How to build your reputation with CSR

As organizations face ongoing chaos from the global pandemic and hot-button political strife, the comms role must help bring the right people to together to solve today’s challenges.

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Building your organization’s reputation these days can be a tricky business—particularly with accusations of “greenwashing” awaiting companies that are all talk and no action.

To develop trust around a mission with an environmental objective or a social justice aim, communicators will have to be active, thoughtful and ambitious. That’s the view of Travis Parman, chief communications officer for AppHarvest, an industrial greenhouse grower based in Kentucky. Parman’s organization builds large indoor farms designed to create good jobs in Appalachia as well as provide nutritious foods for the region—all while fostering innovation around water conservation and green farming practices. That means Parman has quite a few needles to thread when it comes to messaging.

Perhaps that’s why he sees the top concern facing the communications industry for 2021 as the “chaos” that has so buffeted organizations of all stripes during the past year.

“It really shines a light on communicators to be able to manage through [the chaos] and to be the rudder of the organization to keep folks on message and on priority when it comes to the stories that they need to be telling,” Parman says.

Travis Parman

The year of the crisis

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