Multimedia tells a more engaging story that strikes an emotional chord with audiences. Companies who adapt and adopt video as a key component of their communications strategy will win partnerships and bring their message to the market with maximum efficiency. When telling a complex story, it no longer makes sense to use outdated information sharing methods. A high level of engagement has become critical. When people see something, they are a lot more comfortable and informed, instead of reading long documents and reports with a series of facts and figures. Documents and reports remain incredibly important, the difference with video, is you have to think about story telling and not just making sure you get all the facts on the page. Chances are good that corporations are sitting on a wealth of information they would really like others to know about; it just needs to be repurposed for video. When considering how to communicate the complexity of a corporations social responsibility efforts, consider the following:
- Forrester Research estimates that one minute of video is the storytelling. equivalent to reading 1.8 million words.
- Forbes Insights recently found that given the choice between text document or video on a topic nearly two thirds of executives preferred video.
- Vast amounts of research shows that the average attention span for video is much higher than documents.
- Forrester Research states that videos are one of the strongest forms of media in our society today.
- Video routinely generates the highest response rates of any marketing medium.
- According to Cisco, in 2013 more than 90% of Internet traffic will be video-based. In 2010 it was just 30%.
- In studies authored by DoubleClick, Google and AOL, audiovisual content was found to drive an engagement rate 4 to 7 times higher than static image and text.
- 2 billion of the planet’s inhabitants are online and 70% of them (1.4 billion) watch online video.
Here are some tips:
- Be Authentic. Your message should be substantive, helpful and of value to viewers.
- Keep it concise. According to Visible Measures – Online Viewers Abandon Rates - for promotional videos, at the 30-second mark one-third of viewers have abandoned the average video; by one-minute 44% are gone; and by video’s end 60% of your audience has left.
- Ensure your content is accessible on mobile devices.
- Gauge the effectiveness of your content. Another benefit of video is you can apply analytics by measuring numbers of views, ratings, comments, view time, etc. This helps give corporations a clear picture of what is resonating, and what isn't..
Video combines image, sound, motion and content into one medium. That's why its the most effective way to deliver a compelling, informative message.
I've uploaded a third video to my YouTube Channel
entitled CSR Common Mistakes. Businesses need to make sure they have a vision and direction to grow their CSR perspective as a major contributor to overall strategic decision making. Overtime, CSR will become ingrained throughout the organization. Defining CSR and placing it in the context of a wider corporate strategy and adopting a stakeholder perspective will allow firms to operate successfully within the
complex global business environment.
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Moderator Stephen Boles - Kuzuka, Panel: Shannon Denny - Coca-Cola, Frances Edmonds - HP, Megan McIver - Verona
"We believe that business is good because it creates value, it is ethical because it is based on voluntary exchange, it is noble because it can elevate our existence, and it is heroic because it lifts people out of poverty and creates prosperity. Free-enterprise capitalism is the most powerful system for social cooperation and human progress ever conceived. It is one of the most compelling ideas we humans have ever had. But we can aspire to something even greater."
- From the Conscious Capitalism Credo
Last weekend I spoke on a sustainability panel at the Ontario Chamber of Commerce AGM. Here are some of the questions I got, and my response to those questions.
1. Can corporate responsibility actually be considered a bottom line booster?
If forces in your operating environment are changing, overtime, their cumulative effect redefines the competitive environment and determines what organizational strategies and actions are deemed socially acceptable. There are five trends that underscore the importance of CSR for firms, and therefore should influence a firms strategy: growing affluence in emerging economies, growing interest in ecological sustainability, globalization, free flow of information, and growing importance of a brand.
If you aren't ensuring that your business practices are doing as little social and environmental harm as possible, then it will eventually damage your bottom line. How fast you have to move on this depends on the industry you are in.
2. What are the emerging trends in CSR?
- Movement towards mandatory, high quality reporting. Typically, what is expected socially migrates from discretionary, to ethical, to mandatory (legal and economic).
