There is a corporate revolution going on! Complexity and chaos theories abound, and things have to change. Businesses need to take note of this and listen to the thought leaders’ appeals to start adapting before it’s too late.
As with all change in thinking and behaviour, there comes a change in the language we use to reflect our new beliefs and actions. Here are some of the current buzzwords in business, branding and corporate communication:
Organizational change involves “deconstructing the silos” or structures of business past and means making the necessary strategic shifts to meet the demands of the changing times. One of the most fundamental changes is in the balance of power between consumer and producer.
Power to the people, not corporates – people know more, they have more freedom, more access and more voice. They expect more and want to be treated accordingly. It is people who build brands and reputations, not companies themselves.
Customer is now audience, so-called because people are watching, listening and responding now, not just buying. If this relationship is audience-centred and managed well, the audience becomes your ‘community’ and advocates on behalf of your brand and builds your business with you.
Sustainability and Social responsibility – these concepts focus on conscious decisions and long term commitments to social, environmental and economic issues that affect ALL people, not just short-term CSI campaigns that gain company kudos.
Truth, Vision Transparency, Collaboration? Unfamiliar terms in business? But soft skills are now core skills. Developing these soft skills within a stakeholder engagement strategy means working on BOTH an emotional and a rational level. After all, we are dealing with people who really want to know who we are and what we stand for. And as with all relationships, we need to unpack our true purpose and seek collaboration partners to share it with. So now there’s more use of ‘us’ than ‘them’.
Spin is replaced with real content – spin attracts and lures people into believing what you say, based on the company’s needs or agenda. Relevant content and story-telling engage people and build relationships based on audience needs. It’s an ‘outside-in’ approach that values content marketing, instead of just product marketing, and connecting, not just selling, using conversations about the business and its products and services to build meaningful, long term relationships with the audience.
Ethical branding not just advertising. Every brand has its unique story about what it stands for, not only about its products. And even the products are ethical now. The question of image versus façade highlights exhibiting an identity based on purpose not profit, and mindful actions, not pretty packaging. People trust businesses that believe in what they do and value integrity rather than those with nice appearances and words.
The authenticity revolution? Carla Enslin calls it an evolution – wherein organisations become…. “responsible for creating legacies based on sound social and economic values and authentic practice”.