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May 8, 2023

How communications should embrace diversity, accessibility and Tikanga Māori

 

As communicators, it is our job to reflect the communities we wish to engage with. This requires a thorough understanding of your organisation’s purpose and what you stand for and connecting that with the values held by your audiences and communities.

In April, our CEO and Co-Founder Carolyn Kerr spoke at a panel event during Brightstar’s Communications and Public Relations Conference about how organisations can deliver positive sentiment and enhance their values through effective communication.

Alongside Skye Kimura (CEO of Tātou) and David Downs (CEO of NZ Story), the trio of communications experts explored how businesses can communicate authentically through championing values, including Tikanga Māori, accessibility and diversity.

Here, Caro shares her top six insights from the panel event:

  1. Humanise your leadership. Good leadership and clear communications are essential during times of uncertainty and amid rapid changes. People prefer brands that speak like a regular person, and genuinely show how much their business is valued. Good leaders show up and articulate what their organisation stands for and speak from the heart and head.
  2. Build equitable and accessible communications into your business. Values-based communications requires a clear understanding of who you are serving, so seek to understand the needs of those who matter most to you and what’s distinctive about them. There’s a significant role for communications and internal stakeholder engagement to improve employee inclusion.
  3. Ensure your communications are accessible for all people, including communications tools such as close captions and audio descriptions, simplified copy and different languages, so that people of all backgrounds are heard and seen.
  4. Authenticity is crucial. Do not fake it! Collaborate with experts, cultural advisors or your own people, and take the time to understand how your organisational values intertwine with the personal and cultural values of the people you serve.
  5. Reputation management is critical as the economic, social and environmental headwinds increase. Social issues and adversity present an opportunity for businesses to connect with their audiences through decisions that are transparently communicated and align with their values and purpose. When business can’t do this, reputation and trust is eroded.
  6. Your people are your brand and define your reputation. People do business with people they like and trust. Improving brand perception starts on the inside, so connect with your people through your communications strategy so they understand why you’re doing what you’re doing.

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