- Movement away from the idea that CSR is charity or philanthropy, and a movement towards CSR within broader business strategy. That means, you are having robust conversations with your stakeholders. First of all you are identifying who they are, you are talking to them about their concerns, and you are essentially taking their ideas and coming up with ways to better improve your business activities. A good place to start is just looking at what your business is doing and areas where you can improve. Linking a companies strengths with opportunities in its environment - that's essentially what strategy is.
- Organizational design. Strategy shapes design, so there is a movement internally, with corporate governance structures, because of CSR. Done effectively, it will start to hit every division in an organization. The best organizational structure is one that supports the execution of a strategy.
- More partnerships between NGO's, government, academia and business to accomplish CSR.
How can companies conduct comprehensive risk assessments to ensure they are dealing with the right sustainability issues? Is it stakeholder needs assessment? Or internal benchmarking?
Ideally, both. With respect to risk - you need to be having robust conversations with your stakeholders if you want to get insights from interests groups. The only way to find out what people are thinking is to ask them. Incorporating their high priority concerns reduces reputational risk and gives you focus. With respect to internal benchmarking - you'll be finding efficiencies while lessening the social and environmental impact. That typically leads to cost savings. Since businesses are always looking for efficiencies and waste reduction, it's now become clear that when you try to improve your environmental impact, this is going to save you money. It's a no-brainer for most industries - they will likely intersect.
How do we move towards more accurate and transparent reporting?
Figure out what to report. Data collection for some of this stuff is very very difficult. The company may not be able to produce some information, depending on their resources. But it's important to at least get a sense of where you stand and what you're working towards.
Mitigate the risk of having a report with not a lot of substance. Businesses will have to really engage with stakeholders to find out what their key performance indicators are. We tend to think we know what everybody wants to know. But the key performance indicators... It might surprise you.
Aside from improving your business operations, you may also be doing good things in the community where you operate. Responsibility reporting is also a place to document those investments.
Ontario's Minister of Education, the Hon. Liz Sandals officially opened the Mining 4 Society (M4S)
educational show today. The free public show highlighting the positive impact of mining, minerals, metals and materials on our daily lives, will run for three days from May 2 to 4 and take place at the Queen Elizabeth Exhibit Hall in Toronto. Now in its eighth year, M4S, which is presented by the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum (CIM),
is expected to welcome 3,500 students, teachers and members of the general public over the course of the three days.
Here are some photos from the morning!
, is a Canadian amateur boxer, whose career was launched following a successful 2006 when she claimed the Canadian National Championship and Boxer of the Year titles. Weighing in at 51 kg (112 lbs.), she has made her way as a fly weight champion, with a trail of titles and victories following her. Currently a 7 times National Champion and ranking 11th
in the world, Mandy is focusing all of her attention and time on training for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Originally from Port Hope, Ontario, her family moved to Moncton, New Brunswick where she grew up and later moved to Kitchener, Ontario where they settled in 2002. Mandy was first introduced to boxing in 2004, when she began training for recreational purposes. Over time, her passion for the sport led her to pursue boxing competitively. In 2005, Mandy began training under her coach, Rick Cadilha, head coach of the Waterloo Regional Boxing Academy.
Mandy continued training while she went on to complete a General Business program at Conestoga College (Kitchener, Ontario) in 2007. In 2010, Mandy enrolled at the University of Waterloo (Waterloo, Ontario), where she is diligently working to complete a 3-year Arts degree program. She also worked part-time preparing income tax, in addition to volunteering her time at the Waterloo Regional Boxing Academy to coach fellow athletes. Mandy remains committed to her training, her career, and being an ambassador for her country.
With dedication, focus, and discipline, Mandy has successfully continued to secure a number of wins, titles , and championships.
She is one to watch!
Here is what she had to say about her career in the ring:
QUESTION 1: Everyone has a dream of becoming something. But the dream of becoming an Olympic athlete is particularly eminent. I think sometimes people get discouraged when they start to work at something and the work isn't quite the glamour they envisioned their dream to be. Can you talk about the kind of perseverance it takes to follow your dream?
MANDY: Sports are like anything else, in order to succeed you have to dedicate yourself in doing whatever it takes in order to reach that ultimate goal. Its not always easy but that's part of the journey. With dedication, discipline and desire you can accomplish whatever you put your mind to.
