Defining responsible communication is not easy. It is not easy to cut short at the risk of ignoring one of the dimensions or one of the issues. Nevertheless, let's try a definition : " is responsible, communication that is based on the reality of the product or organization, mindful of environmental, social, societal, economic and cultural impacts, and which strives to guarantee respect for stakeholders, while aiming to achieve your goals effectively ».
Many synonyms are used. Some prefer to talk about green, sustainable, ethical, or even reasoned communication. But the notion of "responsible" communication seems to us to be more significant thana voluntary, comprehensive and conscious approach of its impacts. It must be carried by the General Management of the company and relayed by the communication, marketing, but also sales and human resources departments.
Responsible communication is a constant requirement. This requires permanent consistency in all marketing and communication actions, whether external, but also internal. The spectrum is 360 °. It is a global approach which involves all the activities of a communication department. Starting with the content of the message while respecting environmental, societal and economic issues. It is on this condition that the communication will be really convincing and creator of value. In this global approach, we will take care of impressions, organization of events, press and public relations, design and animation of stands, management of social networks and digital tools, videos, to packaging… The list is of course not exhaustive.
It is on the condition of being responsible that the communication will be really convincing and creator of value.
Responsible communication is invited on pain of inconsistency and loss of credibility in the daily life of the communicator. Advertising does not escape the obligation of responsibility. She may even be the first concerned. It needs to be transparent. It must be located in the present. It must be understandable to everyone. It must be easily accessible and efficient.
Responsible advertising is first and foremost that which respects the rules in force whether they are regulatory or ethical in origin. It must be loyal, true, respectful of the human person, of the public, of beliefs and of religions. Diversity.
- > Responsible is advertising that rejects ease, stereotypes, recourse to violence or nudity not justified by the message and / or the product.
- > Responsible is advertising which refuses submission, which respects decency and human dignity.
- > The publicity which provides proof of its allegations is responsible.
The increasing digitization of communication and marketing, like advertising, brings new challenges. And mainly that of respect for personal data and privacy. More than 8 in 10 French people say they are worried about their personal data and respect for their privacy. This is also one of the brakes to the development of connected objects. The push of adblockers (around 1 in 3 Internet users is now a user) is the clear expression of this concern, but also of the refusal of too intrusive advertising. The issue of cookies is increasingly debated and is at the heart of the concerns of European committees and assemblies. The communicator and the marketer have a great responsibility here, that of building an internet and a digital world at the service of all. But there is hope. Different and less intrusive strategies, such asinbound marketing, are developing and many companies have understood that putting the consumer at the heart of their marketing strategy was undoubtedly one of the keys.
The communicator must be exemplary
Responsible communication is a strategic axis that cannot be improvised. She is engaging. It requires reflection and hindsight. She does not tolerate improvisation or changes of course. It remains a captivating exercise in the service of the common good which will often be based on choices and compromises (sometimes technical, most often economic). Compromises, but without compromise. To avoid going off the road, it could be interesting to set up, in communication services and agencies, an ethical validation process for communication, prior to any dissemination. Many mistakes would be avoided. The communicator has a double responsibility. First, that of choosing the messages, processes and service providers that are the most respectful of the ecology, societal issues and economic issues. But it is also invested with the power of awareness, even education. The power to send the right messages or at the very least not to peddle messages contrary to the general interest and the common good. In this, the communicator must be exemplary.
SUP'DE COM, as a school preparing future communicators for their responsibilities, is aware of these issues. Responsible communication and CSR are on the program from the 3rd year. The school organizes an annual awareness-raising conference: the Com'UniVert. The 6th edition will take place in Lyon on April 4th. This conference is open to everyone. The school has also adopted a 10-point eco-responsibility charter internally. At the end of January 2017, the school published the white paper “ For more responsible communication ", Prefaced by Stéphane Martin, general manager ofProfessional Regulatory Authority for Advertising. This white paper will be presented in 2 volumes, the 2nd volume will be published at the end of February.
Nicolas Hulot wrote: " There is a new chapter to write for the human adventure ". The communicator has the chance to be one of the actors. Luck and responsibility.
Tribune by Henri Rivollier, director of SUP'DE COM programs and guest of the We Are COM team