Tuesday, 17 January 2012

The ten keys to responsible communication

At Creative Concern we've been busy setting up a European network of like-minded agencies called 'Do Not Smile'; we've got good friends and colleagues now in Paris, Bonn and Brussels and we're actively scoping out more creative agencies with a penchant for sustainability so that we can swell our ranks even further.

As well as sharing ideas and insights, the network means we can collaboratively pitch for international accounts knowing that we have the reach needed to work alongside the bigger multinational agencies.

Anyway - to the point of this posting. I wanted to share one of the many useful nuggets of learning that I've gleaned from our continental friends: the notion of responsible communications. Established by a book of the same name and by a set of guidelines adopted by the French Advertisers Association, responsible communications is all about honesty, transparency and an end to 'greenwashing' particularly on the part of larger, more polluting corporations.

There are ten keys to the concept, scribble them down and apply them next time you're planning a campaign:


  1. Make sure that the represented behaviour is responsible and ethical.
  2. Use an appropriate register and do not exaggerate.
  3. Be honest.
  4. Use arguments that are placed in contact and reflect reality.
  5. Use vocabulary that is clear, precise and easy to understand.
  6. Provide sufficient, transparent and easy-to-access information.
  7. Make sure that what you say is based on reliable, verifiable data.
  8. Use creative/design elements that have a direct, logical connection with the reality being discussed.
  9. Follow the riles of rising logos, acronyms, symbols, trademarks and labels.
  10. Involve service providers such as agencies, copywriters and photographers.


So there you have it... ten steps to more ethical, responsible communications.

The eleventh step? Well you could always join our network.

(With thanks to Gildas and the comrades at Sidiese.)



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