Richard Meade, Editor of Lloyd’s List, Mark Stokes, Communications Director for Lloyd’s Register, Gerard Wynn, Environmental Reporter at Reuters and BLUE’s Executive Director Nick Blythe convened at a debate and discussion hosted by BLUE around the professionalism of communications from marine, energy and environment in London, 22nd September.
Chaired by Scott Cain of The Longrun Venture and former CEO of Enterprise UK, the panel shared their own experiences and insights into communications in the marine, energy and environment sectors alongside the audience, comprised of communications professionals from the maritime community.
Two themes dominated the discussion: the use of social media in the maritime industry and how to meet the challenges of an increasingly globalised market in which the centre of power is moving from west to east at pace.
The response to both themes was unanimous – implementing a clear brand and vision for your company can negate any new challenges facing businesses working in the shipping and related sectors. Seeing brand as a barometer for what your company is and stands for, it was agreed, is key to developing a strong strategy and tactics across both internal and external stakeholder groups.
Whilst the panel and audience evangelised the importance of social, or digital, media as an additional channel for the marine and environmental industries, it was also assessed that an internal digital media policy had to be determined for individual companies as a genuine value-add before implementation.
In summary, the room concluded that although shipping has been a globalised industry since the first Phoenicians set out to trade and can cross cultures today with relative ease, when it comes to the world of communications and engaging with clients and the wider global audience, commitment to a clear strategy is piecemeal at best and, at worst, many corners of the industry are guilty of being shrouded in silence. In an industry with a mindset grounded in ‘no news is good news’ it is the companies that are willing to stand up and be noticed that will see their reputations and bottom lines thrive.