Who do we work for?

An important question anyone managing a business must ask themselves.

I have said since the start that Don’t Cry Wolf is there to work with organisations who want to communicate honestly.

What I didn’t anticipate was how people would interpret this statement. A significant number take this to mean that we work in the not-for-profit sector.

Which we do.

But it accounts for about 1/5 of our revenue stream.

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

The vast majority of businesses that partner with Don’t Cry Wolf are for profit organisations, with shareholders and CEOs and margins and customers and products.

What makes them distinctive is that they have an insatiable appetite for communicating in a human, honest and sometimes even vulnerable way with their audiences.

This is where we’re really put to the test. While not-for-profits share similar challenges with authentic, committed communications, some for profit businesses can consider it counter productive to speak with an honest voice.

Why admit fault or give a (very human) appearance of not being perfect, when you can maintain a stiff upper lip and a steady share price?

Interestingly, this has taken us down paths we couldn’t have anticipated.

Some of the most challenging projects we’ve been working on this year have involved less external communication and more internal mindset changes. A few noteworthy ones have been:

  1. Convincing 300 customer service agents that it’s ok to say that you don’t have the answer, rather than pretend you do.
  2. Owning a significant crisis issue and working with the leadership team to understand that, irrespective of where blame lies, we should help those affected first, without judgement or hesitation, and then figure out what went wrong.
  3. Moving a brand away from closed off ‘brand strategy meetings’ and into a position where the whole organisation feels ownership of the new brand voice rather than just those with the biggest shareholding.

It’s been an extraordinary year so far, I couldn’t have hoped for better.

And, encouragingly, I have never been more convinced that the Don’t Cry Wolf response to ‘who do you work for?’ question is the right one and the most exciting.