Provokeemea: Comms Rooted In Action Needed In Times Of Change & Complexity

(MENAFN- PRovoke) FRANKFURT- The public relations industry needs to approach communications more strategically-“using human truth to make powerful choices”-as organizations seek to transform themselves to deal with a complex and changing world, Edelman's EMEA chief strategy officer Jay Gallagher told the PRovoke EMEA Summit in Frankfurt yesterday.

Following up on an earlier discussion about the challenges facing companies and their communicators after transformative events such as the pandemic and the invasion of Ukraine,“the way communications shows up has never been more important,” said Gallagher.“Strategy and strategic thinking are crucial.”

Discussing the complex issues facing modern corporations,“there has never been a more diff environment for business to navigate,” he added.“Climate change will affect everything. There is techological transformation, from AI to mayerials science, every industry is going to change. And technology change will never be as slow as it is now.

“Then there's the rise and fall of globalization, more recently the fall, in terms of how supply chains work, how money flows, but also in terms of our attitudes. The Edelman Trust Barometer shows how differently we view companies based in other countries: a 10 points difference company based in the US, compared to domestic marketing, and even more for China. And finally, the culture wars. The barometer found that only 20% of employees are happy to work with someone who has strongly different views on issues that they believe are fundamental.”

The result is that expectations of business have never been higher.“Expectations are changing, and speeding up. People expect business not just to change but to transform. Business is only one of 4 institutions we monitor that is considered both ethical and efficient, and so there is a recognition that business can drive change, and employees and customers will use their wallets to influence how companies act. They expect business to change in response to their values.”

Sybille Dinzer, planning director for Edelman, added:“Transformation is a new business essential. Every business needs to transform. This is not adapting a little bit. It's complete transformation.” She pointed to the recent headlines about the IPCC's assessment that the
2020s will be perhaps the last chance to keep the global rise in temperature to acceptable levels.

“So Gen Z is demanding action because their future is at stake,” Dinzer said.“And we need to understand that they influence the older generations. On issues like this, the older generations are looking to them for leadership.”

When we talk about transformation, a lot of people think about technology and its role in driving change, she said.“But transformation is a human challenge, because you need to take people on this journey with you. You cant force change on people and do it against their will.”

In Germany, she said, the discussion of transportation is a topic of significant debate, with a lot of discussion around fossil fuels and automobiles. Companies, she says, are anxious to talk about e-mobility, but there is considerable consumer skepticism: people are not yet ready to trust e-mobility solutions.

“This is why communications is so critical. You need to explain things, and take people on the journey with you. It's not just about your reputation any more, it has a direct impact on your ability to go on this transformation journey. You have to build trust, which will build resilience in your organization. People will stick with you, they will defend you in criticism. That's the foundation for a successful communications strategy.”

Driving transformation will require a more strategic approach from communicators, said Gallagher, who went on to explain that while the public relations profession has a tendency to use“strategic” as a synonym for“smart,” the reality is that it's“the art of finding solutions rooted in evidence. It creates a framework that means we can move at the speed of news, based on client need and evidence, and we can become more accountable for the impact we have.”

He suggested four principles that need to guide communicators' more strategic approach:

  • First, he said, communicators need to understand that the organization and its audience“are equals. Brands are not able to demand a relationship-and we know relationships are going to be critical to the transformation- they need to earn permission.”
  • Second, corporations and their brands are inextricably linked, the actions of one drives the success of the others.“We should be thinking in a unified way. Our audiences are interconnected, there is no space between consumers and employees and NGOs and policy makers.”
  • Third, success means understanding the role and the value you have in your audience's world.“We need to think beyond the transaction, to think about the role that defines and underpins what we do, how we I show up in the world.”
  • And finally, brands and organizations need to earn permission through actions, not just messages.“You can produce a white paper that is pages and pages, or you can take actions that have an immediate impact. Your words and actions need to be consistent and coherent to build trust.”



Legal Disclaimer:
MENAFN provides the information “as is” without warranty of any kind. We do not accept any responsibility or liability for the accuracy, content, images, videos, licenses, completeness, legality, or reliability of the information contained in this article. If you have any complaints or copyright issues related to this article, kindly contact the provider above.