It might sound heretical for a leader of a communications firm to suggest it, but lately I’ve been thinking that a lot of big brands and companies should take a vow of silence.
Not forever, but at key moments in time.
In this era of radical transparency, rather than trying to explain what you’re doing to fix a problem or poor performance or disappointing service, put all of that energy into fixing it first. Let people see the difference, then call in the communicators to amplify the actions you’ve taken.
Fortunately I’ve seen more and more companies coming to this realization: actions trump words and actions must precede words to have credibility.
The theme this week at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland, is “The Great Transformation: Shaping New Models.” The delegates at the meeting will discuss new models for multi-stakeholder action on everything from sustainability to world peace.
Moving closer to home, I hope that corporate leaders and those of us in communications can agree that our best model is one that puts action on the front end of the process, followed by communication with customers inviting them to experience again the service or product and then use communications to amplify that experience and build advocacy at scale. Particularly at a time of high unemployment and economic divides, the public has little to no patience for companies that try to talk their way out of a mess before taking real action. It’s time to do the right thing and then, with humility, communicate about it.