Global Emergence: A Davos RoundTable E-book


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We hosted a roundtable for communications leaders including Ken Makovsky, president, Makovsky & Company; Britt Zarling, director of global strategic communications and thought leadership, Manpower Group; Paul Fox, director of corporate communications, P&G; Olivier Fleurot, CEO, MSLGROUP; Michael Petruzzello, managing partner, Qorvis; Gerard Meuchner, VP and chief global communications officer, Henry Schein; Andrew Katell, SVP of communications, GE Energy Financial Services. Bernadette Casey, senior editor of PRWeek moderated the discussion on communication take-aways from the 2013 World Economic Forum, held in Davos.

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Global Emergence: A Davos RoundTable E-book

  1. 1. Global DAVOS ROUNDTABLE emergenceThe World Economic Forum took place from January 23-27 in Davos,Switzerland. In this MSLGroup-hosted roundtable, senior leaders joinedPRWeek senior editor Bernadette Casey in New York to discuss someof the key communications takeaways from this year’s annual gathering All photos by andrea fischmanFrom left: Ken Makovsky, president, Makovsky & Company; Britt Zarling, director of global strategic comms and thought leadership,ManpowerGroup; Paul Fox, director of corporate comms, P&G; Olivier Fleurot, CEO, MSLGroup; Michael Petruzzello, managing partner,Qorvis; Gerard Meuchner, VP and chief global comms officer, Henry Schein; Andrew Katell, SVP of comms, GE Energy Financial Services
  2. 2. DAVOS ROUNDTABLEResilient dynamismBernadette Casey (PRWeek): The theme of this year’sevent was resilient dynamism. What does this concept meanto today’s communicators?Gerard Meuchner (Henry Schein): When I thinkof resilience, I think of stamina. In our 24/7 world,we need more stamina than ever to do our work becauseit’s nonstop. That notion of resilience speaks directlyto our responsibilities. In terms of dynamism, look at how much the medialandscape has changed in the short time we’ve all been inthis profession. We’ve gone from the days of a handful ofmajor media to folks approaching us constantly from allsorts of media outlets. As such, we need to think at a higherand faster level to keep up with volume and demand. Resilient dynamism is not only about needing the staminato do the work we do, but also having a nimble mind tomanage the very different audiences in this new world.Paul Fox (P&G): Business has always been accelerating,but it’s doing so at even greater speed now. As commu-nicators, perhaps change is the only constant we dealwith today. In that respect, our ability to stay intimately intouch with the audiences we’re trying to serve has become “for a very long time, theabsolutely crucial. industry has been completelyKen Makovsky (Makovsky & Company): Our business decentralized. this can’t last“has always required resilient dynamism, but today you have – Olivier Fleurot, MSLGroupto be quickly resilient. You have to manage change morerapidly because we’re so hyper-connected today. There’s an old saying about having PR whether you want almost too late because it can escalate out of control veryit or not. That particular point is more relevant than ever rapidly. That reality requires much greater anticipation ofbecause it doesn’t matter today whether you’re a CEO or issues and preparation of contingency plans.a small business manager. In either case, you’re public. You In the world I work in, we now have a regulator wereally cannot wait for the opposition to frame an argument didn’t have before and we must be much more carefulwithout you and basically wait for the problem to go away about how we communicate, as well as operate overall asbecause it’s not going to happen. a business. Regulators are a fairly new external audience that we have to consider.Britt Zarling (ManpowerGroup): In thinking aboutstamina, durability comes to mind. You need durability Michael Petruzzello (Qorvis): At Davos, it seems theyto deal with the compressed economic cycles that will were trying to address the crisis in leadership that we’vecontinue. There’s also constant change to which you must been facing over the last couple of years, which was anadjust. That’s the whole agility notion. unfortunate result of the economic downturn and a lot of What does that mean for communications? You need events in recent years.opposing skill sets. More than ever, you have to be stra- One thing leaders must look at is that global economictegic and tactical. You must be collaborative, yet entre- recovery is largely driven by perception and confidence.preneurial. You need to understand concepts, but then Do we perceive things are getting better? Are we con-be able to translate them into simple speak. fident in our ability to invest and buy? To have that The ability to adjust to that is something today’s com- confidence, we must first have confidence in our politi-munications people do not all have. Leaders such as cal and economic leaders, our business leaders. That’sus who consider ourselves experts in communications where communications plays a very important role. It willhave to be better coaches on this because that’s what will help restore confidence in global leadership. It will helpmake a difference. Those are the types of communications restore confidence not only in where our individual econo-people we need today. mies are headed, but where the global economy is going.Andrew Katell (GE): Among the other balancing acts Olivier Fleurot (MSLGroup): Resilience is necessarya communicator must perform is reactive versus active. because we are in a much more complex world. WhenWith the speed at which the world is moving, by the time I was a journalist with a French business newspaper,a comment is made or a news story or blog post comes the world was simple. We were writing about the US,out about one of our businesses, products, or services, it’s Western Europe, and Japan, nothing else. We never
