How can communications boost sustainability programmes?

by Sophie Lambin and Larry Yu In June, the United States announced it would withdraw from the Paris climate agreement. In response, US businesses from ExxonMobil to Microsoft reiterated their support for the accord. When government retreats from global challenges, can business save the world? Corporate leaders are taking that responsibility seriously. For the past few years, chief executives and other top corporate leaders globally have identified sustainability as a top global challenge or even a perennial strategic challenge, in the Conference Board’s CEO Challenge Survey. But even as companies execute their sustainability efforts, they aren’t communicating them effectively. A …
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What is thought leadership?

As a thought leadership consulting firm, the one question that always comes up, with varying degrees of irony, is: “What is ‘thought leadership?’” So glad you asked. Thought leadership has come a long way since it was principally the domain of consulting firms eager to deepen their relationships with clients. The practice has matured and we’ve advanced our understanding of what thought leadership means. Here’s how we define it: Thought leadership is the practice of generating novel, evidence-based ideas on issues that are intertwined with an organization’s brand. It reflects an awareness of how those issues affect the broader environment …
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The Silver Lining to 2016

This year was a pretty tough one. There were the surprising election results in the US and UK, which left me disappointed, to say the least. And memorials were weightier and more numerous in 2016; here’s an analysis from way back in May. For me, many of those lost were heroes (not mere celebrities), including Muhammed Ali, David Bowie, John Glenn, Gordie Howe and Harper Lee. In April, my mentor in thought leadership, Joel Kurtzman, passed away. It was a savage year for me. Luckily, Content Director Deepali Srivastava pulled me out of the doldrums with her most recent Forbes …
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Re-examining the story of climate change

Conventional wisdom places the Industrial Revolution at the heart of the climate change crisis. It was a period when Western nations harnessed fossil fuels to power factories, middle-class consumers discovered consumerism – and, of course, carbon dioxide emissions began to rise. Or so the story goes. Our Contect Director, Deepali Srivastava pokes holes in that narrative in her most recent Forbes column. She sat in on a spirited conversation between Amitav Ghosh, author of The Great Derangement: Climate Change and the Unthinkable, and historian Naomi Oreskes, and came away convinced that imperialism had as much to do with climate change …
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The Olympics turn to Asia

The Olympics are a sore subject for some of us. Notably, our Boston contingent was quite mixed, to say the least, in its support for Boston’s 2024 Summer Olympics bid. Asia, on the other hand, has not been afraid to show its Olympics spirit. Korea, Japan and China are hosting the next three five-ring circuses. And why not: Those three nations rank 11th, 7th and 2nd, respectively, in the Rio games medal count. And don’t forget South-East Asia, which FiveThirtyEight picks has the dark horse to have most outperformed expectations this summer. Still, the reality is that the economics of …
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This is not thought leadership

Recently, I overheard some communications professionals remark that they needed some thought leadership to put on their client’s blog. They then began to brainstorm article ideas to drive SEO. (That’s ‘search engine optimisation’, if you’re wondering.) This process struck me as backwards. What they were really looking for was content marketing, not thought leadership. It’s a distinction with a big difference. Content marketing is important. It represents one public face (usually online) of a company’s smarts. As such, it’s an end game that can help shape brands and find new customers. Thought leadership is a means to that end. It …
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Thought leadership is good business

We’re often asked, ‘Why are we doing this?’ by clients wondering if thought leadership or global events should be on their strategic agenda. That’s an easy one: because thought leadership sustains relationships of commercial importance. Don’t take our word for it. Source for Consulting recently conducted a poll of over 400 consulting clients in Europe and the Middle East to gauge the effectiveness of consultants’ marketing tools. What topped the list? You guessed it: thought leadership and events. Of course, thought leadership has long been a tool of the trade in the consulting market. For decades, consultants have built careers …
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