Continuing our review of CRA12; following in Claire’s footsteps, and after a short break, our next session was about to begin…

Our second speaker, Kevin Murray has over 40 years of communications experience within previous roles including director of communications at British Airways and director of corporate affairs at the UK AEA.  He is now chairman of the Good Relations Group, parent of inEvidence. He took to the stage to talk about his recent book The Language of Leaders, which collates his findings from more than 75 interviews with leading CEO’s from various FTSE 100 companies and other leading businesses.

The 3 D’s

Kevin’s observations on the matter of trust, and the positive influence it has on business success, were backed up with experience across multiple sectors, and illustrated with humour and enthusiasm.

There are three dimensions of trust, he says, Competence, Character and Judgement. As an example, he cited a conversation with Sir Stuart Rose, then CEO of M&S. In May 2009, an online campaign had started to complain about a £2 surcharge on M&S bras for “amply endowed women”, in Kevin’s words. Overnight the campaign leapt from 5,000 to 8,000 women; Sir Stuart realised he needed to act.  He tasked his marketing and communications team to come up with a resolution, and quickly.
“… We Boobed”


The advert in the nationals the following day proclaimed that all bras would immediately be marked at the same price, regardless of size. In response, 30,000 women joined an online group to praise the character and judgment of M&S. This was quickly followed by a jump in the share price.

The good will and positive PR was something that money couldn’t buy, and came from M&S’s Competence at managing the situation, Character in acknowledging and dealing with the problem, and Judgement at the speed and severity that the situation was dealt with.

Studies suggest companies are 2.5 times more successful when they have a wide base of customer advocacy, he says, and it is imperative that businesses recognise the importance of these intangible assets.

After an engaging session, Kevin then fielded questions from a range of individuals, including how Kevin tended to source information, to which Kevin informed that the best form was peer review and recommendation.

Kevin went on to advise that case studies need to be in an ever more digestible format, to ensure people get the relevant information when they need it. However, he appreciated the balance between the need for differing deliverable between SME’s and larger corporate organisations.