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  • Astrid von Schmeling 8:09 am on November 29, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: awards, communications, , , Lundquist,   

    Communications award is just a ‘like’ away 

    Everybody loves a good ranking, and sustainability communications awards are few and far between. One of few ratings is issued by Italian online communications bureau Lundquist. Its list of favorite CSR online communications came out a couple of weeks ago—highlighting best practice from Europe, Germany, Switzerland, Italy and the Nordic region.

    Congratulations to One Stone clients Ericsson, SCA and Electrolux for swooping the first, second and fourth placements for the Nordic region. All these companies were commended for improving their communications over the last year.

    Ericsson comes out top of the Nordic ranking and placed 21st in the European list of 252 companies. Lundquist liked Ericsson’s high level of interactive tools, including a Twitter account integrated into the corporate website. As strong advocates of social media, in part as a major sponsor of the UN affiliated Social Good Summit, Ericsson makes sure that it leverages social media to maximize its reach. Ericsson also prides itself on telling great stories and there are lots to choose from on their site.

    Lundquist commended second place-ranked SCA for packing a surprising amount of information into cleanly laid out pages. Its site is built around its sustainability strategy, providing a detailed overview of its targets. The company is also present in a wide range of social media channels, always a plus on Lundquist’s books.

    While Electrolux’ strength is not in the use of social media, its sustainability pages are chock-full of concise information on its priorities and impacts. It also publishes an extensive online GRI report that demonstrates that the company makes sure its’ homework is done.



    The Nordic region is by many considered a Mecca for IT users. Its multi-nationals are relatively proficient in transparency. That’s why I’m a little surprised that the region didn’t fare better against Italian companies like Eni and Telecom Italia in communicating on sustainability as per Lundquist’s criteria. Although the winners in the Nordic region out-performed most European counterparts, no Nordic company managed to make the European top 20 list.

  • Astrid von Schmeling 5:20 pm on July 7, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: 'oil leak', BP, communications, credibility, language,   

    Small people and big intentions 

    Day 80 of the BP oil leak and cyberspace continues to be inundated with thoughtful insights and interesting commentaries. Just take the sentence— ‘We care about the small people’— which has received a permanent place in crisis management textbooks.

    As sustainability strategists and communicators, BP’s blunders and the ensuing public outcry are a powerful reminder to One Stone of the importance of credibility, trust and nuance.  As someone who lives in Sweden, statements made by BP Chair Carl-Henric Svanberg (a Swede) on ‘Small people’ at the steps of the White House also underline how easily misconceptions arise when culture and language confuse intentions.

    Svanberg is a man used to being under pressure and facing media. In all the other times I’ve seen him, he appears comfortable with his command of the English language and is accustomed to doing things his way.  Was it nerves that brought about his unfortunate choice of words and an accent like that of the Muppets’ ‘Swedish Chef’’? Or was it a cheap trick to gain sympathy from a hostile audience?

    Swedes pride themselves on their written and spoken English. And in nine times out of ten they can conduct their business credibly and professionally. But all too often, I’ve encountered people that believe that their ‘Swenglish’ is just as effective as proper English. In fact, many believe that dumbed-down English can be an even more effective communications tool in crucial times. As Svanberg has now learned, there are instances when nuance counts, and where it is not endearing to play the Swenglish card.

    Why bring this up now, one month after Svanberg apologized for his slip in translation? Because BP seems to have finally gotten something right–it put Bob Dudley officially in charge of clean-up efforts a few weeks ago. And on July 1, he made a daring debut on a joint PBS, YouTube and Google production. Broadcast live, “America Speaks to BP,” invited people to pose questions about the BP response. Dudley, a native of Mississippi, started his reply to the first question by naming the beaches, islands and endangered pelican rookeries he’s visited in the past weeks, saying “I see the devastation that is down there.”

    Mixing long-term promises and short-term response, Dudley conveyed a sincere desire to ‘make everyone whole’. But compassion is one thing, action is another, Dudley also emphasized that he had the power and clout to achieve that. Watch this space to see if BP really has turned a corner in building the trust and credibility they so desperately need.

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