  3. 3. DAVOS ROUNDTABLEwrote a line about India or China because we didn’t up focusing only on a domestic market in whichever countryknow about companies there. it is because, overall, it feeds into the key characteristics The first element is complexity – and a lot of CEOs needed for all communicators – perspective and context.are struggling to understand those crucial markets. Thesecond one is speed. People are posting and tweeting Petruzzello (Qorvis): One thing we hear fromabout everything. You need to figure out very quickly clients is that global communications is no longer justwho these people are and engage with them. looking simply for global strategies that can be executed All this requires a lot of resilience and I see it when I try locally. They demand more adaptability. They want toto advise clients. First of all, you need to be available all take global strategies and adapt and implement thosethe time. You must have a good understanding of a certain market by market while simultaneously allowingnumber of countries and cultures. those to bubble up so that when you go from emerging markets to mid-level markets to more mature markets,The global economy you can develop strategies that really work for all ofCasey (PRWeek): Between traditional markets and emerging them, instead of a one-size-fits-all approach.regions, the global economy is a huge issue – and communicationsplays a key role in shaping those stories. Could you identify a Fox (P&G): One of the big takeaways for me fromcouple of areas where there is either great opportunity or tre- this year’s event was a tangible sense of optimism, anmendous challenge for business? optimism we haven’t seen out of Davos since probably 2008, before the recession set in.Zarling (ManpowerGroup): Emerging markets are Yes, there were clearly areas of continued concern,leapfrogging. They need to because they must compete particularly in regions such as the Middle East. Thereglobally now. What does that do for businesses? It cre- are issues from an economic point of view in Westernates challenges and opportunities, but, for the most part, Europe. However, there was a general sense of optimism,it’s compressing value chains. It’s compressing pricing. particularly from business leaders, that we were seeingIt’s compressing costs and expenses. Companies have to the end of the tunnel and not yet another train headingoperate in a much more agile way and that gets back our way. People are a lot more encouraged here in theto the resilient dynamism. US. For the first time, Africa had a huge presence at As communications people, we can no longer approach Davos. In fact, as communicators, we must begin to thinkour roles with the mindset of just needing to understand our about Africa and its growth potential.own company’s platform. We must have a refined under- As communicators, we also need to be where thestanding of what’s going on globally, politically, socially, business is. We need to intimately understand it. Forand economically, and then take that into account and us, it’s not just understanding the business. It’s under-connect it to our company’s platform and vice versa. standing the consumer.Meuchner (Henry Schein): Five percent of the world’spopulation is in the US, so most of the world is outsidethe country. Multinationals must start thinking abouthow to deploy communications assets because the aver-age US multinational probably has an overweighting ofcommunications assets in the US and underweighting inall of those other regions of the world. It is those regionsthat are growing faster than the US and have much moreeconomic promise, China and India most notably. In the years ahead, you’ll see a shifting of the deploy-ment of these assets to the emerging markets becauseyou can’t effectively communicate in another part ofthe world from the US. It’s more than just communications, obviously, whenyou’re competing in markets such as China and India.There are also government relations aspects. That’svitally important and can only be developed in a real wayby having people in those locations.Katell (GE): GE has had a major business and commu-nications focus on decentralizing and deploying more ofour talent outside the US where the growth is. Putting itanother way, communicators need to chase growth – eco- “For CSR to be sustainable, it hasnomic and business – and there’s no substitute for being to be intrinsically linked with aon the ground in a country. I’ve spent years in Russia. I covered the UN as a journalist. business. It cannot be episodic“That kind of world-view is very valuable even if you wind – Paul Fox, Procter & Gamble