QUESTION 2: You are known for your discipline and hard work. How important is it to be disciplined with your goal setting?
MANDY: I think it is very important to be disciplined with your goal setting because without a goal you can't measure your performance. I set goals everyday! Just going into the gym for a workout I have small goals that I want to achieve and once the workout is done I have something to look back on and see whether or not I was able to achieve them. Setting smaller goals all the time help you reach your big goals.
QUESTION 3: It doesn't matter what path we take, we all come across obstacles along the way. Can you think of a challenging time that you faced as professional athlete? What did you do to overcome that?
MANDY: There have been many challenging moments in my career. One of the most challenging was not qualifying for the 2012 Olympics. This was a goal that I worked towards since the beginning of my career and this just didn't fall into place for me. I lost at my qualifier and just like that it was all over. At first, of course, I was very upset but I knew I couldn't let it bring me down. I immediately started to think about other major events I could focus on. I started to plan my next 4
years and now I have a new goal for 2016. This loss may have been a blessing in disguise, it has challenged me to change things in my training and its only been a short time and I can already see many positive changes. Most important thing
is to stay focused.
QUESTION 4: Along with the pressures of training, there are significant financial costs for athletes. Do you ever get stressed about this part of the gig? How do you manage stress and stay focussed?
MANDY: I try not to let the financial stress bother me. I have been very fortunate to receive support from great people in my community over the years and it has helped in a big way. I'm able to focus on training and when I need support I have many people who have stepped up over the years to help with fund-raising and find sponsorships.
QUESTION 5: What the best piece of advice you've ever received?
MANDY: To focus on the PROCESS not the OUTCOME!
I have the luxury of meeting some interesting artists and designers in Toronto because of my landlords design shop. Her clients, mostly designers, come in with something very specific in mind, and she makes it happen. This morning, I was coming in from a coffee and this incredibly detailed, hand painted table top was being loaded into a delivery truck. She and another designer had worked on it together. He, the painter. I stopped to check it out, and like most artists, he wanted to tell me everything
about it. Every detail. I loved it. He described the original design, how he tried and tried, had to rework it, decided to change it again, and then how the finished product all came to be. Which was... Stunning. He asked if I was an artist. "No, just a tenant," I said. "But I do enjoy crafty things and think it's important to always have different creative projects on the go that you can work on." "You know, that's really good," He said. "I think that's how you find your passion... It's about trying a whole bunch of things and going through that process, it's not... Oh! This is my passion... Now I will be successful at that. It's not that easy! Sometimes it's not even what you're good at!" We both laughed, and I carried on. But .. That little moment really struck me this morning.
I thought about how, in June 2005, Steve Jobs took the podium at Stanford Stadium to give the commencement speech
to Stanford's graduating class. Wearing jeans and sandals under his robe, Jobs addressed a crowd of 23,000 with a short speech that drew lessons from his life. Jobs offered the following advice: "You've got to find what you love…. The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking, and don't settle."
I love that speech. Creativity and innovation start by thinking different. And sometimes, it's painfully confusing and a bit scary. But most people don't hear that part of the speech. The part about all the confliction before you rise above, or master a skill. They just hear, "follow your passion." I think the most dangerous thing about the “follow your passion” advice (which seems to be everywhere today) is its implication that your passion is a singular, mysterious thing. That you were born with one, static interest that comes to you easily and instantly and you’ve got to figure it out before you can ever be somebody. And that can be paralyzing! Ira Glass once said, " it’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.” Whether you are finding your passion or working through other challenges, it's incredibly important to remember that. It's not easy! And that's normal. It doesn't mean you give up and turn around. As Jobs says: stick to the fight, your time is limited.
Today was one of those great reminders.
Modern advertising campaigns are fascinating. Dove's video of a forensic artist sketching first the women's description of herself, then someone else's description, caught fire on the web and has everyone chiming in about the merits, strategy and mission of the campaign. Some say it really hits home, really gets them to think, and made them change the way they see themselves. Others say its hypocritical and have mixed feelings. Not everybody loves the ad, of course, but there is something compelling and brilliant about the use of a subtle message. One thing is for sure, it's got everybody talking. And it mostly about self image. Which, in my opinion, isn't such a bad thing. If you haven't already, watch the clip.
The Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) has been the target of public blame after their supplier iGate Corp brought temporary foreign workers for training to replace 45 RBC workers. This is nothing new. Lots of businesses outsource for lower cost. So, after a long week in the media, and while compliant with regulations, Gord Nixon had to appologize
. "It's about doing what employees, clients, shareholders and Canadians expect of RBC. And that's something we take very much to heart."
There is a lot to say about the outsourcing arrangement. But I think certain trends in particular are worth identifying if they are likely to continue to grow in importance. Globalization is one of the major forces propelling the strategic use of CSR. It transforms the CSR debate and magnifies its importance expotentially. Increasingly, corproations operate in a global business environment. However, it's impoartant to remember that all business is still local. Listen to your stakeholders. Actions that may be acceptable on the books, can still leave firms open to negative publicity and harmful outcomes if stakeholder expectations aren't met.
Businesses are clearly concerned with delivering products and services efficiently. But business need to identify shared value in situations that reach beyond profit maximization, effect the local community, and/or are related to a businesses core operations. It's even something they might want to take a stance on.
"Approaching the Sustainability Trend"
Companies need to continually reframe business practices in order to survive as markets, technology and expectations change. More specifically, miners need to consider the many other complexities driving the widespread and growing criticism of the industry’s environmental and social impacts.How mining companies respond to these challenges will affect their competitiveness, and perhaps even their survival. Addressing the shifts in social realities that are defining the marketplace has manifested itself in varying forms of corporate social responsibility. It’s clear that miners see
sustainability as a strategic issue, but for some companies it can seem too overwhelming to start, while others are launching initiatives without any overarching vision or plan.
In a recent Harvard Business Review article, David Lubin and Daniel Esty look to previous game-changing mega trends to map out the new sustainability imperative. They say that “all business mega trends have features and trajectories in common. Sustainability is an emerging mega trend, and thus its course is somewhat predictable.” They look at how firms have won in prior mega trends, such as globalization, and explain how it can help companies craft strategies and systems to gain advantage. It requires a fundamental and persistent shift in how companies compete, and they say sustainability is an “inescapable strategic imperative for corporate leaders.” In mega trends,
companies adapt and innovate, or are swept aside.
To further understand this trend and the importance of sustainability reporting, it is also compelling to go inside the minds of a group of influential individuals known as the “millennials.” They are aged 17 to 35, and they have a drastically different outlook on what they expect from organizations. According to the World Bank there are 1 billion millennials around the globe, and they are the first generation to grow up “inherently digital.” They are a group that has information at their fingertips, and they expect two-way dialog from organizations. For businesses to realize success and manage social and environmental risk, this new generational paradigm and its trending behaviours need to be taken seriously.
According to a global survey by Edelman, 87% of global consumers say they believe businesses should place at least equal weight on society’s interests as on business interests. The survey found that people in rapid growth economies — including China, India, Malaysia, Indonesia, the United Arab Emirates and Brazil — expect to engage with brands and corporations on societal issues. And when asked what causes they personally cared about, top-ranking causes globally were: improving the quality of healthcare, protecting the environment and ensuring access to safe drinking water. Top-ranking causes in the U.S. were alleviating hunger and homelessness, improving the quality of healthcare and supporting human and civil rights. Knowing the different perspectives around the globe can lead to an even greater return on your investment with your sustainability efforts. But ultimately, the new culture for mining companies is to promote a healthy economy and a healthy society, and preserve a healthy environment for future generations.
With expectations for the scope, depth and quality of information rising, meeting these expectations will require new collaborative creativity with extensive and ongoing engagement from the front lines. But sustainability should be a staged evolution into your overall business strategy. Typically, businesses start by focusing on risk mitigation and cost reduction, and over time they develop strategies for increasing value. Eventually, companies can differentiate value propositions through new business models that enhance corporate culture and brand leadership, and sustainability becomes a competitive advantage.
