“What you stand for is more important than ever,” RBB Communications CEO Christine Barney tells Doug Simon in the latest “PR’s Top Pros Talk” video interview, and making sure a company’s views and opinions are effectively communicated to all stakeholders is one of the biggest challenges that PR pros currently face.
Companies need to get their message out to both internal and external audiences, Barney says. Employees, she tells Simon, are increasingly looking to their employers as “the number-one source of information.” They want to know how companies plan to address such hot-button topics as climate change and racial inequities.
External audiences, such as vendors and customers, Barney says, “want to know what are the issues that are important to you so that they can decide if they want to continue to do business with you, expand their business with you, or in some cases, as we've seen with the cancel culture, make you a poster child for someone who's not doing it right or someone who is an exceptional leader in that space.”
Authenticity is key for B2B as well as B2C communications. “I think many B2B companies were sort of taking a backseat for many years,” she says, “because it's much easier for a B2C brand to be in the spotlight.” But that’s not an option in today’s marketplace. “Even companies who didn't necessarily want a large consumer profile are starting to see that there's value in deciding what they stand for.”
Thanks to the growing interest in social issues, Barney says that the ESG space “will only continue to grow in terms of being an umbrella for what companies need to do to make sure that their value proposition is presented.”
The future of the workplace—virtual or not—is also addressed in the discussion. “We've always had a work from anywhere policy. And I think that the pandemic has shown that we can work from anywhere.”
Increased flexibility can actually lead to things getting done faster, Barney says. “I think the decision-making process for everyone is speeded up. That's good and bad. But I just think that it means that we can all look forward to thinking about how do we pivot, how do we take advantage of opportunities. And there's a lot less complacency in the business world, and that's a good thing.”
Interested in taking part? Contact Doug Simon at firstname.lastname@example.org