Can business leaders learn societal competence?
World PR Forum
Stokholm 14 June 2010
former EVP Communications Royal Dutch Shell plc.
Independent Consultant Board Member
Edlund Consulting Ltd. Institute of Human Rights
Senior Advisor Senior Visiting Fellow
to Burson Marsteller, EMEA Henley Business School
Societal competence – no sustainability without it
Is the leadership ready for stakeholder interaction?
Do your business leaders understand how public
opinion is formed?
Can the leaders assess non‐technical risk?
Are leaders trained to manage issues through a
mixture of assertiveness and compromise?
Do leaders understand how vulnerable the company
is in the public plaza?
How can business frame and shape a debate about
delivering both customer value and societal value?
Societal competence – Lesson 1
Brand and reputation
Corporate Identity Communication
Who we are and Academics Communities/ Corporate
what we stand for Citizens
How we see & portray Interaction with Overall estimation
ourselves stakeholders by stakeholders
• The oil and gas industry brings jobs, investment,
technology solutions, mobility, productivity,
progress, prosperity...and a daily warm shower...
• Linkage to global warming
• Operations in environmentally sensitive
• High income (for high investment)
• Big Oil – Big Company – trust?
• Huge desire for alternative energy...
HQ The Hague 2009
4 At the Brent Spar 1995
Can you hear the other dialogue?
Pyramid of Influence Integrated programme Sphere of Cross Information
Opinion forming elite
Upstream – Gvt
Traditional model New world order
• Building relationships is more than just filling • And become more aware of the drivers per
up a direct communication channel stakeholder group
• Linear stakeholder engagement approach • Advocacy and winning the must‐ win battles is a
does not reflect reality highly tactical game
• We need to better understand ‘the other • Don’t forget the young, more positive and news‐
dialogue’ around us… savvy generation
State your case – One reputation plan
‐ Four key themes from 2005 onwards
Key messages on
Primary themes Shell’s position
Strategy and Global Reputation Plan
The energy challenge
Technology and innovation Basis for all internal and
Finding factual external communication
Respect for people and the environment proof points on channels and
Preferred partner all messages stakeholder meetings
Mining for Marrying desirable
Underlying themes authentic and message components as
Delivering corporate strategy & business human stories emotional appeal, factual
performance data and authenticity
Management excellence Helping leaders
to improve story‐
Integrated approach for key stakeholders
Active media strategy with
Engagement series interviews and available
based on Toolkit for opinion articles,
Country Chairs advertorials, social media
Advertising campaign techniques
position and innovative Specific engagement with
solutions based on message Brand Governments using locally
house tailored global messaging on
Gvt energy frameworks
Linking external programme CVPs Continued web dialogues on
with internal Retail Shell.com and national
communications to involve websites involving Special
and inspire employees Publics…
CVP programme on Shell …and Energy –Concerned
stations helping customers to Consumers, providing them a
emit less and save money + platform for energy debates and
reach energy citizens solutions
2009 ‐ More energy, CO2 solutions
How do we develop better societal competence?
1. Do leaders understand how vulnerable the company is in the
– How can we help business leaders understand how public opinion is
2. Can the communications professionals help leaders assess
– How do we prepare the leadership for stakeholder interaction?
3. Can business frame and shape a debate about delivering
both customer value and societal value?
– How can leaders be trained to manage issues through a mixture of
assertiveness and compromise?
Edlund Consulting Ltd.
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