For miners, the focus should be on conducting and communicating efforts in a way that garners trust and generates positive reputations among stakeholders.
Here are six key factors that will make your sustainability strategy credible:
1. Clearly identify the impacts of your operations. Companies should be sure to include, in detail, the impacts of materials such as explosives, energy supply, water use, emissions effluent and waste, tailings, impacts on ecosystems and habitat, wildlife and species at risk and issues associated with reclamation and mine closure.
2. Reach out to your stakeholders and listen to their concerns about the impacts. Gathering this collective intelligence is perhaps the most effective reputational risk management exercise. What is most important to them? This will help you develop and define the scope and focus of your efforts.
3. Develop a company policy. Be clear about your approach and what is going to be included. Include a description of your internal management and governance systems and identify your priorities. For example, there may be a number of local farmers concerned about water supply. What exactly are they concerned about, how did you engage with them and how are you addressing their concerns? Be specific. The International Finance Corporation’s performance standards on
social and environmental sustainability provide the most widely accepted framework.
4. Clearly state how you will measure your sustainability program. If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it. Use things like sustainability scorecards and metrics that identify qualitative and quantitative, and short- and long-term goals. If you operate internationally, it should include broad global issues with local targeted solutions. Show commitment and take it seriously.
5. Put in place a third-party auditing system. Auditors should identify areas of improvement and the next steps. Were you operating in full compliance? Did any environmental incidents occur?
6. Put all of this together in a clearly articulated report that is available in ways that engage. This report is the evidence and communications piece for your stakeholders.
Some form of sustainability reporting is already a requirement for many member associations in the industry. The days of mandatory reporting and more stringent regulations are just around the corner. There are limitations to resilience if companies are not improving their capacity to meet needs. Going forward, firms with a clear vision will come out ahead
Dawn Whittaker is a securities and mergers and acquisitions lawyer based in Toronto and is the Canadian leader of the mining and commodities practice at Norton Rose Canada, LLP
. She primarily assists public companies and investment dealers and is experienced in all types of corporate finance, mergers, acquisitions, divestitures and reorganizations. She also has extensive experience advising on corporate governance matters, including directors and officers’ liabilities and shareholder rights, as well as governance, disclosure, reporting and executive compensation policies and practices. Ms. Whittaker is the author of the CCH Canadian Securities Law Reporter commentary on “Continuous Disclosure” and on “International Financial Reporting Standards for Lawyers.” She was a member of the Ontario Securities Commission’s Continuous Disclosure Advisory Committee from 2006 to 2008. I had the opportunity to speak with Ms. Whittaker about career advancement and women in the legal profession. Here is what she had to say:
QUESTION 1: McKinsey released a report "Women Matter 2012 : Making the Breakthrough." They stated: "our report confirms that certain behaviours more frequently adopted by women are critical to navigate through the [economic] crisis safely and to perform well in the post crisis world. You do work in global markets. Why do you think strong leadership from women is important when dealing with complex world issues and how can the diversity of perspectives help in resolving these difficult challenges?
DAWN: I haven't read that report, but recent media stories tell us that women are becoming more valued in the workplace, in some cases because of their ability to bring teams together and mediate in situations that might otherwise be confrontational. I think today, those attributes are becoming more valued. And it's self-perpetuating. The more people who are interested in finding a non-confrontational path forward, the more these skills will be valued. Therefore, perhaps the more women in leadership roles you have, the more these skills may be valued. Some of these media reports also tell us that the demographic make-up of a board of directors can influence the success of a company – the more women on the board the more likely the company is to be successful. I suppose it’s also possible that this just means that successful
companies are more likely to seek out women to sit on their boards. I really don’t know.
QUESTION 2: Can you briefly tell your leadership story?
