The third Monday of January, commonly referred to as “Blue Monday”, is known as the most depressing day of the year. This is the day when we all feel miserable because we are cold, broke, suffering from those post-Christmas blues, feeling guilty for already failing to keep to our New Year’s resolutions, and generally have limited motivation.
But it is not all doom and gloom. There are a lot of reasons to be cheerful about the upcoming year, especially if you are a reputation management specialist. Here are my top three:
- Sustainability goes strategic
2019 saw Greta Thunberg inspiring millions of people around the world to become a part of the climate movement, and making billions of people think and talk about climate change. As a result, consumers around the world are becoming more sustainability-conscious and socially responsible by the day. For instance, 1 in 5 people have reduced the number of flights they took over the past year due to climate impact awareness according to the research conducted by Swiss bank UBS.
This is an exciting time to be a reputation management professional, as we help organisations to move away from sporadic CSR programs and shift companies’ focus from complex sustainability metrics and indices to embracing sustainability in a strategic and holistic way, through focusing on sustainability initiatives that matter to consumers, businesses and the planet. It’s not enough to be green anymore; you must help the customer understand what making sustainable choices means for you, them and the world, and in 2020 we expect to see a growing understanding of that fact.
- The culture factor
Another reason to be cheerful on this gloomy day is that companies are finally becoming more culture conscious. Increasingly, organisations are recognising that culture goes beyond a benefits and wellbeing package. A company’s culture and its employees are part of the DNA of an organization – it is an USP that is hard to replicate, and has the potential to make or break a company.
As reputation management specialists, we think it is essential for a company to understand its culture and assess the reputation risks and opportunities associated with culture. We believe that culture can’t be mandated or enforced, but that each company can nonetheless find ways to set a direction for their culture through effective leadership and engagement.
This in particular is a topic that we will be exploring further in the coming weeks – see here for some of our existing thinking on the subject.
- Creating value and demonstrating impact
For decades, companies have been focused on one main objective: financial growth. 2019 saw investors, NGOs and the general public putting pressure on organisations to respond to changing societal values, concerns about climate change and limited natural resources, and economic and political instability. Today’s consumers are challenging organisations to redefine their success and think about a company’s activity not only in terms of financial growth for the company, but value creation for its wider stakeholders and the planet.
This means that companies need to rethink their approach to value creation, understand and articulate what value they deliver to their stakeholders, and demonstrate their impact in a way that their stakeholders can relate to. At ReputationInc, we believe success will ultimately come to those organisations that are able to create new and meaningful value for stakeholders, effectively blending purpose with profit.