Virtually everyone has some link to preschool, school and education. Everyone went to school and nearly everyone knows someone who goes to school. Many people have opinions about school. Many people think they know what school should be like.
Consequently, what is said about our sector, and anyone who speaks about these issues, affect many people.
What we communicate and how we communicate affect the confidence many people have in both AcadeMedia and all our subsidiaries/brands because our core activity, education, affects so many people.
This Communication Policy applies to AcadeMedia and all its subsidiaries and brands in all countries in which we operate. It also applies to all forms of communication and all channels. The following appendices are attached to this document:
- IR policy (Appendix 1, in Swedish). The IR policy is also included as a sub-heading in this general Communication Policy. In addition to the policy itself, the appendix contains detailed guidelines on the conduct of IR work. These guidelines meet the requirements made of a listed company. The IR policy applies in all countries in which AcadeMedia operates.
- Insider policy (Appendix 2, in Swedish). The insider policy applies in all countries in which AcadeMedia operates.
- Guidelines for social media (Appendix 3, in Swedish). Guidelines for social media must be in place in all countries in which AcadeMedia operates. However, these guidelines are local and are written in each country.
- Guidelines for crisis management (Appendix 4, in Swedish). Guidelines for crisis management must be in place in all countries in which AcadeMedia operates. However, these guidelines are local and are written in each country.
- Internal communication policy (Appendix 5, in Swedish). Guidelines for internal communication must be in place in all countries in which AcadeMedia operates. However, these guidelines are local and are written in each country.
- Whistleblower policy (Appendix 6, in Swedish).
1 Objectives of AcadeMedia’s communication
The communication should:
- Generate trust and confidence in AcadeMedia and all of AcadeMedia’s subsidiaries/brands.
- Show that AcadeMedia is a strong, positive driver for the development of the educational system in all countries in which AcadeMedia operates.
- Contribute to achieving AcadeMedia’s objectives and vision.
- Contribute to AcadeMedia being perceived as an attractive employer by both its employees and potential employees.
- Contribute to the efficiency and high quality of our internal work.
- Be open, honest and fast.
2 Conditions for AcadeMedia’s communication
Everything we do involves communication. Consequently, our words and our actions must match. AcadeMedia’s communication work must be open, honest and fast – these are characteristics that generate confidence and credibility.
AcadeMedia holds a special position in the Swedish educational sector. We are the largest provider and we operate at all levels of education, from preschools to adult education. This combination means that we will always be the object of scrutiny, and this places special demands on our communication. We must be a role model, both in what AcadeMedia does and what it contributes, and in how we communicate what we do.
Our brand strategy also places special demands on communication. What is communicated and how it is communicated vary greatly from brand to brand. The only common denominator is the general objectives (1), and regulations/guidelines that exist (see appendices).
All employees are subject to this policy. Communication officers and other managers have a special responsibility for ensuring that the Communication Policy is applied on a day-to-day basis. Only then does it become a practical tool and not just a document to be read.
Employees of AcadeMedia who want to participate in public debate about preschools, schools and adult education and take part in various public discussions both may and should do so. However, they may not speak on behalf of AcadeMedia or any of its subsidiaries unless their role involves this responsibility. The Group spokespersons are specified in Section 7 of this Communication Policy.
Financial communication and crisis communication are subject to special rules. See Appendix 1 (IR policy, in Swedish) and Appendix 4 (Crisis management policy, in Swedish).
3 Key words
AcadeMedia strives to live up to the meaning of the following words in its communication:
This means that we always answer questions, even if only by saying that “we are unable to answer that, unfortunately [give reasons]”. We see each chance to communicate as an opportunity. We also have many spokespersons (defined below). Each of them speaks about their expert area.
We are honest and represent a correct, comprehensible picture of reality. Trust is a consequence of honesty, and trust is one of the objectives of our communication. All our communication must be of a high quality in the eyes of both the sender and the recipient. This means that it must be comprehensible, relevant and adapted to the target group and channel chosen. Only then does it really become honest.
