Companies care for their employees’ safety so they must care for the company’s revival
By Natasja Beyleveld, Managing Director of Namibia Media Monitoring (NaMedia).
With things now ‘relaxed’ in terms of joining digital corporate environments, the social media presence of executives is in the spotlight. Videos and discussions such as between Sven Thieme and Lazarus Jacobs are excellent examples of thought leadership.
Our executives are forcefully undergoing ‘new discipline training’ for public communications, in terms of what constitutes appropriate content and how that reflects on brand(s). We need to be responsible, calm, and clear in our messages. Companies are all about employee safety, and so the employees must be all about company sustainability.
Some tips off the cuff this morning:
* Aim for message authenticity to combat an audience’s sense of overwhelm. We can not confuse personal messages with that of company – meaning values must link throughout personal and company communications.
* “Don’t overwhelm your audience – they’ll switch”; meaning switch easily in perception of the company if we’re not careful. There is a very thin line between your own reputation and how that impacts on the reputation of the brand. If the chief executive or a senior manager of a firm is one type of person in the company and on national television, but a completely different person on social media, it tends to build a disconnect so that it impacts on trust and respect. Many times, social media ‘blurbs’ have gone viral or were dug up from the past and compiled into videos against individuals, like President Trump for instance. The lesson here is that digital is forever.
* Your customer service has become your most valuable marketing tool, and word-of-mouth is either for, or against you. Peer influence is crisp and clear on social media platforms. The question is whether the you that is portrayed on social media (authenticity) is equivalent to the company values, and being social means that you can still be a professional. This is part of executive discipline and responsibility– it has to be conveyed onto your social media posts. It is wise to use whatsapp for personal entertainment if the content is not in congruence with the brand vision that you’re in contract with.
* Growth of internal influencers: Herewith comes the responsibility of all staff regarding the content they circulate on social media. What is online, stays online, and can be used against the company and those associated with the brand(s). The company is naturally associated with any employee’s posts, and need to distance itself from any posts encouraging poor workplace ethics (look after yourself, be productive), alcohol usage (encourage healthy routines), and trending TikTok challenges that are not befitting to public reputation management. There is a lot of examples on the internet regarding the global impact of TikTok (good and bad) on company reputation; and COVID-19 has blown this into Africa.
COVID-19 has become the new gentlemen’s agreement for trust between employer and employees. It’s no easy task but trust builds trust, and ongoing clear communications and professionalism encourage trust during testing times. We must understand that what I say as a private individual is indirectly linked to the reputation of my brand; and manage our personal and company pages as such. Believe me, I know, I’ve had to un-tag and un-mention myself in many posts that I did not align with and keep it “light” in person rather.
I think good examples for “brands in congruence” are Alina Garises (Dundee Precious Metals), Mufaro Nesongona (NWR), and most of our banks’ chief executives and other executives. Well done guys, you’re setting great examples and standards for others to follow. To our fellow leadership, let’s be responsible in what we post, and how that translates into brand building. We need to give our economy everything we’ve got, and good communications will continue to superglue us together.
“Whatever you are, Be a Good One” (Lincoln)
Natasja & Team NaMedia