PR agencies can help lead this consultancy– if they do it right
Over the past year we have been supporting some clients with their ESG reporting and content – and no this is not a new PR buzzword, it’s the new standard for performance and risk reporting for companies – where they examine their Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance impacts. I know it doesn’t sound sexy – but it’s needed – and it’s an area far too many PR people shy away from, or don’t really know about.
Yes, PR agencies have all been busy helping their clients navigate the global pandemic – where the need for content that is clear, simple and helpful is a priority. However, what we have seen emerging from this pandemic (and even before, if we are honest) is a stronger wave towards companies now being held account for their actions – and rightly so. Organisation’s can no longer say that they care about people, the planet or that they will not stand for any bribery or corruption – now they must prove it, report on it and ensure their board and investors accept the actions they take – each month. And from the perspective of PR – where we are contracted to help clients speak with integrity – this critical, and in fact, very sexy – when done right.
And let’s be clear – companies can’t be insincere with these goals and benchmarks either – they must show how they are acting on them – doing better, trying harder and demonstrating far more transparency. For many, this is going to be the cornerstone of how they re-build their company as they move out of the pandemic and manage their risk and performance going forward. As PR consultants our job is not to merely support in content development or the media profile, but rather help shape and inform behaviour, drive and understand change for our clients and make sure that the public they serve are correctly supported. This is consultancy at its highest form – it means in-depth understanding, monitoring and being considerate of the company culture, its communications outreach and market risk.
With the advent of ESG – every company is going to have to examine this if they want to remain competitive – then our role as communications consultants is to understand this and make sure we deliver on our promise to build their brand credibility correctly, in how we manage and disseminate their content, media news and social outreach programmes.
In fact, to be a PR consultant worth any salt today integrity must lead your communication conversations, as we cannot become the advocate we need to be for clients, without this outlook – and this will also mean far more analysis of our information and decision making – something sorely needed in PR consultants.
In a world full of false information and skepticism, transparent authenticity in ESG is one of just a few formidable business leading strategies. And PR consultants have a key role to play in this strategy. I always say to my clients “If I’m just telling you what you want to hear, I’m doing a terrible job!”