Communication is fast today. It may be planned for a long time, but when it is launched and you lose control, it can soon take on a life of its own. This is particularly true of communication via mass media and in social media. We must never lag behind. We must always lead the way. Sometimes we are one step ahead. AcadeMedia both wants and has the opportunity to help shape the development of the educational sector. Communication plays a major role in this.
4 Target groups
As, in principle, everyone is affected by the education system, we have a very wide target group that we want to have a positive image of us. We divide our target groups into two main groups, a general target group and a financial target group. The financial group is discussed in detail in the IR policy (Appendix 1, in Swedish). However, it is important always to bear in mind that the target groups always overlap each other. Employees and guardians may be shareholders. A financial analyst may discuss education issues in social media. One of the most important of AcadeMedia’s communication objectives is to be a strong, positive driver in the education system in the countries in which we operate. This is a message that should reach all target groups. A consequence of this reasoning is that all communication must be easily accessible, not just in practical terms but also in terms of its content. We must use language that is understood by all target groups. Consequently, AcadeMedia has drawn up a simple, easy-to-follow style guide (in Swedish) that must always be followed in all written communication.
General target groups
- Employees and potential employees
- Children, students, participants and guardians, both existing and potential
- Politicians, public authorities and opinion formers (nationally and locally)
- Media (sometimes a channel, sometimes a target group)
- News media
- Trade and specialist media
- The general public
Financial target groups
- Shareholders and potential shareholders
- Financial analysts
- Business media
- NASDAQ Stockholm
- The Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority
- Banks and lenders
5 Main message
AcadeMedia’s main message applies in all companies in the Group. Subsidiaries may add their own messages. Messages are not ready-made sentences that we should rattle off. They are contents and a feeling that should be communicated in all interviews and on other occasions when we communicate, both internally and externally.
- AcadeMedia is a company that benefits society and builds communities. We have a long history, which makes us credible and strong.
- AcadeMedia is a strong, positive driver in the Swedish education system.
- AcadeMedia is a long-term sustainable organisation with high quality ambitions.
- We improve our students’ abilities to achieve their goals.
- Our most important objective is that everyone who chooses our centres should achieve both the objectives of the education and their own full potential.
6 IR policy
Information must be provided to the capital market under existing legislation, NASDAQ Stockholm’s information rules, the regulations of the Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority and generally recognised practice. AcadeMedia’s provision of information must be characterised by the following principles:
- Reliability– AcadeMedia must provide correct, relevant and up-to-date information that gives the target groups a good understanding of what is happening at AcadeMedia and on AcadeMedia’s market.
- Speed– unless special circumstances dictate otherwise, information must be published as soon as possible.
- Simultaneity– AcadeMedia must publish information so that it reaches all financial target groups at the same time and without discrimination.
- Long view and consistency– AcadeMedia must build trust by providing information consistently and correctly to minimise the risk of surprises. Contacts must be continuous and AcadeMedia must strive to facilitate comparability in its information.
- Availability– the CEO, CFO, Communications Director or IR officer must always be available when press releases have been sent out or the Group is in the news. If none of these individuals is available, there must be a designated spokesperson or a press officer who can reach a spokesperson.
If AcadeMedia makes a decision that may be expected to affect the image of the company’s situation generated by information published previously or otherwise affect the valuation of AcadeMedia (price-sensitive information), we must immediately publish the decision. This is done in a press release that is distributed both via our own website and via a professional distribution channel that complies with all stock exchange rules. This duty to provide information also applies to events beyond the company’s control that may have the same effect.
In all such cases, we need to consider whether we should notify NASDAQ Stockholm prior to publication.
AcadeMedia must publish its press releases and financial statements in both Swedish and English. This also applies to the information on the website concerning financial information, IR and corporate governance.
Questions from the media must be prioritised and answered quickly. We should always reply to journalists who contact us within no more than three hours. We also always ask to read the quotations that will be used before they are published.
