We are living in a world where the pace of bad news and a daily rota of published anguish and pain seems to be ever accelerating – and that is entrenching a negative mindset. We see riots, death, disease and hopelessness – and above all we see frustration.
That frustration has reached boiling point in individuals and communities across the globe. The results were not that difficult to foresee. Visit a zoo where an enclosure does not provide a natural environment or sufficient space for a large predator and you will see them pacing from one edge to another, along a well-worn line in the sand.
That animal is not simply looking for a way out – it has quite literally been driven mad by its confinement. It is arrogant to think that human beings are not the same.
Deprive us of freedom, of movement, safety or thought and the results will inevitably be frightening.
For many across the world – that deprivation was a fact of life as governments across the globe tried desperately to ’flatten the curve’ of new Coronavirus infections.
The regulations governing self-isolation are softening in many places, but the psychological effects will take many months to subside – and during that period anti-social behaviour, driven by frustration is going to be the norm. Add to that stress governments that at times seem tone-deaf to the needs of their citizens and citizens experience a failure to fulfil Maslow’s needs – and that can lead to violence driven by a fierce frustration.
However, perhaps what is required is a single transcendent moment that allows individuals and society at large to believe that human beings, corporate entities and governments are capable of so much more. It provides hope – if not immediate fulfillment of the physiological and psychological needs of each and every person.
One such moment happened on the Saturday the 29th of May 2020 when SpaceX and NASA launched Crew Dragon from Cape Canaveral, Florida, the first private spacecraft to carry humans into orbit.
For those who have always had a soft spot for the space program, it was a moment of hope.
Hope that private enterprise and government could work hand in hand to reignite the dream of reaching the stars. It was a small first step (it is by no means a panacea for society’s ills) – but a significant event worth celebrating.
What does this mean for Business Communication?
We are entering a new phase in business communication – one where the tone and messaging from business must be reflective of a new paradigm – one that encompasses the idea of a more compassionate approach to the way that business is conducted.
There are many business gurus who now believe that there exists an inherent distrust of governments across the world – and that ordinary people are increasingly going to be turning to more trusted sources of information – and of actions that can have a positive impact on their lives.
It has been hypothesised that business might be one of those sources.
This provides those who supply services and products with a unique opportunity. However, it is one that must be handled with kid gloves. A single mistake in communication and that nascent bond of trust can be broken, sometimes irretrievably (something that governments across the world are swiftly realising).
Concrete action to uplift both individuals and communities may be a strategic necessity. Messaging must be carefully handled and clear, concise communication, backed up by what could be called ‘compassionate capitalism’ may soon become integral to competitive success (if it has not already).
Balancing profit and altruism may require a change in mindset – but those businesses that do not rise to the challenge will be at a distinct competitive disadvantage.
Many companies are rising to that challenge.
Finding the correct advisory partner who can assist in developing strategically aligned messaging – and how to disseminate those messages has now become more important than ever. Companies that can find this partner can set their sights on the stars and ignite an engine that powers growth and increased market share. The key is seizing the opportunity.