“The skillsets that young people should learn about mining should apply to everything. We just need to do a better job of explaining to people in urban environments that the human activity of mining is absolutely fundamental to the way this planet is going to evolve. Completely and totally fundamental.” - Robert Friedland, Ivanhoe Capital
A few weeks ago, a business trip provided ample time for me to catch up on some podcasts I've neglected from the Northern Miner. It was a pleasure to listen to Episode 70, "The unabridged Robert Friedland sessions" from the publication's Canadian Mining Symposium in London, U.K., in May 2017.
For those familiar with the industry, especially the exploration and development side of it, you know when Mr. Friedland speaks people listen with intent.
The quote above really struck a chord with me. For years, we've heard from leaders and executives throughout the industry that communications, social dialogue and public trust need to be a large part of operations.
So how do we establish clear and concise expectations as to what success looks like through the prism of public discourse? Are those political wins through federal government, such as reforming mine permitting in the United States? Is success measured by increased share price? Or is it measured through increased sentiment value through trust and social licensing?
Whatever your KPIs look like for your communications strategy, it is essential to share your content in the places where people are consuming information. If you believe in Mr. Friedland's statement about sharing the fundamentals of mining to people in urban environments, you need to establish clear paths in reaching that audience.
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. These are the tools urbanites lean on to receive information, share their perspectives and foster communities. These are the tools which help any mining organization deliver messages to a much wider group of individuals than any medium before this time. And these tools will help organizations reach those success factors.
We all know the paradigm of communications has shifted. And if we speak about fundamentals, this shift has not stopped changing. It is still evolving.
With products such as Google Home, we don't even need a computer or smart phone to look up information. All people need to do is ask questions and the system will recognize the voice and provide the information through sound.
In summary, if you want to reach urbanites and share the value of mining to them, you need to participate in the formats where that audience is organizing. Video, social media and updated blog posts are premiere messaging tools. So the next time you would like to share information about drill results or earnings, ask yourself if there are better ways of sharing the story and engaging a more informed audience. Participate in the shift.