Sky – trust is the foundation of durable success

by: Lucinda Southern on 12 March 2015

At ISBA's annual conference, Sky outlines how it future-proofs for long-term success

At ISBA’s (Incorporated Society of British Advertisers) annual conference in London this week, Group Director Corporate Affairs at Sky, Graham McWilliam, outlined how the company builds its business to deliver long-term success and benefit the wider community.

A quote referenced earlier in the day by David Jones, former CEO of Havas & Havas Worldwide, originally by Bill Gates, highlights that “We always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years and underestimate the change that will occur in the next ten,” and tallies with company concerns of inaction leading to failure.

To demonstrate, social media platforms like Instagram and SnapChat have recently excited marketers and have been incorporated into strategies. While ten years ago no one was on Facebook, and Kodak, a word-of-warning case study, was experiencing its most successful period.

With this in mind, long-term success is what every business wants; “there needs to be trust in building a durable business,” says McWilliam. “Everything we do at Sky we look at through the lens of how it withstands the test of time. Trust is the foundation of durable success,” he says.

Trust between the company and its consumers is as important as with its shareholders, and Sky has three approaches that underpin its global success in action to bolster this trust.

Day-to-day activity – 50 million of Sky’s products are being used daily, in the UK we spend on average four hours watching Sky’s products, the use case is huge. And with a large social media following and a more democratic involvement from the audience in its news products, Sky’s overall offering is vast and so is contributing to the growth of the economy; 117,000 jobs are dependent on Sky, it contributes £2.7bn in tax annually, and £6bn in GDP annually.

Doing the right thing – Recently it has launched Broadband Shield, a website blocker that works at a network level on all devices in the home to keep children safe online. “It’s been remarkably controversial,” admits McWilliam, “people were worried that it would censor the wrong material, or that it might provide a false sense of security for parents. These are things we thought about when developing it and we still thought it was the right thing to do and important to building trust.”

Reaching beyond business – Adding value to the wider community in order to make positive impact on society is something Sky talks publicly about and we’ve covered in the past. It has also manifested in the launch of the Sky Academy (see video) in 2013. It supports young people through art, sports, delivering skills and building up knowledge, and as a long-term aim is planning to give opportunities to 1 million young people by 2020.