  4. 4. DAVOS ROUNDTABLE Another key factor when looking at the globaleconomy is the fact we have massive moving popula- mindful of davos’ relevancetions. More than ever, people are leaving their places ofbirth and moving to very different regions. This is a Arianna Huffington, chair, president, and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post Media Group, spoke with PRWeek senior editordynamic aspect we’re only beginning to understand. Bernadette Casey prior to the roundtable about her views on someRight now, it’s the equivalent of France’s and the key topics that emerged during this year’s World Economic Forum.UK’s population moving. It won’t be many yearsbefore it ’s the equivalent of the US populationmoving. That has a dramatic impact upon culture, too, Bernadette Casey (PRWeek):not just the economy. Women in leadership was a key topic at Davos. What caught yourPetruzzello (Qorvis): When we think about the attention among the many conver-emerging markets, the fascinating element is the demo- sations about this subject?graphics. When you look at Latin America, the MiddleEast, China, and India, 40% to 60% of those populations Arianna Huffington (Huffingtonare under the age of 20. You have enormous numbers of Post): Just the recognition thatpeople who have yet to come of age as consumers, but this is where the world is goingthat is something we’re going to have to deal with in the was noteworthy. There was a zeit-next five to 10 years. geist apparent. Part of it was that These youthful populations are different than their women will play a bigger role.parents. They grew up with a mobile phone and Face- My biggest obsession is thatbook. Not only are they moving physically, they’re women do not have to lead theclearly moving every day with information. same way men do. We need to Casey (PRWeek): Please highlight identify the ways that haven’t some of the more interesting dis-Fleurot (MSLGroup): PR and communications didn’t worked in how men have done cussions that took place at Davosexist in those countries 20 years ago, so the maturity of leadership. We can do it differently. around social media.those markets, in terms of communication, is very differentfrom what it is here. Casey (PRWeek): It seems more Huffington (Huffington Post): Of course, our clients are very eager to find exactly business leaders are making that Ubiquity is the new exclusivity. It’sthe same kind of processes, but it doesn’t work that way. body, mind, and spirit connection no longer about doing somethingFor instance, we just produced a white paper on the PR and directly linking that to how exclusively. Whatever you have,industry in India because we think we have a role to play they handle a crisis and run their what matters most is getting asto make sure this industry makes progress and develops. business. You talked about looking wide distribution as possible. That’s In Africa, the population is going to double in inwards. How might these con- why I love that The Huffingtonthe next generation. Double. It’s 1 billion today. It cepts relate to PR professionals? Post, in addition to being a jour-will be 2 billion by 2045 or around that. What’s going nalistic enterprise, is a happen there? Huffington (Huffington Post): Increasingly, the more you can be We are at a very beginning moment in Africa. My clients It’s very much at the heart of a platform or be attached to plat-are asking me how can we help them there. My issue is communications because com- forms, the more you can get yourfinding people who simultaneously understand how we munications professionals are or your client’s message out.want to work and the local culture. That’s a big challenge, all about building connections.but I believe Africa is the next frontier. When we are enjoying what we Casey (PRWeek): How has Davos I was struck by the fact that in all the Davos sessions do, we build better connections. evolved or expanded over theI attended before, the person who was talking about Ironically, as digital connections many years you’ve attended?Africa was Bono on stage with Sharon Stone raising are becoming more widespread,money for bed nets. It was all about how can we help them people are craving the live con- Huffington (Huffington Post):because it’s all about disease and issues. nection. That’s why we see an I remember 2001. It was the first This year, the sessions were talking about growth, explosion in interest in live events. time Davos took place in New York.economic growth. There has been a 5% growth in the When digital became king, there That program put a tremendouslast few years in Africa. We don’t notice it because we were many people saying, “Oh, emphasis on the global leaders ofonly talk about China and India, but it’s 5%. It can be this is going to destroy live events.” tomorrow, who were all young.7% or 8% in the next decade. But it’s actually far from it. Last year, the Global Shapers There is something in our DNA program was introduced. They arePetruzzello (Qorvis): I also noticed something dif- that still craves the human con- under 30 and all doing amazingferent about the discussions on the emerging markets, nection and wants us to be with things to make the world better.particularly Africa and some of the others. In the past, each other, rather than just having The fact Davos was able toas we thought about those markets and as they thought these webcasts. And that’s not capture this trend and invite theseabout themselves, they looked at us and said, “We simply going to change. In that sense, we people to be a part of it is whyneed to dovetail or attach ourselves to what’s happening have to learn how to handle tech- the event is still relevant and why itin the Western economies and we’ll shape a draft to nology so it doesn’t enslave us. will be resilient for many years. lsuccess in that manner.”
