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The Art of Influence: Investment in Social Communications as a Factor in Sustainable Social Change
15 February 2019
The growing role of information in the society

We see how high-quality visual content drastically impacts the society — Yuliana Slashcheva, Chairman of the Management Board, Soyuzmultfilm Film Studio.

Amid digital transformation, the amount of information we come across soars, alternative information sources emerge. <…> Now the demand is for openness. The authorities have to meet this request, as they need to build a dialogue with society; they have no other way to be effective otherwise. Openness is also relevant for civil society institutions and non-profit organizations that need to make their practices public, build credibility and create the ripples-on-water effect — Elena Spiridonova, Anchor, NTV Broadcasting Company.

Modern communications make up new challenges and business opportunities

We do not set any business goals, we do not make any money with this. But we realize that the bank should have social credibility with the consumer — Evgenia Lenskaya, Vice President, Director for Marketing and Public Relations, Post Bank.

Modern people are willing to change their behaviour, their habits and follow brands with shared values, those ready to make a difference — Ekaterina Son, General Director, Effie Awards Russia.

The rising generation, people, in general, take their money to brands that align with their values. It is the foundation of people’s trust in a brand and generally is an important component of a business — Anna Akparova, Assistant to the Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation and Presidential Plenipotentiary Envoy to the Far Eastern Federal District.

The role of business in resolving issues the humanity faces is enormous — Anastasia Timoshina, Corporate Affairs Director, Mars Petcare Russia.

The quality of information drops

Social communication is a way to go. We should market kindness, but we face a huge global challenge when technology is ahead of the professional communications ethics. <…> Analogue media is very slow, they require time, money and cross-referencing. <…> The content has become expensive and makes no economic sense. <…> News <…> is full of factoids that create an alternative reality, where you can spend any marketing and public relations budgets to form public opinion. But when you get a surge in response, it is almost impossible to resist — Tinatin Kandelaki, General Producer, Match TV.

The inability of businesses and NPOs to take advantage of information opportunities

Mere communication of values that for some reason seem appropriate does not work. To have the right to communicate and lead people, one needs to transform themselves. This is a complex business problem of transformation and integration, but communications without such a business story are not effective — Ekaterina Son, General Director, Effie Awards Russia.

Working in the regions, we understand that credibility is not easy to build even for a major foundation with resources and ample opportunities. <…> It is quite difficult there for small NPOs and foundations — Fatima Mukhomedzhan, Deputy Director, The Art, Science and Sports Charity Foundation.

All too often, small regional organizations hesitate to talk about what they are doing — Anton Dolgov, Executive Director, Presidential Grants Foundation.

Increased responsibility for the content quality

Content responsibility is as relevant as financial responsibility. Talking about viral on the Internet we meant an adult audience. When we talk about virality for children, safety is crucial — Yuliana Slashcheva, Chairman of the Management Board, Soyuzmultfilm Film Studio.

Development of information literacy

Today they sell ‘emotions–impulse’, not ‘emotions–impulse–meaning’ <…> If you use some kind of communication, and you all produce communication content, you are all media with your phones, then when the head commands the hand, try to add meaning to your emotions and impulse — Tinatin Kandelaki, General Producer, Match TV.

Participation of business in solving social problems

In our regional projects, we have gone away from direct investments, from donations, because we realized that this does not change the substance of a city’s life <…> There is never enough money to make a difference in a small town. We need to change people’s way of thinking, to nurture the feeling that something can be done. Our focus is on young parents who should see prospects and development opportunities in their town — Fatima Mukhomedzhan, Deputy Director, The Art, Science and Sports Charity Foundation.

Big business should take care of the territory, build sports and fitness facilities, engage in trade, and overall organise it. Following the infrastructure, the consciousness of people living there also changes; the infrastructure consolidates a community with certain tasks — Anna Shabarova, Vice President for Human Resources and Social Responsibility, Russian Copper Company; Member of the Board of Trustees, Russian Copper Company Charity Fund .

A raft of communications now simply passes by unnoticed. People, especially the younger generation, are immune to any marketing without inner meaning. <…> Only focusing on something socially significant one can reach out to them — Natalya Dundina, Creative Director, Leo Burnett Moscow.

Business can engage in philanthropy. However now a much more efficient model is when a business does not donate the rouble to something or for some reason, but when it builds itself so that, in addition to producing products and services, selling them and earning profits, they solve social problems along the way — Ekaterina Son, General Director, Effie Awards Russia.

The material was prepared by the Russian news agency TASS