Closing the Gap? It’s Not Just About Communications

April 26, 2013


When I was a kid I was constantly being told to “behave.” Being “on your best behaviour” was constantly expected and was a standard of which I regularly fell short (still do). As the eyes of a world increasingly concerned with transparency focus on the corporate world, much the same is expected. Social media has ensured that behaviours can be noted, critiqued and shared in a blink of an eye. There is increasingly no place to hide.

Communications sets expectations, but behaviour determines whether these are met or not. As Dave Senay says in this video, it is almost impossible to communicate your way out of trouble caused by wayward behaviour. This can be frustrating for senior management wanting to ‘fix’ things with an ad or a bit of media, but it is the truth.

Closing the “authenticity gap,” ensuring that brand and reputation align and that expectations and experience match, is not therefore purely a communications process. At base, this involves a total business approach. Product development and service delivery, customer relationship management and supply chain efficiency, all play their part in meeting expectations. Equally, management commitment to a range of different factors all contribute to reputation. Of the nine drivers of reputation, only one is explicitly about the communications. All the others relate to core business processes and decisions.

Once an authenticity gap is identified and the causes established, all relevant parts of the business need to engage. The nine drivers provide an invaluable framework of focus. Each can be taken separately or together, allowing teams to determine expectations and the ability of the organisation to meet these. Authenticity cannot just be side lined as a communications issue. It’s too important for that.