Corporate communication is a continuous process for creating, fostering and maintaining the reputation of the company and associated brands. There are various channels which are used by companies to reach out to various stakeholders for communicating about various aspects. One such key aspect is companies’ performance vis-à-vis its purpose which often get lost while reporting on the financial performance. Social media has emerged as one of the important and widely used medium in recent years for such communication. The ‘setting’ section of this month’s newsletter brings an insightful study that explores how companies in Asia are using social media on communicating corporate purpose and related themes.
The study, which was conducted across 11 markets in Asia, shows that most of the companies are using social media for purpose related communication, though, infrequently. Within the sample, the MNCs are more actively engaged on corporate purpose centric communication as compared to the local Asian companies. On purpose-led communication volume among countries, India and Vietnam were the leading countries in the emerging markets and Hong Kong and Singapore in the advanced market categories.
The findings across sectors suggest that Consumer Staples and Real Estate are the frontrunners in using social media for communicating on purpose-related issues. On the other hand Communication Services, Financials, and Consumer Discretionary sectors are the least focused on purpose while using social media.
The study also qualifies that it is not necessary that more is better in case of purpose-led communication. However, there is still appetite among the stakeholders if a company has some relevant information to share as the findings show that citizens pay attention when such information is shared and is of utility to them. Among the sectors, consumer staples saw highest share of public engagement in purpose-led communication.
The top three topics on purpose-led communication by companies are Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I), Environment, and Sustainability Reporting. On the other hand the most searched topics by public are Mental Health, LGBTQ+, DE&I. Companies can align their social media engagements based on these findings and report and engage more on issues prioritised by the public. DE&Iis most prominent topic for companies and also of high interest to the public. This could be a good starting point for companies who are yet to devise a purpose-led social media strategy.
The companies are communicating on key topics like sustainability, GHG emissions and climate change. However, there are also key topics have not received enough coverage like water use, SDGs. There is also a significant “materiality-to-communication” gap wherein companies are not engaging enough on material topics and area quickly attracting attention and fast evolving.
The study has raised some relevant questions that need to be explored further which can help companies to revisit their social media strategy in their purpose-led communication.
We duly acknowledge The Conference Board. The note has been developed based on the study with the same title
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