How to Avoid the Reputational Danger of Overselling in Corporate Purpose Communications.

Council Meeting Agenda | Wednesday, September 15, 2021

How to Avoid the Reputational Danger of Overselling in Corporate Purpose Communications.

As pressures mounts for organizations – large and small – to embrace corporate purpose and the Environmental, Social & Governance (ESG) good conduct it espouses, the degree of transparency required to prove and promote performance is the subject of much debate and concern. The good news is that firms are keen to engage, boast their achievements and amplify positive impact. It has become widely accepted that, by touting ESG goals and achievements, organizations can differentiate themselves from competitors, increase customer loyalty, and enhance brand recognition.

The downside is that companies can get ahead of themselves, crafting narratives and conveying them to the public and key stakeholders before they are operationally equipped to deliver tangible results. The moment an organization is “caught out” – i.e. declaring sustainability achievements only to fall short upon closer scrutiny by investors, customers or the media – the marketplace can prove unforgiving.

In this two-part session, we will delve into the state of corporate purpose communications in Asia, and review some of the key learnings to date about what works and what doesn’t, and discuss how key risks can be mitigated.

Part one of the session will review the final draft report of the Asia Corporate Purpose Monitor. Produced in partnership with Quilt.AI, and using leading edge, big data construction and analytic tools, the ACPM tracks corporate purpose-related discourse in the digital environment across 11 markets in Asia: the topics that companies are communicating about, how consumers are responding to corporate comms, and what topics consumers are querying and discoursing publicly. It is designed to inform strategists and business planners regarding priority issues for corporate purpose stakeholders in the region – i.e. consumers, communities, and the public. Together, we’ll review key findings and debate and discuss implications with an emphasis on regarding insights on corporate communications issues, opportunities, and risks.

In the second half of the session, we will convene a panel of leading corporate communication professionals who are expert in the area of reputational risk. With the advent of social media, and in the limelight of intensified ESG scrutiny, our goal is to help inform and prepare members in the development and amplification of their own Corporate Purpose agendas. We will ask:

How might organizations leverage the power of corporate communications in the wake of increasing ESG attention?

What is at stake, reputationally, financially, and organizationally if an organization’s communications strategy does not align with actual actions and behaviors?

How can companies best leverage leading-edge research to help direct and influence the new corporate narrative?

Across Asia Pacific, what does corporate best-practice use of social media look like and how can it be used positively and proactively, rather than defensively?

Agenda details are as follows:

8:30-8:40am:            Welcome the Members and Kick Off the Session

8:40-9:10am:             Presentation of ACPM key findings

9:10-9.40am:             Discussion and Q&A based on these findings

09:40-10:10am:         Corporate Communications in the time of ESG panel discussion

10:10-10:30am:          Final Reflections and Q&A with panelists

10:30am:                    Close

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