A thought on #bellletstalk day

Today’s the day that no doubt you are being bombarded by posts on social media by people sharing their encouraging thoughts or their stories to break down the stigma associated with mental health. It’s a pretty phenomenal concept when you think about. An entire movement crossing multiple demographics all concerned with the well being of strangers.

More amazing is the fact that it is all because of a corporate social responsibility campaign by Bell Canada. It’s a lesson on the power of excellent corporate leadership to put their brand power behind breaking down harmful social taboos. It is too easy to look at this through a cynics eyes and see this campaign as a ploy to boost their brand and take advantage of Canada’s tax code to maximise profits. Which is also why I’ve seen this story circulated in the last few days on social media:

I for one initially bought into the cynics arguments that Bell are hypocrites and should be tarred and feathered. Metaphorically of course. However, I pondered it over for a moment.

Bell is a corporation just like any other. And of course they are using #bellletstalk to promote their brand. Before we take the plunge into cynicism though, take a step back and look at the bigger picture. The campaign has truly transcended a mere corporate branding effort. Bell has shown real leadership on an issue a few years ago no one would have touched. As well, they have fostered real social change, by putting mental health into the public consciousness year round. It’s the sort of actions we’d wish more corporations would undertake.

A company that has taken their CSR campaign to the level that Bell has ought to be commended. That doesn’t mean though they are above scrutiny. If Bell is going to continue to be the champions of mental health care, they need to make sure they walk the walk. I hope they look at this story as a chance for growth and an opportunity to take their phenomenally successful campaign to the next level.

It’s an opportunity to set the bar for corporate treatment of its employees and clients. How do they create a culture that helps employees to become the best that they can be? Where they can become leaders in fostering excellent mental well being? Where that attitude towards good mental health can translate into excellence in service to clients? They can continue to be leaders in mental health awareness by setting the benchmark for other corporations around the world to aspire to emulate. To me it would be the next logical step on the CSR journey they have undertaken.

It’s an ambitious task to be sure, but if Bell is able to build the #bellletstalk campaign into what it is today, they are surely capable of achieving this.

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