World’s Leading Companies Failing Authenticity Test
September 12, 2017
Nearly 300 companies all show a clear Authenticity Gap as consumers demand great corporate citizenship and a new definition of value There is a long list of worries and choices that keep senior executives awake at night. Most of them involve balancing business risks with the relentless pursuit of growth and high performance. Leaders who...
The Choice of a Nation
June 5, 2017
I’m going to let you in on a secret - today is World Environment Day. Go ahead, look it up if you don’t believe me. The globe over, June 5 is a reminder to take a deep breath, enjoy nature and pledge to protect it. And yes, I realize the irony in celebrating this given...
Outspoken CEOs and Tweeting in the Time of Trump
May 19, 2017
The first 100 days of the new U.S. political administration has continued to be a significant period of change for CEOs as they learn how to adapt to the new environment and how to reassure both consumers and employees that they will successfully navigate this ever-changing environment. While it’s no surprise to see the Trump...
Companies Need to Plan for Handling a Cybersecurity Breach
April 6, 2017
Our shift to a digital society has seen the emergence of a new kind of crime: stealing data and attacking company networks, whether for financial gain, to send a political message, or sometimes simply to prove a point. Not surprisingly, this harsh reality of our digital economy has made cybersecurity a significant priority for organizations,...
Communicating a Data Breach: Choose Your Words Carefully
March 22, 2017
Cyber connectivity has enabled companies to understand and interact with consumers in a far more sophisticated way than ever before. At the same time, hackers are increasingly upping the ante with schemes and full-blown attacks that are becoming impossible to ignore. And by all accounts, this ride is only picking up speed. Tune in to...
The Asian Century: An opportunity for innovation over isolationism
February 27, 2017
In the words of Bob Dylan: The Times They Are A-Changin’. Last year delivered two historic changes in the West: Brexit and the election of President Trump. The implications for international tax, trade and immigration are great. But from the Asian perspective, it is doubtful that these changes are for the greater good. This new era...
What Is the Responsibility of an Organization for the Facts It Puts Into the Public Domain?
February 24, 2017
For the past 40 years, I would have expected to answer this question in this one sentence: “All audiences have a reasonable expectation that an organization is responsible for the facts it puts into the public domain.” For clarity, I might have added: “Expect facts to be questioned, and those that cannot be proven may...
How Does Your CEO Compare?
December 21, 2016
How do CEOs communicate compared to their peers? Our own Betsy Borrelli describes our just released Q3 report. As CEOs increase their public profile, how do they communicate compared to their peers and CEOs in other sectors? What are they – or what could they be – talking about beyond earnings to positively impact stakeholder relationships...
Preparing Your CEO for the Role of Senior Statesman
December 6, 2016
There is a need for a stronger voice of leadership in the C-Suite, but many executives struggle to articulate how and why their business matters to society. As communicators, we must be better prepared to help guide these executives to tell the story beyond managing the company and articulate its relevance to society and the...
Is NGO Scrutiny Reducing Supply Chain Transparency?
November 18, 2016
NGOs play a vital role in regulating and holding brands and retailers to account, especially when it comes to the transparency of their supply chains – but are their radars locked onto the wrong targets? In developing markets where legislation struggles to keep apace of new developments, NGOs play a crucial role in holding companies...
The Age of the Media Artisan
October 3, 2016
I cringe when I see the word artisan. It’s over-used and applied liberally when there is no evidence of real craft. I saw a large property company recently claiming their development was artisanal and the mind boggled. However, it is a word we could think about applying to aspects of the PR profession: the ability...
Is Your Reputation 2017 Ready?
September 22, 2016
Reputation. Every company has one, like it or not, and almost everyone would agree that reputation is a business asset. Many business leaders, however, particularly within SMEs, are leaving the management of their reputation to accident. At best, this is a wasted opportunity to differentiate the company from the competition and build commercially useful profile;...
How Important is Integrity, Really?
May 23, 2016
There is a saying that integrity is about doing the right thing, even if no one is watching. For companies, the motivation to do right can be viewed from two perspectives. On a base level, it dramatically reduces the risk of a public-relations disaster and long-term financial and reputational impact on account of having done...
Crafting a Compelling Story: Top Ten Tips
May 4, 2016
Charles Muggeridge, who helps lead the healthcare team for FleishmanHillard's Toronto office, recently summarized a talk the agency delivered at a start-up hub in downtown Toronto. The session was focused on top ten tips for crafting a compelling story. They also used the opportunity to insert Authenticity Gap data into the presentation by drawing a...
Three Qualities PR Professionals Can’t Afford to Lose – and Two They Need to Gain
February 18, 2016
My husband was a great fan of David Bowie and really grieved for him when he died. When he heard the news he changed his Facebook profile picture to his favourite Bowie image and played his music every night for at least a week. I also liked Bowie’s music but not to the same extent....