DAWN: I did not have a specific plan. I went to Queen's University for my undergrad degree in the Arts and then really didn’t know what I wanted to do. After applying for several post graduate programs I was fortunate enough to be accepted into law school. I was pretty happy about that - it also put off having to think about the real world! I loved law school and for some time thought that I’d like to be a litigator. I quickly got over that after participating in a few trials. After law school, of course I started to look for some articling jobs but really didn’t know much about any of the law firms or much about what I wanted to do. I was generally interested in business law. I was very fortunate to be offered an articling position with what was then called McCarthy & McCarthy. I loved it there and stayed with McCarthy &
McCarthy in Toronto there for 5 years. Then I met a guy... He lived in Vancouver and I lived in Toronto. After dating long distance for a while and, back then, spending a fortune on flights and phone calls, we decided that someone had to
move. McCarthy's had just recently merged with a Vancouver firm, so I decided to move out to Vancouver. I spent another 9 years with McCarthy's in Vancouver, and that's where I really became interested into the Mining sector. After spending 9 years away from a lot of my family and friends, I decided I really wanted to move back to Toronto. At the time I had just had my third child and didn't want to take another maternity leave, so I thought... the time to go is now. We moved back to Toronto in 2000 and I was fortunate to get a job with Ogilvy Renault. The firm was willing to take a chance on me (I had no portable clients and three kids!) and I will always be grateful for that.
Ogilvy Renault had a relatively small office in Toronto at that time and no mining practice in Toronto to speak of. At the time I was really the only person in that office with an interest in the mining sector so it was a challenge getting the “mining team” off the ground. But Ogilvy Renault’s Toronto office grew rapidly and other people with an interest in the mining sector joined the firm – we then started to really put some effort into the practice area and our marketing plans and professional development – we were building our name in the area. The mining sector really took off in Canada and then in 2011 we merged with the top notch global law firm Norton Rose. Norton Rose is has fantastic mining expertise and an international reputation in the sector – it was a great fit for us. Quickly after that we merged with MacLeod Dickson, a firm with a strong mining practice, excellent connections and a great reputation. The combination has really worked well for our mining team – we now have one of the strongest mining groups in Canada and are clearly the best mining law firm in the world. For me the combination has been fantastic. We can provide legal services to companies that
are listed on all the main mining markets, including Toronto, Australia, Johannesburg and London and international expertise in infrastructure, shipping, rail and all other areas that are critical to mining companies.
QUESTION 3: What is your advice to achieving success for women entering the work force today, particularly in male dominated industries?
DAWN: I think for all lawyers - and I'm talking about large corporate law firms here - practicing law in these big law firms is very challenging. It’s not an easy job for anyone. Its long hours, hard work, and as in any service industry, your clients can be challenging. Clients are paying a lot for your services - they expect top notch, around the clock, high quality service. If you want to excel in a law firm, you will need to work very hard.
QUESTION 4: There is no right answer to this, but can you give your perspective on how women can reconcile the demands of challenging work roles with raising a family?
DAWN: The same way men do. Traditional roles are changing and evolving. Maintaining work/life balance in this job is very hard. The head of our HR head will tell you that this is not an issue just for women – both men and women struggle with this. Most lawyers want to have a family life, maintain a social life, be in good health, maintain a level of fitness, etc. Sometimes we think we should be able to “have it all”, but having it all is very difficult (unless you only need 2 hours of sleep a night!) Law firms, including my own, are trying to figure out how to address these challenges. I guess my advice would be that if you really want to succeed in this business you need to make a big investment in your career - I mean both monetarily and in time and effort. If you have children, you will need to have reliable, flexible day-care. An excellent nanny who is shows up on time and will stay late if you need them to is very important. That kind of day care is expensive (and it should be – it’s their career and the impact on their work/life balance that you are paying for). And, of course, it is best if you have a spouse who shares the family responsibilities. For lawyers with young families it’s hard and expensive, but necessary if you want to succeed in this business - you have to look at it as a long-term investment.
QUESTION 5: If you were to give advice to organizations on how to develop cultures and implement best practices to
attract, retain, and advance women, what would it be?
DAWN: Retaining and advancing women is not only a social issue, it’s an economic issue for us. We do
not want to lose lawyers after a few years of practice. Our investment in young lawyers, both women and men, is huge. It’s very challenging problem – but part-time and flex time leadership positions generally do not work well in a
client driven industry. Norton Rose is a supporter of the Law Society of Upper Canada’s Justicia Project
which is looking at how to retain and advance women lawyers in private practice.