Currently, there seems to be a shift in the way major companies are tackling communication between themselves and their stakeholders. This seems no more apparent than in the innovative Plan A campaign from Marks & Spencer.
There was a time when sustainability reports were the ‘be all and end all’ of communication to company stakeholders, a slick tool used to rally support of new issues on responsibility and their effects on the business. But it seems that CR reporting is coming of age. Either CR Managers are now trying to reinvent themselves, or someone has noticed that, in delivering such dry corporate communication, they miss out the most important stakeholder of them all, the customer. M&S, with their Plan A campaign, seem to have got things just right and, like many of the large companies, are now developing a campaigning approach to corporate responsibility and sustainability. Although to some it might seem like a £200 million punt to drive new business, to me it is a brilliant campaign, ‘nicely realistic’ in its approach, combining an openness to customers which sets out the company’s stall when it comes to CR issues moving forward, whilst also delivering the facts and figures needed from a stakeholder perspective in order to make solid business decisions.
I just hope, after all that hype, M&S don’t have to suddenly design a ‘Plan B’.