A new study from Hotwire Australia reveals the extent of the disconnect in how Australian companies communicate their corporate values externally and internally.

According to a new study, just 34 per cent of Australian marketing leaders believe their organisation’s communications reflect core values the vast majority of the time, compared with 48 per cent globally. 

These new findings come at a time when the communication of organisational values has arguably never been more important, in the wake of the Banking Royal Commission, the #MeToo movement, and major organisations prioritising environmental stances such as banning plastic bags. 

In spite of poorly communicated values, 83 per cent of business decision makers take organisational values into account when making a B2B purchasing decision, demonstrating the impetus for greater focus on development, communication, and strategy behind these values. A further two-thirds (64 per cent) of BDMs say alignment of organisational core values is taken into consideration in the procurement process as a specific step. 

The report, titled ‘High-Stakes Leadership in Australia,’ conducted by global communications agency Hotwire, surveyed 200 local marketing and business leaders on various values alignment issues, and the impact this has on high-stakes crisis management. 

Australia was found to have a higher instance than any other country globally to responding to high-stakes communications issues and crises— such as harassment claims, data security, and environmental disasters—underpinning the need to ground leadership teams to core sets of values.   

Other key findings from the survey include: 

  • Only half of the Australian BDMs surveyed have their company core values communicated to them at least weekly 
  • 52 per cent of Australian BDMs think their organisation should take more of a stand on notable issues (compared with 57 per cent globally). The most popular issue BDMs think their organisation should take a stand on is data security at 38 per cent, followed by gender discrimination and equality at 33 per cent.
  • 77 per cent of Australian consumers align their spending habits to their personal values. A further 87 per cent of consumers would consider ditching a product or service from a brand that handled a hig–stakes issue in a way that violated their personal values. 

Mylan Vu, Managing Director of Hotwire Australia, believes having clearly defined organisational values, communicated regularly, is the best means of preparing for and combatting high-stakes communications events. 

“Australian business leaders must address the cry-out from businesses and consumers for stronger organisational values. There’s clearly not enough ongoing communication reinforcing organisational values, which should really be thought of as a key piece of armour in the battle to protect company reputation or reinforce values in everyday and exceptional circumstances,” said Vu. 

“Without well communicated and clear values, organisations stand on shaky foundations when dealing with issues such as environmental stances, mental health initiatives, financial corruption, or discrimination.”  

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