In a social/digital reality, relevance is the most valuable currency…so why are leaders and communicators ignoring the obvious?
If we’ve learned anything in 2020, it’s that Relevance matters! Amid a global pandemic, contentious election season, and a social awakening, organizations and leaders discovered that being in sync with their stakeholders – employees, customers, patients, influencers, regulators, government officials – allowed them to be viable. Reputation, while important, took a back seat to being in the now.
Since 2017, W2O has been tracking and experimenting with Relevance. Our Relevance Quotient is the industry’s single most trusted monitor of corporate relevance in both healthcare and the FORTUNE500 (e.g., Delta Airlines cites the data on its website). The Relevance Quotient is a gateway for leaders, communicators and organizations to dissect the elements of relevance and act on the most important areas to strengthen connections to markets, audiences and society.
As we wrap up another year of Relevance analysis for our client partners and industry segments, we have captured the critical dimensions of Relevance every organization – large and small, local and global – must respect and activate if they are to be truly valued in an increasingly tumultuous competitive environment:
- The Mindset of Relevance – is Personal. Meaning it must be emotional and empathetic. Relevant organizations like Delta Airlines make a point of acknowledging customers by name, thanking them for their patronage, and listening to their needs. This mindset starts at the top. CEOs of relevant businesses speak to human concerns and human solutions from the workplace to the marketplace.
- The Magic of Relevance – is a Symphony. When organizations operate with a relevant mindset it looks and sounds like a well-tuned orchestra. All of the parts coming together to connect, relate, accelerate and confirm an affinity between the company and its stakeholders.
- The Machinery of Relevance – is Insight. Integration. Collaboration. Relevant companies ensure business strategy is integrated in all functions and outreach; measures are designed upfront; data and analytics lead to insight, which is inherent in all decision-making and programming; and collaboration whips the culture together.
- The Miseducation of Relevance – It’s Not a Program. Campaign. Message. Our four years of data covering hundreds of organizations in dozens of industries point to one thing that disrupts a leader’s ability to steer the company in relevant waters – Context. Relevance must be designed as a destination for all functions and operating units in an organization. It is not a communications and marketing issue, although communications can certainly drive such an effort. Rather, it’s an organizational mantra that seeks to better know, understand and operate on behalf of its stakeholders on terms that balance both the business and their interests.
- The Efficiency of Relevance – is Focus. Relevance eliminates the myriad things companies do that ultimately don’t mean much to growth or success and targets what is most meaningful. The most often cited take-aways from relevant leadership are:
- Listening and incorporating insights from stakeholders into the business – from products to people – tells the most relevant story.
- Expertise and perspective drive disproportionate relevance vs. announcements (new offering, partnerships, etc.).
- CEOs are a critical ingredient for relevance (topics, interest, engagement, analyst POV, employee POV).
- Owned content can (and should) stand out and lead.
As we set our sights on 2021, becoming and maintaining corporate relevance should be a major imperative for any leader looking to ensure investments, talent, products, services and assets are optimized with the right customers and markets. In today’s real-time world, if you’re not relevant you don’t exist.
Relevance is truly the new Reputation!
Look for our annual Relevance Quotient Rankings for both FORTUNE500 companies and the top 100 healthcare organizations in early 2021.