All financial communication must comply with AcadeMedia’s IR policy (Appendix 1, in Swedish), in which spokespersons for financial issues are defined. Consequently, this Section 7 of our general Communication Policy applies to all communication, not just financial communication.
The questions each role should answer are listed below. The spokespersons may also answer more general questions or participate in public debate. However, this is not a requirement. However, it is required that questions from the media about our activities are always answered.
High availability is essential to good media relations. An acting spokesperson must always be appointed in the event of annual leave or other absence.
Heads of preschools, head teachers and unit managers
Our heads of preschools, head teachers and unit managers are our most important spokespersons as we are very keen to talk about our units and what is happening in them.
These persons’ responsibilities include building relationships with relevant media near the school. The media that should be included in the network are print media, online media and broadcast media. One of the tasks is to ensure that news about the school/unit reaches these media.
The responsibilities of the heads of preschools, head teachers and unit managers also include answering questions from the media when the media contact us. If they are not available, the person who receives inquiries from the media must always refer the caller to the operations manager or educational director or the segment’s or Group’s communications department.
Operations managers and educational directors
Operations managers and educational directors speak on matters concerning their specific regions/activities and are responsible for being in contact with major media operators. They need not build media networks themselves (although there is nothing to stop them doing so), but they need to have a high level of availability to support their unit managers and to answer questions concerning the various schools/units.
Regional managers/operations managers must answer questions about their own activities.
The CEO may, of course, speak on all matters but should primarily appear on matters concerning general issues, whether they concern education, the sector or AcadeMedia as a company.
The Communications Director should primarily function as the link between the media and the right interviewee at AcadeMedia and assist the media with background material/facts. They may also give interviews when appropriate.
The members of the Group management team at AcadeMedia are spokespersons in their respective areas.
AcadeMedia also has a large number of highly skilled specialists in various areas such as quality, student health, integration, vocational training, small children’s learning processes, etc. The list is long. These specialists are spokespersons both in relation to the media and at various conferences attended or organised by AcadeMedia.
We may also appoint special spokespersons for particular inquiries.
Complex/complicated communication situations
It is best if the designated communicators/specialists are also spokespersons in difficult communication situations, for example in relation to investigative journalism programmes such as Uppdrag Granskning and Kalla Fakta or other investigative journalism. However, the Group communications department may also appoint a different spokesperson by agreement. This is done if the normal spokesperson should not appear for any reason.
8 Channels in brief
The most effective channels are often those we own ourselves. We can say what we want, when we want. At the same time, the range is limited, for which reason it is very important for us to reach out via other channels as well. Our different channels require different types of information and different tones. We use the right tone, and the right message, in each channel.
- Press releases (published on our website and via selected distribution services)
- Support letter
- Internal newsletters (at Group and operational levels)
- Folders, brochures, pocket cards
- Meetings (from trade fairs and open house events to one-to-one meetings with important politicians)
- All other social platforms that are relevant
Social media are subject to special guidelines (Appendix 3, in Swedish).
- Comments on blogs/websites
The CEO has principal responsibility for AcadeMedia’s communication.
The Communications Director at AcadeMedia is responsible for compliance with this Communication Policy in the Group.
The Group communications department supports all brands.
The segments are responsible for both external and internal communication within each segment. The Group communications department advises and supports all segments.
10 Crisis communication
In the event of a crisis, a brand’s or AcadeMedia’s crisis organisation is activated. The level chosen depends on the type of crisis concerned. The general objectives (1) also apply in the event of crises. The other items in this Communication Policy may be ignored. However, this does not apply to the stock exchange rules, which must always be followed. How AcadeMedia’s crisis organisation functions is described in Appendix 4, Guidelines for crisis management (in Swedish).
When a crisis group somewhere in the organisation is activated, the Group Communications Director must always be notified.
For more information and if you have any questions about this Communication Policy, please contact:
Paula Hammerskog, Communications Director, AcadeMedia
email@example.com +46 (0)733 34 87 50