In a world where you can be anything…be kind

In a world where you can be anything…be kind

Every day we hear calls to “just be kind”.  There is a strong movement calling for us all to consider kindness in how we should live, think, act, treat others and increasingly importantly, communicate.

This is not a new message – Roman philosopher Marcus Aurelius said “Kindness is mankind’s greatest delight” – the growing kindness movement today is one that communicators across all sectors can take lots of inspiration from.

Kindness is contagious

Scientist, author and advocate for kindness, Dr David Hamilton, highlights research from Harvard and Yale that shows how kindness creates a ripple effect – when you are kind to someone, that person will be kind or kinder to someone else, who will then be kinder to someone else and so on, continuing its effects way beyond your single act of kindness.

Not only is being kind good for our health and wellbeing, it has the potential to transform how companies and brands communicate and engage with their audiences. Put simply, being kind is good for you and your business.

Building trust

Kindness builds trust. It shows that organisations have empathy with their customers and their staff, and it inspires people to act. Jon Goldstone of Brandgym highlighted that to be kind, a brand needs to speak to its target audience in a tone that is authentic, honest and transparent, and over time it will become trusted. The actions of the organisation must of course be consistent with the brand, but I know what he means!

A great example of this in practice is in the health and wellbeing sector, where new brands like Deliciously Ella are creating a new model of business where the leaders communicate directly with their audiences, sharing honest content, giving insight into their lives and using this to encourage thoughtfulness and kindness – to ourselves, to the environment and to each other.  How can we encourage more of this I wonder?

Social media

Companies that have conversations based on a desire to be kind and engage empathetically with their customers on social media have stronger reputations. This builds trust and trust builds business.

A great example of one company that successfully used social media to turn a potentially negative situation into a positive was when Yorkshire Tea faced a backlash of comments after Rishi Sunak posted a picture that included a bag of its teabags. They reminded us that there are real people behind company social media accounts and put out a call for people to try and be kind. It was an authentic and honest call for empathy, with a bit of humour, and the response that followed was overwhelmingly positive. I was moved to buy their tea, and I am sure others were too!

A culture of kindness

Workplace civility is an important cultural issue for organisations – how we treat each other has a huge impact on how teams perform, how committed they are and how much trust they have in their employer. Research shows that if we experience rudeness at work, our ability to do our jobs can be reduced by up to 61%.  This matters!

How we communicate and facilitate conversations and engagement internally has an important part to play in creating a culture of kindness, supporting civility and enabling everyone to feel better informed, respected and engaged in their work.

Be kind

In an ever-changing world and particularly in the challenging time that we all face at the moment, it’s the companies that are acting and communicating with kindness and compassion that are really standing out for the crowd.

It’s never been more important in a world where you can be anything, to be kind.

Let’s do that and raise a cup of Yorkshire Tea to an ancient Roman!

Sarah Harvey