THREE QUESTIONS WITH
CEO, BCW OSLO
During the COVID-19 crisis, BCW has held a number of insightful seminars on the art of communicating during crises, highlighting the need to truly connect to people. In today’s digital world, how can companies leverage communication to build personal connections with customers, stakeholders, and the general public?
As we emerge from this crisis, the way we communicate will forever be changed. We are seeing businesses shifting into recovery mode, which will require not just rebuilding but, in many cases, a transformation and very likely a digital one as well. At the customer level, people will fundamentally think, feel, and behave differently. We are seeing an uptake in ecommerce, increasing adoption of new technology, and a merger between physical and virtual interactions. We need to study consumer attitudes and behaviors to understand what is temporary and what will last – and how this will impact the way brands interact with them. With stakeholders, companies need to communicate their long-term visions and strategies effectively while forecasting business and societal realities in the short-term. In light of that, overall brand narrative and messaging may require calibration when it comes to engaging with the general public. At BCW, we are working closely with our clients to navigate the NOW and prepare for the NEXT. Rich insights, creativity and strategic communications will be essential to moving people and that is exactly what we do.
Through your work with the Norwegian Environment Agency (Miljødirektoratet), BCW has built up considerable knowledge about the barriers Norway’s municipalities face when working with environmental initiatives. Given the critical importance of corporate sustainability in today’s global business environment, what can companies learn from these insights? How can they better communicate on sustainability?
Sustainability has for some time now been a top priority for boards and leadership teams. Now the analytics, investors, and financial teams are starting to get sustainability into their key assessments. I would say that companies that, within their scope, are not able to deliver on sustainability will have an uncertain future.
In 2018, a team of experts at BCW and I read through the sustainability reports of the 100 largest companies listed on the Norwegian stock exchange. Our findings and recommendations are clear: Be honest, concrete and report on progress – or the lack of progress. Showing how sustainability has become an integrated part of the overall business strategy and clearly linked to core business is much more valuable than just a lot of words and reference to the UN SDGs. The key leadership team within the company should also be fully committed. Again, action speaks so much louder than words. For most companies and organizations, it is of vital importance to attract young talent. For the most part, these talented young individuals want to work for a company that is making a positive change. They are well trained – they can see through nice words to find proof of real action. So in short: Showcase action – and do not oversell.
Describe your dream vacation in the US. Where would you go and why?
I can clearly see myself on a remote ranch somewhere in California or Montana, maybe near the Rocky Mountains, living a calm cowboy-esque life riding in the forest, relaxing by the campfire, and fishing, while learning more about the US, its history, and its traditions.
I also really, really want to experience a space launch, hopefully witness the first liftoff with a manned journey to Mars. It will clearly be US know-how that can pull off such a great undertaking and it will define a new chapter in our history.
BCW’s COVID-19 webinars continue tommorow with the Teams live event BCW Nexus: A Modern Approach to Public Affairs – Through & Beyond COVID-19 at 15:00 CEST.