A Truth Well Told: PR Professionals Should Keep the Art of Writing Alive
November 18, 2015
Content marketing specialists seem to be the new “job du jour.” Every creative and communication firm wants one and those that have them claim that their person can create gold from straw. For PR professionals, now is the time to reclaim what used to be our bread and butter – our ability to create engaging...
Cybercrime – from the IT Department to the Boardroom
September 9, 2015
Where we shop and what we purchase, to how we travel to work, we constantly give up personal information for the sake of convenience – the Internet of Things (IOT) has effectively made mines out of our mobile phones for marketers to profit from. But while we now get personalized messages and offers, we easily...
Cannes - The short and long of it. From Lions to Elephants.
August 26, 2015
The dust is settling following the 2015 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. The winners of the coveted gold Lions were decided following a marathon judging effort. The results were then dissected amidst a whirlwind of backchat and canapés. Among the winners of the coveted PR Lions were some great, great campaigns. Ones that provoked...
Who Says What You Say?
August 4, 2015
Marshall McLuhan’s mantra, “The medium is the message” is never so on display as in the selection of a spokesperson in times of crisis. Nor is the Authenticity Gap – the delta between an organization’s behavior and the public’s expectation. It's not enough to "tell the truth" when subjected to a critical spotlight. The selection...
Authentic Sponsorship - A Win for Athletes, Fans and Internal Teams
June 19, 2015
Two exciting events in women's sport kicked off this week – the FIFA Women's World Cup and, perhaps lesser known, the KPMG Women's PGA Championship. And while FIFA continues to inspire debate around ethics and equality in sport, KPMG's backing of women's golf is a shining example of the strategic role sponsorship can play in...
If the Shoe Fits and Looks Great, Do Ethics Really Matter?
May 6, 2015
I recently purchased a suit from the Canadian apparel company Judith & Charles. I was drawn by the cut and fabric, and sold on fit and price – at 30 per cent off, it was a steal. Days later, when removing the tags, I learned that my new skirt and jacket had been "tailored with...
From Know Thyself to Be Thyself
May 6, 2015
Every CEO should have a go at answering the Proust Questionnaire. You know the one. It forms the basis of Vanity Fair's inside back page and has questions like: What is your greatest fear? Which words or phrases do you most overuse? Which talent would you most like to have? What is your motto? What is your...
The Power of the POV
April 24, 2015
I was talking to a friend last week who was vexed. Why, he wondered, was his colleague, a man with over 40 years of experience in his sector, so reluctant to express a point of view? He clearly had one. If you sat him down of an evening, with a cognac and a good cigar,...
The Fundamental Flaw of Traditional Employee Communications
March 1, 2015
Almost every change initiative fails. A depressing statement, yes. However, there’s hope. How you integrate formal and informal communications can help you be one of the few who succeeds. In 1996, John Kotter published Leading Change, considered by many to be the seminal work on change management. Yet despite vast forests of books and articles...
Fake It Till You Make It?!?
March 1, 2015
How many leaders have been successful with that strategy? Yet that’s the premise put forward in the most recent Harvard Business Review cover story. The article, “The Problem with Authenticity,” proposes that being true to oneself is limiting to one’s career success. The problem with the author’s premise is in her very definition of authenticity....
Four Trends for Better Business in the Years Ahead
February 24, 2015
As companies continue to become stronger, more engaged brands that maximize the positive value both for their businesses and society, here are four emerging trends that will impact our current and future clients. The Fundamental Business Model is Becoming More Socially Conscious than it is Today Research from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Net...
Day 15 of Pros and Conversation Series: Crisis Planning – A Letter to CEOs
November 21, 2014
As we conclude our 15 Days of Pros and Conversation series today, we end on what is arguably the most important of all 2015 planning topics – crisis preparedness and the growing need for leaders to anticipate issues and to have a well thought-out strategic and tactical response plan. Especially in today’s environment, where news...
Day 13 of Pros and Conversation Series: Executive Communications: Visibility Creates Credibility to Set Expectations
November 19, 2014
Looking at today’s big public stages for social and economic topics, it’s natural to ask, “Where have all the business leaders gone?” For many companies, these visibility opportunities may seem to present more risk than reward. That’s faulty logic, since executive visibility is both an advantage and requirement for success, especially today. Reputation and brand are both...
Day 11 of Pros and Conversation Series: Rocking A Social Enterprise - The Building Blocks to Electrifying Social Media
November 17, 2014
I used to be in a band. I was so serious about it that I spent my first couple years out of college trying to make it as a rock star and discovered that being in a touring band is a lot of work. Social media at the enterprise level requires so many people with...
Day 9 of Pros and Conversation Series: Principles, Passion and Purpose – the Key to Authenticity for Leaders
November 13, 2014
Alibaba’s Jack Ma is often held up as an example of a potential role model for the new generation of global leaders, not just in China, but also throughout the world. He has inspired such confidence not only because of his entrepreneurial brilliance, but also because of his strong sense of values and seemingly effortless...