My search for connection, collaboration and all other good things beginning with C has led me to create #CommsForGood.
When I try to explain what #CommsForGood is, it goes something like this: the belief that by putting generosity at the heart of corporate comms (banking or fintech, in my case) you can drive positive change – for your industry, your organisation, and ultimately the community in which you live.
In practice so far, this means connecting comms people in the industry in which I work, by inviting them to join me at events in support of a local cause. By doing so, I intend to build a powerful network of corporate comms people that collaborate with each other, support each other. An engaged network that is connected not only by a common industry, but also by the strong emotional bond of supporting the people in their community.
The first #CommsForGood event I hosted through my employer, Temenos, was at Dimbleby Cancer Care’s World’s Greatest Quiz, and the blog I published on the Temenos site sums up the experience perfectly. There, a team of great communicators and collaborators from organisations including Metro Bank, Crossword Cybersecurity, Callcredit, Wilson Fletcher and Next Tech Girls became my first #CommsForGood champions.
Buzzing from the success of the quiz, I invited guests to join me at a very special reception with the Dimblebys and the Dean of Westminster at Westminster Abbey. Communicators from Starling Bank, Deutsche Bank and Bud became my next community champions – and it was an unforgettable night for all.
So why all this? Because cancer has taught me the true meaning and value of connection through communication. Until then, like everyone else, I used these buzz words freely in my work, in my life – but I had never really experienced them.
My darkest, loneliest days came after my cancer treatment, when my life had been pronounced ‘saved’. When everyone else was relieved to get back to their old lives, and I was left to build a new one. I started writing to help me make sense of it all – and once I had spoken I knew I wanted to be heard.
I shared my blogs with all the cancer charities I could think of, from the big budget, famous ones that campaign to banish loneliness, to the small community ones running on passion and a shoestring. The big brands weren’t listening, or if they were, they were too restricted by process to respond; the little guys were tuned in and heard me. They responded, they encouraged, they shared my story with their communities and encouraged them to share and respond in return. Thanks to a handful of tiny, local charities (Dimbleby Cancer Care, in particular), communication and community led to connection, and this became the foundation of my new life.
I started back to work in January, in corporate comms and banking, where it is so easy to speak and not listen. I realised our industry communicators could learn a lot from my experience with the cancer charities.
If a brand wants to be recognised and respected, the organisation must actively build lasting, positive connections with its audience. For a business network to be truly valuable, for an ecosystem to be genuinely supportive, for a connection to be authentic, they must be founded on something more sustainable than commercial agenda.
Human kindness and generosity are universally understood and sustainable. Brands (like my small cancer charities) and individuals that put these values at their heart, and listen and engage with humanity are the ones that will be remembered and that will make a lasting difference.
With this new clarity, I started my mission to find and connect with the humans behind the brands in my industry. Together we are going to bring humanity to corporate comms. And by doing so we’ll change the world. 🙂
Welcome to #CommsForGood. There’s more to come. Watch this space…