  5. 5. DAVOS ROUNDTABLE Today, they don’t seem to be doing that. They look munity’s economy to take out large numbers of females whoat the US and Europe and say, “That is not the total had completely dropped out of the education system.solution to our problems or the only path to our success. P&G has a feminine protection business. We can doWe’re going to have to do more on our own and in something about that, which we did. We called it Protect-our own way.” You start to see some development of ing Futures. That’s just one example.independence in identity of these markets that youreally didn’t see before. Katell (GE): We do traditional philanthropy through our GE Foundation. In addition, we are very focused onPhilanthropy and finance some of the key problem areas in the world, especially inCasey (PRWeek): “Catalyzing Markets Through Philan- developing nations, such as healthcare, energy, transporta-thropy” was a key session at Davos this year. CSR has long been tion, and water.a major communications focus for in-house teams and agencies From a communications standpoint, we have latchedalike and the discussion at Davos accentuates that. How is this onto those in a campaign called GE Works. It workselement of your jobs evolving? well externally, but internally, our employees, which total more than 300,000 worldwide, get very excited about itFox (P&G): P&G has always believed that for CSR to be because it is precisely business driven and, therefore, sus-sustainable, it has to be intrinsically linked with a busi- tainable. These are not giveaways. These are economicallyness. It cannot be episodic. viable deployments of our technology and capital. GE is big in renewable energy – wind and solar. It’s been our fastest-growing business for the past five years or so on the investing side. Our recruitment drives for employees, as well as the feelings of our current employees, has revealed this to be a very exciting area. They believe it is personally rewarding and satisfying to be a part of this every day when they come to work. Meuchner (Henry Schein): There’s an evolution occurring in CSR that is moving away from the simple disburse- ment of cash to what Henry Schein calls “participatory philanthropy,” where companies are taking advantage of the things they do well to improve the communities in which they operate. We are the world’s largest provider of healthcare products, primarily to offices of doctors, dentists, and vet- erinarians. We have a lot of product that we give away to NGOs before a crisis hits. We have a program whereby“Relationships are the NGOs receive product from us that is perhaps unsal- able or no longer usable to us for whatever the heart of PR. To It’s not that money is unimportant, but it’s much moreme, that’s the magic meaningful to employees that they’re directly involved in helping promote the social good because the very workof Davos“ they do is being applied to these issues. – Gerard Meuchner, Henry Schein Makovsky (Makovsky): I’ve had clients involved in those kinds of programs and an issue that often comes up Let’s take Africa, for example. We’ve done a lot of work is whether or not they should promote their CSR effortsthere. One of the many things we have noticed was how versus just doing it.few girls were actually in school there. And this was in anumber of African countries, particularly sub-Sahara. Zarling (ManpowerGroup): If CSR efforts are not help- Logically, you might attribute this to the fact they ing further the mission of your company, the organizationhave some sort of duties back in their villages. However, will not be there any more to give the cash. As such, thethe truth is they didn’t go to school or they dropped out sustainability conversation must come from the business’of school because they were girls. Every month, they perspective, as well as the social perspective.menstruated and they had no protection at all, so when The GRI [Global Reporting Initiative, which is a non-they did have their period, they would stay at home. profit that provides all organizations with a comprehen-They would stay in their villages until it was finished and sive sustainability reporting framework] Index is amongthen they would pick up school again. many tools we now have to report on this kind of Well, if you do that for several months on end, you activity. Communications plays a big role in makingsuddenly realize you are a month or two behind the sure the message is connected that way. Otherwise, itboys in class. The distance expanded to such an extent can sound disingenuous, look disingenuous, and lookthat, eventually, they gave up. It’s not good for that com- like checking the box – and that’s not intended.
