Led by Nick Andrews (@nickandrews21), senior partner and Steph Bailey (@stephhallatt), head of corporate communications from FleishmanHillard Fishburn the attendees were asked ahead of time to vote on three out of seven topics to discuss on the day.

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The workshop was an opportunity not only to hear thoughts from Nick and Steph but to share with each other the challenges all the attendees face and have an open and free discussion about how to approach these. To encourage frank sharing we opted to use Chatham House rules so everyone felt comfortable. For that reason our roundup can’t delve into too much of what was shared but we’ll share our own insights.

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The topics chosen on the day covered:

  • Building an authentic company

Nick kicked off the session discussing why authenticity is so vital in today’s culture particularly given the political upheaval of recent global events. He introduced the nine drivers of authenticity, a model they use at FleishmanHillard to determine how a company’s reputation can be judged against. The group then discussed the challenges of authenticity in today’s post truth world. How can companies be trusted and believed when trust is at such a low. A big challenge for the group was how to prioritise communications given increasingly smaller budgets, and how to motivate employees to communicate about the company.

  • Communicating in the moment and creating content in real time

Steph then brought the discussion to the speed of communication and how visualised story telling has exploded in recent years, sharing facts such as 1.3 billion people globally watch an average of 162 videos a month! Content has evolved significantly with many agreeing that the call for bland broadcast materials is dying out. That said, there is still a significant education piece that needs to be done for senior executives who continue to call for content that is neither stimulating or engaging. Steph brought the discussion around to ask how our attendees companies were adapting to this visual demand and how the practical process of creating content can be done.

  • Communicating with purpose

Once again, the discussion moved to how to differentiate between vision, mission and purpose and how companies could use these differences to inspire and motivate their employees. Against the broader backdrop of global discussions around the Sustainable Development Goals, the group discussed how companies could develop purpose that meant something and was not seen as just an empty promise. Nick introduced the new “Business In The Community” categorisation as a tool to guide internal discussions and ensure the business was at the right place to reflect its internal and external commitments.

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It was a great session, we were grateful for all the attendees’ willingness to share and discuss the topics and given the exciting times in which we work, we have no doubt that the debate will continue to evolve.

For more information of FleishmanHillard’s Authenticity Gap click here.