Many tech companies and other fast-growing companies have during several years been well-placed when it comes to communicating with different stakeholders. And for good reason: disruptive business models and an innovative mindset foster both confidence in the future and inspiration. But with the development we have seen over the past year, preferences have shifted, and there is a greater skepticism towards actors that have yet to prove themselves.
What has historically been associated with tech companies and other fast-growing businesses, has lost value in favor of stability and proven credentials. To maintain a strong position in relation to different stakeholders, communication that addresses this shift is now crucial.
During the past year, many tech companies and other fast-growing businesses have faced increasingly critical scrutiny of business models and bottom-line results by the media. Media has also covered the handling of layoffs and issues with trade unions. In some instances, skepticism towards a company’s business model coincides with critical reports from the media about lower valuation and business cutbacks. This marks a clear shift from how it has been in recent years, when the same type of companies in many cases have been described in more positive terms, as reporting focused on growth, increasing valuations and capital raising.
The change in the media outlook affects employees, potential employees, partners, clients, and the capital market, suggesting that a revision of the communication strategy may be necessary. Changed conditions and having to adjust your intended way forward require explanation and clarity, taking employer branding and the other interests into consideration.
When the business model or future possible earnings are scrutinized or questioned in the media without any warning, specific communication efforts are needed. But communication in connection with planned strategic changes, organizational changes and layoffs also require effective and structured communication efforts. Resourceful and coordinated communication is needed to maintain trust in the organization and in the brand, and so that disruptions in the day-to-day operations and ongoing innovation work will be as limited as possible.
The communication efforts can involve everything from laying out an overall communication strategy to planning and preparations, including producing a storyline on the ongoing transformation and a detailed rollout plan. Ultimately, it should provide you with the tools to address the issues that might arise when the company, to a greater extent than before, needs to work proactively to maintain a strong position. How can growth- and innovation-driven companies create stability and instill trust and faith in the future for employees, having changed strategy and implemented cutbacks? What happens when companies, in the light of an uncertain environment, cannot solely rely on selling a vision of the future? How do you get prioritized target groups to buy into the fact that the company’s business is resilient and able to stand the test over time?
If you have any thoughts about the text or questions on how to go about communication amid this new outlook, please contact:
Kristian Stålberg, Associate Partner