The Goods, December Edition 2022

The most wonderful time of the year comes with the gift of knowledge and our predictions from the team at Global Strategy Group. As we close out this year in The Goods, we discuss the importance of communication as a key feature of an ESG framework, how it can better tell your organization’s unique story, and the impact politics has on ESG and public relations. As you head into your holidays and begin planning for the year ahead, we are also taking stock of what we’ve learned this year across the communications field and how that will translate into practice in 2023.

The Goods is a newsletter for social impact communicators that helps you keep track of the latest updates, trends, industry best practices, and much more. This content is compiled and curated monthly by Jade Floyd and the team at Global Strategy Group.

“In 2023, the lines between marketing, digital, and communications will become even less clear and it will be critical to create integration between those once-separated team members and workflows.”

– Tanya Meck, Partner and Managing Director, Communications and Public Affairs

“Even though the Great Resignation seems to have subsided as the economy has shifted, employees will continue to ask for more communication and transparency from their employers, particularly as it relates to hybrid/in-office/remote work, flexibility, and salary adjustments related to managing inflation.”

– Dana Yeganian, Partner, Communications and Public Affairs

“Reputation management plans can no longer just be used in defense. Key audiences will want to hear from companies as a crisis moment occurs. Companies and brands must share how they are showing up for external political or social moments whenever possible. Next year, before you begin communicating your values and responding to hot-button issues, be sure to think through your strategy.” 

– Jade Floyd, Senior Vice President, Communications and Public Affairs

“Companies will have to make a concerted effort to effectively and loudly communicate about their social good efforts or they will loose market share and support. According to GSG research earlier this year, 77% of Americans still feel that US businesses have a responsibility to behave like good citizens and 61% say they have taken some sort of action (positive or negative) in response to an ESG issue.”

– Jefrey Pollock, Founding Partner and President

“In 2023, companies will be challenged to defend their ESG-driven policies and decisions. Many will be doing so in front of Congress, on the front page, and in the swift-moving river of social media. Will these companies stand up for their ESG priorities, or will they shrink in the face of pressure? There will be some in both categories, but the companies that come out ahead will be those who explain their approach in terms of values, employees, and sound business judgment.”

– Jim Papa, Partner, Communications and Public Affairs

“Permacrisis was declared Collins Dictionary word of the year in 2022. My prediction is that crisis, turmoil and shocks will continue to be the order of the day in 2023. Political and economic instability will continue to roil the world’s waters and our clients will look to firms like us to help navigate the choppy seas. The idea of a “crisis engagement” will really just become an “engagement” as we, and our clients, live in a world of deepening risks and chaotic realities – political and economic.”

– Jeffrey Plaut, Founding Partner, Research

Quick Hit: No two people have the same story, and the same is true for businesses. Companies often leverage their brand’s narrative through strategic storytelling. Storytelling creates familiarity with the brand, creates connection and trust, and leads to enrollment and loyalty. (Forbes

Your Takeaway: Your organization has a unique story, and there are several ways to tell it. Share your origin story and background with your audience by sharing the foundation of your origins. Share your dedication and mission, while also highlighting the bold strides you’ve taken to be where you are today.  

Quick Hit: Consumers are likely to take action on a certain prompt if they feel an emotional connection with the brand messaging. Appealing to the emotions often proves to be more effective than simply stating the features or benefits of using a product or service. (Forbes

Your Takeaway: Emotional marketing has several benefits to your brand, like building personal relationships and driving high engagement and retention, which positions your brand for steady growth. You build a sense of community and humanize your brand if people feel something when they interact with your messaging, making your company more memorable. 

Quick Hit: The current political environment has put pressure on the way that conversations around ESG are had and there are even discussions about the legitimacy of the term itself. There is a constant debate on whether there is “too much” or “too little” ESG regulation, and this has affected the public relations industry’s role in helping organizations report their ESG framework. (Provoke Media

Your Takeaway: It is likely that there will continue to be a disconnect between business and politics on the role and scope of ESG frameworks, but many companies will continue their commitment to sustainability and responsible business practices. As a public relations professional, you should not look at ESG as merely a marketing opportunity because the backlash from suspected “greenwashing” has long-lasting effects.  

Quick Hit: Most companies understand that there are benefits associated with transparent and accurate ESG reporting, but some companies struggle to share with different stakeholder audiences. Companies face financial, reputational, and regulatory risks for misrepresenting their ESG performance, whether or not it was intentional. (Triple Pundit

Your Takeaway: Your overall ESG strategy needs to be well-crafted and transparent for the communication to have a meaningful impact. Highlight your accomplishments and shortcomings because being transparent helps build credibility. Tell your authentic ESG story and focus on what will be most important to stakeholders when you share your journey.  

Quick Hit: Communication is a very critical part of the overall ESG framework. Communicators present ESG objectives and performance externally, but also play a crucial part in a framework’s understanding and adoption internally. (PR News

Your Takeaway: Ensure that communication is at the core of your ESG strategy, and use it to show your authenticity while highlighting how your goals align with your company’s mission. Your communications should also outline the actions in place to achieve these goals. Employees and other stakeholders need to understand the importance of ESG, and how it impacts them. 

On behalf of Global Strategy Group, we thank you for reading The Goods throughout the year. With each edition, we hope to give you valuable insights with updates and trends, and we appreciate you tuning in. Happy holidays and cheers to you in the new year! 

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