  6. 6. DAVOS ROUNDTABLEFleurot (MSLGroup): That’s why we have this ex- Women in leadershippression “greenwashing.” The majority of companies Casey (PRWeek): Another prevailing topic at Davosstill don’t think about this the right way. CSR must was the growing role women have in economic decision-completely be part of your strategy. You have to work on making and, more broadly, leadership. In PR, women holda purpose. And this purpose must be created and co- three out four jobs, but eight out of 10 C-suite posts arecreated by your people, the staff, and even other stake- occupied by men. It is changing, however, as more firms haveholders, such as suppliers. You must involve and engage women in the top roles. Have we reached a tipping point toa lot of stakeholders to make sure the purpose will work where this momentum will really take hold?and will deliver performance. We have developed processes that we call Purple. Fleurot (MSLGroup): There was that session [“WomenPurple is made of purpose and people, and we think in Economic Decision-Making”] where five women wereit must come from the bottom of the organization as on stage and it was not a sideshow. It was the main plenarymuch as from the top. session. You had the head of the International Monetary The new generation will look at your company and ask Fund Christine Legarde, the president of Harvard Drewabout what good you do beyond making a profit. They Faust, and Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook.want to know how they will be engaged every day with As far as I am concerned, for the first time, I felt thisa purpose that is a bit broader than just making a profit. topic was really very visible. They spoke quite well andThat generation requires it, so if you want to hire the righttalent in the next 10 years, you need to have that.Fox (P&G): There have always been three very distinctcategories in this space. There is a group that reallydoesn’t care about CSR and sustainability. Then there arethose who are deeply passionate and run their lives againstCSR and sustainability principles. Then you have a verylarge category that sits right between them. They believeit’s important, but they won’t trade off performance forsustainability reasons. It’s that latter group that is beginning to get, for want ofa better description, more enlightened. They are becomingmore aware that they have a power. They have a powereither to group, to collect on social media, or they have apower through their spending to affect change. As communicators, we absolutely need to ensurethe authenticity of these programs. That’s a job bothinternally and externally because, to Olivier’s point ofgreenwashing, too much of it still occurs. It’s misleading “structures must beto consumers. As communicators, we have a role to play more inclusive toin ensuring that particular practice dies out forever. break down barriersKatell (GE): There’s great variation in what we’re talking to women getting intoabout in different parts of the world as far as development leadership roles“and awareness of CSR and who’s driving it. – Britt Zarling, ManpowerGroup In Russia, for example, it’s a fairly new phenomenonfor big corporations and wealthy individuals to latchonto this. At the moment, they are doing so under en- challenged what is still a very immature environment incouragement from the state, as opposed to perhaps Davos when it comes to this area. There is still a lot to do.grassroots, which is probably more the case in countriessuch the US. Zarling (ManpowerGroup): In Legarde’s plenary, It’s quite fascinating to watch how emerging markets she’s rattling off these statistics about how 70% of globalare developing in the area of CSR, including in how they spending is done by women. She spoke about how whencommunicate about it, and whether, frankly, they are women do better, economies do better because there’sdoing it purely for PR reasons. more control over GDP. Basically, she spoke about how women aren’t the specialty market. They are the market.Makovsky (Makovsky): Having been on the boards Women are making progress in the business world,of a number of industry organizations, many of them but there’s still a fundamental problem because whatare tackling research standards, but no one has done companies offer women is clearly not what women want.anything about industry standards on CSR. It would You have women entering the workforce at the samereally be an advance for PR if we could get one of the rate as men. You have women graduating and in veryindustry organizations to undertake those kinds of capable roles. However, something happens that is creat-standards because they are critical. ing a barrier. It might be structural, cultural, individual,
