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This Valentine’s Day it’s time to show, not shout, your company’s love.

9 February 2023

Most of us would never dream of walking into a room full of strangers, loudly proclaiming that we are generous and caring before walking out without further explanation. Yet companies are doing the digital equivalent of this, all the time.

Companies like creating content they can share on owned and paid media that tell us they are great corporate citizens, or partners to the community, or an employer of choice, or whatever! Having total control over your messages and where they are promoted removes all risk, right?


If you fail to read the room, are making claims that aren’t backed up with evidence, or what you’re doing merely meets (or doesn’t) reflect stakeholder expectations, then you are opening your company up to trouble.

Unless you can explain exactly what you are doing that’s special, why you’re doing it and the impact you’re making, all you are doing is talking your own book.

At best, these communications will be ignored or viewed with cynicism. At worst, they can open your organisation up to significant reputation risk – especially if you are perceived or found to be a fraud.

The number one rule before producing issues-based corporate content is that you first need to do the work.

‘The work’ is not an internal brainstorming session to agree on the language your executive team is happy to use followed by giving your staff a day to volunteer their time at a not for profit and be photographed in the process.

‘The work’ is having skin in the game and contributing something of value by:

  • understanding the causes of the issue you want to support
  • understanding the perspectives of people who are experiencing this issue
  • asking the experts about the most meaningful ways that you can help
  • measuring and communicating about outcomes and impacts, not input and efforts.

Of course, there are many companies doing amazing work. If you don’t know who they are it might be they are relying on others to talk about it. Third party endorsement is better than self-promotion after all.

Anne Wickham

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