Weeknote 19: Being nice is good for business. And scaring people is not.

Wallingford Bunkfest: a festival atmosphere with families, flags and stalls in a park with a blue sky.

Wallingford Bunkfest: a celebration to mark the end of summer.

It’s official: being nice is good for business.  A bunch of bosses from big American corporates have put out a statement telling us so. According to the New York Times, the Business Roundtable has declared that the responsibility of business is no longer just to its shareholders: now, there must be a “fundamental commitment to all of our stakeholders”. That means employees, suppliers, the environment and so on.

Back in the UK, there’s a campaign for Kindness and Leadership “recognising the contribution of kind leaders to business, the economy and society”. Oxford University and the Said Business School are among the partners. The campaign will showcase 50 leaders who meet these criteria, announcing them on World Kindness Day, 13th November.

Maybe there’s something in the air, because seeing this coincided with me reading ValuAble by local businessman Mike Jennings. It’s about (you guessed it) ethical business.  The book describes how Mike discovered the values that he wanted to underpin his business, and his mission to spread the word about this “people before profit” approach.

I’m starting to wonder whether I will eventually lose all my Unique Selling Points. I was an early adopter when it came to making websites (I started in the last century), and now everyone’s doing it. I cared about sustainability before most people realised there was a climate crisis. And I’ve always tried to be a nice person and run my business on ethical values… And now everyone is doing it! Well, that can’t be a bad thing for the world.

What I’ve learnt this week fortnight

I took part in a “Podcast Knowledge Share Workshop” run by David Perry, a member of the Creative Meetup. It was a fun session in which we analysed some favourite podcasts, disagreed on our likes and dislikes, and played with some different technology. David really knows about sound, and we all know about content, so it was a good way to learn from each other.

The workshop was at The Old Counting House in Wallingford, a newish small business space that’s an asset to the town. I enjoyed being there.

Coming soon

I’m quite excited about two new projects I’ve got coming up this autumn. More about them later.

In other news

A public sector campaign aimed at raising awareness of emergency planning caused some consternation among the public. The hashtags #GrabBag and #30days30waysUK seemed to appear suddenly and without any explanation. In a week that the Yellowhammer documents were dominating the news, that was always going to ring alarm bells.

It turns out that September is “preparedness month” and it’s an annual campaign. It’s all explained on a website called 30 Days 30 Ways UK. It’s just a pity there wasn’t more context, or explanation, in the tweets.

Public sector comms specialist Dan Slee has analysed the responses. “It’s safe to say,” he concludes, “the hashtag didn’t really perform as intended.”

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