  7. 7. DAVOS ROUNDTABLEor social, but this is where companies have to really thinkabout how they structure work differently. I just had a baby. When you think about what that meansfrom a work-structure perspective, it’s very different forwomen. It’s not because I don’t want to keep working andmove up, but I need more flexibility. Women are moredriven than men to have control of their schedule becausea huge majority of that population still serves as eithercaregivers or they have other responsibilities other thanjust being the primary financial-income bearer. Structures need to be looked at differently and they mustbe more inclusive to break down those barriers to womengetting into leadership roles. As an industry, retail has alittle easier go at it because women have access to P&Lexperience in a faster way. For the majority of womenin the workplace, however, they usually come up in staffroles. In those industries, there needs to be more accessand exposure to the P&L experience.Fox (P&G): The concept of diversity and inclusion andthe role women play at P&G is part of our fabric. Whenwe talk about consumers, we tend to talk about “she.”We’ve always recognized the role women play. We “when you have an issue that’sarticulated it publicly for the first time with the “ThankYou, Mom” campaign. by definition controversial, the Many women have risen to the senior ranks at process must involve listening“P&G. If you look at the board composition right now, – Andrew Katell, GE Energy Financial Servicesout of 12 independent directors, five are women. Istruggle to think of any other corporate board in theworld that has that sort of representation. from the Fortune 500. Three of the last five chairs have We recognize that if you create heterogeneous organi- been female and next year’s chair will be female. That’s azations, they are far more innovative and productive than good sign of progress on this front.homogeneous ones. Fleurot (MSLGroup): MSLGroup organizes an interna-Zarling (ManpowerGroup): And this can’t be about doing tional women’s forum every year. We have 1,200 womensomething for the sake of doing it. It must start with the from 70 different countries meeting and talking aboutoutcome in mind. You want diversity of thought, which various topics. It’s not only about women in business andcreates innovation and inspires different ideas. You can’t politics, but their views about business issues. We’re goingget that with all the same types of people in the room. to do it in Brazil this year. If you start there, you can then create the work models A lot of women say they hate quotas, but if this is the kindand the structures. That’s where you then address the flex- of thing we have to do to kick start the process, so be it.ibility issue to create more inclusion. An emerging challengeMakovsky (Makovsky): I got into this field in the early Casey (PRWeek): Another Davos session focused on emerging‘70s and PR was dominated by women. Based on statistics, technologies – genetically modified foods, fracking, and still is heavily dominated by women. However, based There’s a communications challenge in defining new technolo-on recent surveys, such as those conducted by the PRSA, gies, educating consumers about them, and getting a consistentwhile women dominate the business, 80% of the leader- communications message out. How do you tackle that?ship is male. Moreover, there’s a great disparity betweenthe average salary for women and men. It is changing, but Katell (GE): It really speaks to a very fundamentalit remains an issue we have to wrestle with. issue, certainly in the US, but I suspect globally about the way discourse is handled on issues such as frackingZarling (ManpowerGroup): This is more of a structural or any other number of things that are in the news andissue. It’s not a lack of interest on women’s part. It’s that lighting up the blogosphere and social media.they tend to reach a certain point and then leave. Most Whatever the issue, it’s about civil discourse and theleave to start their own business. They are fueled by a lack of it. It’s this impulsiveness that’s enabled by somedesire to create the structure they want, which includes of the social media technology that people don’t thinkmore flexibility and control of their schedule. much before hitting the “send” or “post” button. Related to that, there is also a broad unwillingness or inability toMeuchner (Henry Schein): I’m the chair this year of be a good listener. And these are key communicationsThe Seminar, the annual forum of CCOs, primarily skills – discourse and listening.
