THE CONSIDERATE WAY TO DO BUSINESS

B CORP STYLE

By Nikki Francis-Jones, Director, Gong Communications

It’s a requirement for B Corps during certification to “consider the impact of their decisions on their workers, customers, suppliers, community, and the environment”. Few would argue that people are the very core of a thriving business; attracting and retaining the right talent not only means doing work with like-minded colleagues that is purpose driven but it also means working with people externally who are similarly socially conscious. We experienced first-hand the oft mentioned B Corp spirit of collaboration during a recent website project.

Introductions first: Gong Communications was among the first UK communications agencies to achieve certification in 2017. This year we were made Best for the World Honorees (Workers), our MD, Narda Shirley, is one of 18 B Corp Ambassadors in a new UK programme and our Nairobi team were delighted to attend the October launch of B Labs in Kenya.

Yep. We’re proud to be a B Corp. It has led to new colleagues, new networks and new business. There’s something about cooperating with like-minded people that makes work seem less like, well, work. Fellow B Corp, Resource Futures, which enables clients to positively manage material resources, found us through the network, and developing their new website was our first professional B Corp collaboration. And the experience has only deepened our enthusiasm to work with more B Corps. Project managing a web build necessitates a fair degree of back and forth particularly in a multi stakeholder set up. The consideration and efficiency shown by the Resource Futures team has catapulted them to the top of our ‘best practice web build leader board’ or it would have done if there was one! Deadlines were adhered to, questions were gathered in a list before sharing, well-thought out feedback was collated internally first then clearly delivered in comprehensive responses (rather than a flurry of 15 different opinions on 15 different emails for us to decipher and diplomatically referee – it happens). Payments were made on or ahead of time. The stand out adjective here is Consideration. The B Corp spirit is Considerate. Which nicely ties in with our values too. The smooth running of the build was no mean feat given that two of the team members worked flexibly (Considerate employers). We were delighted to work with an organisation that has protecting and preserving our planet at its heart and with a team as mindful of our time constraints as suppliers as we were of theirs as clients. More please!

Each client journey varies but for anyone reading this who is considering a new web build or a refresh for your organisation, here are a few tips to getting started:

1. Think big picture. Ideally your website should be aligned to your communications strategy. All of your marketing communications needs to be joined up. Brochures, trade show booths, business cards and social media etc. need to be mutually reinforcing and designed to support your business goals.

2. What is the purpose of your website? Do you want it to be an online brochure, act as a sales funnel or something more interactive? It’s important to think about this upfront as it’ll affect the build process (and cost).

3. Embarking on a new website or a refresh can be a great way to engage employees behind a fresh organisational vision. You may want to ask your staff to suggest websites in your sector they like the look of and why, to generate interest in your new site. However, it’s advisable to limit the number of people in the actual development process to a small team otherwise finding consensus can be a challenge and deadlines might not be met.

4. Right at the start, once the domain name has been registered and hosting organised, start focusing on security and getting the right certificates in place, if you haven’t already, or, your web build partner can help you with this.

5. Consider what kind of Content Management System (CMS) you want to use? WordPress remains one of the most user-friendly and cost-effective options and it’s possible to scale WordPress and build it up in stages when budgets grow.

6. Your website should reflect your organisation’s personality. Think ahead and, if possible, commission some of your own photography, illustration or animation to ensure your website stands out from the crowd.

7. The style and tone of the words also need to accurately mirror your ethos. If you are developing your own content make sure you do your search engine optimisation research first.

8. Allow enough time. It’s easier to work out the flow of the website when all elements are considered so agree your site map before starting any coding. Adding sections later can delay the process and blow the budget. As a guide, from concept to going live, we can deliver a simple scrolling website in five to six weeks. However, sometimes getting internal approvals for concepts and text take longer, so 9 to 12 weeks is a more realistic timeframe.

You can view our Creative Portfolio here.