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Show courage and gain trust

Published April 14, 2021, 10:54 a.m. by Gabriella Wiiala

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Courage is an important ingredient when it comes to change-making communication. “If you want to take your brand to a new level you have to be brave, break patterns and challenge your audience,” says Gabriella Wiiala, Business Director at Spoon and expert in inclusion and diversity.

What is courageous communication?
“It is to dare to break patterns, to challenge your audience and to be transparent. When you dare to challenge and break patterns, either within your own company or with your clients, you contribute to creating something new together. Courage is especially important if the purpose of the communication is to change the view of the company or the industry. Showing courage might not be the easiest path to choose, but it gives results. The American outdoor fashion brand Patagonia is a great example of this, because not only do they communicate about their own sustainability work, they put themselves in a bigger perspective within the whole fashion industry. It gives their consumers a clear picture of the brand’s proactive work with sustainability, but also shows that there’s still a lot more to be done.”

"When you dare to challenge and break patterns, either within your own company or with your clients, you contribute to creating something new together."
Gabriella Wiiala, Business Director at Spoon and expert in inclusion and diversity.

Why is it important to challenge the old ways of communicating?
“One reason is to contribute to change. Similar to everything else in today’s society, one always strives for development. Same goes for one’s sustainability work. In order to achieve constant development and create something new it is necessary to challenge your organization’s standing strategies. Another core reason is to stay relevant. In the UN report ‘The decade to deliver,’ 76 percent of the participating CEOs say they think that trust from citizens will be critical for companies’ competitiveness in the future. The secret behind building that trust is to communicate about the whole sustainability journey, not just the goals.”

What are the key factors to create courageous and change-making communication?
“Again, it’s to dare to be transparent, to talk about your challenges and to take a stand. It is not uncommon for companies to say, ‘We cannot talk about this as we have not come far enough with this process,’ but I think you should absolutely talk about your status even if you haven’t reached your goals. It is important that you identify which areas within your company need improvement and where progress is needed. If you communicate this to your stakeholders and target groups, it will show that you are transparent and brave about your journey towards becoming a sustainable company.”

Want more insights on the subject? Read why different is the new normal.