  8. 8. DAVOS ROUNDTABLE When you have an issue that’s by definition controver- tion. We’re in a transitionary period where the notions ofsial, there are multiple viewpoints. To reach some kind of privacy and IP protection are being interchanged.solution, the process must involve listening, respecting We’ll be creating new models going forward. You knoweach other’s opinions, and trying to keep it under control, it’s coming. As communicators, we must begin to thinkpositive, and constructive. about what that means and be ready for it. As communications leaders, we must help manage thatwhole process and do it in a way that’s not heavy handed. Katell (GE): What governs the ability to express views?We’re not meant to censor the debate, but rather guide it Prior to the Internet era, and even perhaps at the beginningin a positive, constructive way. of it, the governor for that was economics. You needed to be able to get your information or viewpoint in a news-Petruzzello (Qorvis): I’ve spent most of my career in paper, on TV, some sort of physical asset. Now, the cost ofWashington and the environment has never been more expressing or distributing your view is zero, or very closepolarized than it is today. It is so difficult to find common to zero. Therefore, there’s no barrier of economics to that.ground on policy issues, whether it’s fracking and other In fact, I don’t know what the barrier is or will be.forms of energy, the environment, or health. It seems that more and more, we’re just a nation divided Fox (P&G): If you think about the principle of trying tofrom right and left and with not a lot of effort to try and drive change, we’ve always gathered to create change. Livefind a common middle. As a result, the vast majority of events are a great thing. We used to do them physicallypeople who can shape those debates and, ultimately, come because we had to. What we’re seeing now is a migra-up with the solutions are walking away from that discourse tion of that principle online. You’re seeing large groupsbecause it’s too polarized. It’s too divided. We must figure of like-minded people gather together virtually and stillout how to bring that back together. create change.Fleurot (MSLGroup): I’m part of a steering committee Makovsky (Makovsky): It’s not necessarily an either-or.within the World Economic Forum that tries to help vari- Think of some of the recent revolutions – Arab Spring,ous stakeholders establish new norms and values in the for example. The online component of that was huge, butdigital world. It’s interesting because technology creates it was precipitated by a physical potential issues about privacy, IP protection, evennational security. However, as per the values we have, Fleurot (MSLGroup): We’ve had big demonstrationsit’s not as if I’m divided between being an off-line or an recently in France. It’s all about the mariage pour tous, wed-on-line guy. In terms of values, I’m the same on both. ding for all. It wasn’t triggered specifically by social media. Of course, the lawyers and the parliaments in the world People just wanted to make a point in the streets. We’vemust establish laws to regulate this new world, but in terms had huge demonstrations, pro and anti. Very interesting.of values and ethics, they should be the same. IP protection is an emerging issue, a very big one for ourindustry. You have companies that would love to use anydata they can find and, of course, individuals who wouldlike to choose and manage how personal data will be used.To me, that’s one of the big issues of the next few years.Makovsky (Makovsky): A lot of companies have thesevalues, but how do they translate that into action? Howdo you operationalize these kinds of values? My firm has developed a system where role models whodemonstrate values get rewarded. It’s working well, but atcompanies with thousands of employees this becomes amajor challenge. There’s also the transparency issue, particularly in our ownbusiness that uses spokespersons. In terms of employeescommunicating outwardly and all kinds of external com-munications, we not only need to be concerned abouttransparency, but, in a sense, operationalize that.Fox (P&G): Transparency is critical, but where do you findbalance with the current proliferation of communicationschannels and the abundance of polarized opinion? As communicators, it’s our job to define that. That will “Our business always requiredbe a huge challenge for us moving forward. resilient dynamism. today you We’re also dealing with a generation today that thinksabout privacy in a very different way than the generation have to be quickly resilient“before, and light years differently than the prior genera- – Ken Makovsky, Makovsky & Company
