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Highway 50:50

Breaking Through the Echo Chamber

Thoughts and Learnings from GWEN London and G(irls)20

A version of this post appeared in EdelmanUK Magazine.

G(irls)20, one of Edelman’s global pro bono charities, has a vision of a world where women can fully participate in the economic growth, political stability and social innovations of their countries.

Each year, 20 young female leaders from a G20 country come together with local and global experts at the G(irls)20 Summit, where they produce a dossier of tangible solutions for increasing female labor force participation. The dossier is presented a month later to G20 Leaders for their consideration.

GWEN London hosted a breakfast discussion in the run-up to G(irls)20 with two of the summit’s delegates, Kate Cyr and Dunola Oladapo. We looked at how Kate and Dunola could identify communication strategies that steer clear of the echo chamber, and effectively drive home a resonating message to create action.

Bringing together men and women from across all levels at Edelman London, we collectively unpacked the challenges associated with communicating in a crowded and noisy environment, one where we have seen plenty of energy and a desire for change, but where concrete action is limited.

Our advice focused on the need for credibility, authenticity and most importantly trust. In an environment where trust is at an all-time low, it is more important than ever to develop genuine communication strategies. By this, we mean strategies that are devoid of buzz words, are spoken in earnest and, crucially, are tangible. Communicators must craft a realistic call-to-action for the individual and, they must be prepared to act on it themselves.

The situation regarding the global female labor force is complicated. Culture, poverty, geography, minority status, early marriage or pregnancy, and traditional perceptions about the status and role of women are among the many challenges that stand in the way of women’s and girls’ ability to partake in and benefit from education and employment.

We concluded that a successful campaign does therefore not necessarily need to be glossy, come with a large budget, or a set of celebrity influencers. Rather, it is the small, local operations that hold substance and credibility in their communities, as well as a clear call-to-action, that can help create as much meaningful activity and change. As Swami Sivananda put it, “A mountain is made up of grains. The ocean is made up of tiny drops of water. Even so, life is but an endless series of little details, actions, speeches, and thoughts. And the consequences, whether good or bad, of even the least of them are far-reaching.”

Gabriella Siciliano is a senior account manager, Edelman UK.
Angela Steiner is a senior account manager, Edelman UK.
Claudia Gibson is an account executive, Edelman UK.
Laura Furness is a senior account manager, Edelman UK.

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