BC tip: LVMH and Mercier Champagne – Sustainability messaging lacks fizz

Parent and subsidiary companies fail to keep their offline and online communications consistent

Champagne Mercier website - cellar tour page

Champagne Mercier website - cellar tour page

The feature

Mercier Champagne, based in Epernay, France, offers a charming train tour of its impressive caves (cellars), which we were lucky enough to experience recently. The audio guide talks about the brand’s sustainability efforts, including the reduction of herbicides and pesticides through the use of natural alternatives, such as bugs. It also references its parent brand LVMH’s commitment to sustainability.

The Mercier website does not evidence the sustainable activities, even on the page dedicated to the tour , nor does it link to the LVMH website. The Mercier page on that site is engaging, but also fails to mention sustainability – and the main area of LVMH’s site dedicated to social and environmental responsibility is sparse too.

The takeaway

We often encounter organizations which fail to ensure that the messages on their global corporate and brand or subsidiary sites match up. In this case the sites themselves are not linked together well either – at least from the subsidiary to the parent site.

It is also important that offline and online communications are joined up. When they are not, the impact of messaging is diminished, and inconsistency can undermine authenticity. In our experience, governance is often at the heart of such problems: digital managers and teams must not be in a silo.

For more commentaries, tips and downloads for online corporate communications professionals, visit our website.

If you have a query or for more information about Bowen Craggs, please contact Dan Drury: ddrury@bowencraggs.com.

BC tip: AB InBev - Clear CSR reporting

A brewing giant is unusually clear in explaining its approach to corporate social responsibility reporting.

ABInBev CSR.png

The Feature

‘Reporting at AB InBev’ is a page within the 2015 Global Citizenship Report section on the Belgium-headquartered brewer’s corporate website. It explains exactly what readers will find in the report – ‘annual update on key performance data… and specific targets in our Better World Plan’; and for whom the report is intended: ‘to provide meaningful updates to stakeholders around the world, including investors, employees, governments, NGOs, and customers and consumers in the 26 countries where we operate’.

The page goes on to explain details that CSR professionals and other stakeholders will find valuable - the reporting standard used (Global Reporting Initiative’s G4 ‘Core’ level), how it verified the data and stories, and how reporting via the website and PDF complement each other.

The Takeaway

‘Reporting at AB InBev’ stands out for its straightforward organization and clear language. The structure follows the ‘inverted pyramid’ of effective journalistic writing – putting the most important information at the top and increasing amounts of detail below. It is a simple technique (but which takes effort to get right) and is often neglected on corporate websites.

The page is also unusual in explaining how the website and PDF work together – ‘the PDF document primarily summarizes our 2015 activities… while the website provides further information on our Better World strategy and ongoing activities, and offers in depth exploration of key data and metrics’.

There could be a website shake-up in the near future, given that the merger with SABMiller is about to be completed, but AB InBev’s current approach to explaining its CSR efforts could be useful model for explaining any complex topic online in a coherent, straightforward way.