For the LGBTQ+ community, Pride Month is a time of visibility, celebration and advocacy. But for corporate communications and marketing teams, acknowledging Pride can be a balancing act.
Being a true ally to the LGBTQ+ community in today’s fraught environment is more important than ever. Actions speak louder than words, even for people whose job is to communicate. Colleagues from our firm’s LGBTQ+ employee resource group share some guidelines on best practices of allyship:
Don’t be performative. Support for the LGBTQ+ community should first and foremost be rooted in the organization’s values and policies.
Do and say what you mean. Not every organization needs to participate in Pride. A company that doesn’t broadly support its LGBTQ+ employees or the community 11 months of the year shouldn’t think a splash in June will fix that – it usually backfires.
Take a stand and stick to it. As we’ve seen with Bud Light and the L.A. Dodgers, walking back statements or activities supporting the LGBTQ+ community, particularly in response to random vocal opponents, typically makes things much worse.
It’s okay to ask questions. It’s important to avoid missteps and unforced errors that provide fodder for criticism. Vet corporate policies and marketing plans with LGBTQ+ employees and listen to all ideas, even if they don’t align with a preconceived notion of allyship.
Mistakes are forgivable; not fixing them isn’t. Develop a strategic and systematic social issues management program to prepare for the most problematic and likely risk scenarios, and develop mitigation plans for each. Assign leaders and liaisons among executives, marketers and the community, give them responsibility and hold them accountable.
Finally, remember: safety first. Threats of physical harm, destruction of property or behavior that endangers employees and/or customers should always be taken seriously and addressed immediately, even if doing so means ending a visible act of support. But be clear that your support for the LGBTQ+ community has not wavered in the face of these threats.
Our friends at the FGS Health Media Insights newsletter recently shared advice from four team leaders about navigating critical corporate moments in the healthcare space.
Below are some of their key crisis takeaways applicable to any industry:
Kim James: Have the right people in the room. "The personalities best equipped to navigate a crisis are sufficiently calm and level-headed to think ahead and also decisive enough to make a move and not get swept away in the current of the crisis. You want functional leaders able to focus on the information that’s most relevant and to make quick decisions while remaining flexible enough to shift course as new information emerges."
Elly Burke: "Keep the company’s key messages up to date. This is baseline communications activity that pays major dividends when you’re in the pressure cooker. The last thing you want to be doing during a crisis is figuring out how to describe your company and its values."
Chris Kittredge: Timing matters. "If a company releases information on a timeline that no one expected, investors might believe something is amiss, which can immediately make an issue feel like a crisis. Companies with good intentions around disclosures will want to make certain information public even if they’re not required to. But sometimes it’s best to wait for a regular milestone to disclose it so you don’t inadvertently inflate the significance of an issue."
Melanie West: Don’t make a bad story worse. "When a good reporter reaches out and indicates they have reviewed documents or spoken with former employees about a crisis or reputational issue, it is rare to be able to materially shape their story. That said, a communicator can inadvertently say something and provide a new avenue to explore or stumble by being overly defensive or sloppy, thereby making the story bigger."
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At COP28, negotiators from developed and developing countries will seek to make climate financing more accessible, available, and affordable. Governments will also:
look to drive deeper action ahead of the first global stocktake,
examine how corporate climate commitments – including those from the financial sector – can be expanded, while also holding them to account.
Following years on the margins, finance has become a critical success factorthat will cut across every climate conversation in Dubai. COP28 President-Designate Sultan Al-Jaber has highlighted this focus and indicated the United Arab Emirates will foster government-business engagement to unlock financing solutions.
Developing nations will look to increase the flow of capital from wealthier nations, as well as the participation of private finance in regions of the world experiencing the most dire climate impacts.
Countries will also look to blended finance partnership models, which stand to concentrate then attract additional funding to take emissions intensive assets, like coal-fired power plants, out of the economy.
Amid global economic uncertainty, financial institutions' unique ability to swiftly allocate capital will likely be another focus for governments, which have been supportive of private sector efforts. Initiatives like the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ), which seeks to provide the framework and tools to accelerate action from private financial institutions, will also generate attention.
Subnational actors, like states and cities, will also look for a formal seat at the table as they make their case to prioritize high impact, shovel-ready projects and bypass domestic political bureaucracy and international development aid processes.