  9. 9. DAVOS ROUNDTABLEZarling (ManpowerGroup): There’s increased access, Petruzzello (Qorvis): There was a heightened sense ofno doubt, but for what purpose? As communicators, we optimism coming out of the conference. Everything needsstill have to come back to what is the purpose for which to move forward to make that sense of optimism morewe want to use certain platforms. We need to be very pervasive. To turn that optimism into reality, business andclear about that because, otherwise, everything is out of government are going to have to do more through goodcontrol and you can’t focus on the outcome we’re trying to policy and good financial decisions.achieve. Let’s be purposeful about the channels we want Probably even more important, we’ll need to have goodto influence. That can help at least give some more sanity communications, individually and in partnership. Leadersand clarity around the objective. of business and government will have to figure out how to come together and make that happen.What’s in store?Casey (PRWeek): In light of the issues highlighted at Davos, Fleurot (MSLGroup): Actually, I’m suggesting a themewhat major communications themes do you see evolving in the for next year’s event in Davos – leveraging diversity, be itnext 12 months or so? cultural, global, or gender. As far as communications’ role, we have to raiseFox (P&G): When I look at what’s happening around the our game day after day because it’s a more complexworld today, the potential that lies in front of the commu- world. Issues are more complex, so we have to recruitnications field today is greater than it’s been at any point even better people all the time. It’s also about build-during my 30-plus years in the field.Zarling (ManpowerGroup): Leaders such as us havea responsibility to ensure that we’re coaching and reallyhelping those individuals entering the industry under-stand how to navigate what’s going on and then buildthe right kind of skills because there’s still a gap. There’sa lot of potential out there in the incoming talent, butthere’s a responsibility to effectively coach that potentialso that it can be unleashed.Makovsky (Makovsky): I’ve seen a real change overthe years in how our business has moved into integratedcommunications and using a lot of the same kinds of toolspeople in marketing and advertising have used. In a recent survey we did with CCOs and CMOs, therewas a tremendous understanding of the different rolesand the need to come together, but the one area wherethere was the least collaboration was on social media.My hope would be to see a greater coming together “In Washington, theof the various sectors within marketing because, ulti- environment has nevermately, the client doesn’t care about where the bestidea comes from. The chances of getting it are going to been more better through collaboration. It is so difficult to find common ground“Katell (GE): The best communicators now and in the – Michael Petruzzello, Qorvisfuture will always be well grounded in some basics thatwill never change. They must be good listeners. Beforeyou act, listen well, particularly to your target audiences. ing those very strong relationships with our clients andGood storytelling skills are crucial, too. Good writing making sure the trust is there.comes into play here. There is clearly a convergence of disciplines because Of course, while keeping all those basics in mind, you of digital and social, though a lot of companies are stillalso must execute the new tools and channels that will organized for the 20th century, not the 21st. Many stillcontinue to involve both live and virtual connections. work in silos. For a very long time, the industry has been completely decentralized. We work for companies, bigMeuchner (Henry Schein): Relationships are at the American companies that have very decentralized com-heart of PR. To me, that’s the magic of Davos. You can munications and PR organizations. They don’t even knowmeet people and make relationships in a way that is in- we work for them in China, it is so decentralized.creasingly rare in this world. That continues to be the Because of digital and social, this can’t last very long.appeal that Davos holds for those of us who attend. It Anything can start on a social media platform in, foris serendipity to go there and meet people you couldn’t example, Myanmar and then become a global issue inimagine meeting. From that, relationships are formed and one hour. It’s a fascinating time, and a great time for all ofconnections are made. It’s just a wonderful experience. us in communications. l