An ESG Communication Strategy is Useless Without Context

August 5, 2021

If Content is King, then Context is Queen when communicating Environmental, Social, Governance (ESG) strategies. You need your king alive to win a game of chess, but you’ll have more success when your queen is in play. For us to bring our leadership teams and audience on board the ESG journey we need to ensure that they know the context first then followed by the information.

Let’s begin with defining each.

Content is the information we share with our audience. Its aim is to inspire, educate, inform, motive, persuade or even instil fear in us. The way the content can be presented is vast it can be videos, product descriptions, blog posts or case studies. If content is not shared in the way it should be, then it won’t have the correct impact on our audience. In otherwards, it’s the “What”

Context is setting the scene or stating why you are doing things the way you are. If you do so you are helping your content come to life and helping your audience understand your views. In otherwards it’s the “How”

I am a keen rower and before I started rowing, I read several blogs about how to read the river, how to pick the right boat, how oars differ in weights and lengths, and the exercises needed for me to become a rower. All this information was just information, it really didn’t resonate or mean anything me until I stepped foot on the boat, started the lessons, capsized, and felt the pain in my leg muscles. This is when the content I read aligned with the context I was in.

Another example, if I ask you “is this enough water” you will answer me with a blank face because you don’t understand why I am asking this and why now? But if you and I were in a desert where not a single drop of water is seen in our horizon would this question resonate differently with you? The answer is YES… because now you have context.

To tell a compelling ESG aka People and Planet stories you need to think carefully about content vs. context. you need to first listen to how your audience are talking about ESG? are they talking about it from a curiosity, wanting to listen learn and grow, and claiming responsibility or from a defensiveness, or placing blame? 

Once you determine what type of conversation your audience is having start determining if your audience are a “To Me” group or a “By Me” group? The “To Me” group are the ones who believe that they are victims of what other people are doing to them… in otherwards, life is happening to them. The “By Me” group are the ones who see themselves as creators of their experience, they take responsibility of whatever happens in their lives.

If you are part of the “To Me” group then you are leading your life in fear and constant pessimism and they tend to repeat their problems and complaints where as the “By Me” group tend to be more optimistic and receptive to ideas and innovative actions.

Once you have the above information this is when you can design the context that would go with your content. Just remember, context comes first followed by content.

We are Communique and we are a team of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Communication specialists and technical experts who will design your best sustainability strategies, initiatives and communication campaigns suited to your sector and desired impact and connect it with your business value. Get in touch if you wish to learn more about ESG company analysis and how to communicate it.


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