special report: latin america & the caribbean
A balance of image
Argentine author Javier Bartoli Piñero shares
his views on the communicator’s role
by Carina Carrasco
ach year, Wellcommunity, a Spanish-language online needs to be able to analyze com- work. How did your experience
community dedicated to business communication, recog- plex settings for the enormous as a teacher influence your vision
nizes Spanish-language and international books for their and broad management of all as a professional in this field?
contribution to the development of the communication the streams of information that JBP: My teaching experience is
profession. In 2009, it exist in an organization, making the product of my professional
chose a book by two Argentinean him one of the few people in experience, not the other way
PR professionals, Javier Bartoli the company with 360-degree around. I have never been a pro-
Piñero and Federico Rey Lennon, vision. That organizational fessor bringing theory to organi-
Reflexiones sobre el management de insight makes him the CEO’s zations.… My preference is for
la comunicación (Reflections on right-hand man and a key mem- concrete work, with measure-
Communications Management), ber of the executive team, taking ments and results, rather than
which looks at some of the skills on roles and responsibilities that theory in its strict sense.
communicators will need to suc- tend to go beyond the mere However, the intellectual exer-
ceed in the future. Bartoli Piñero Javier Bartoli Piñero practice of communication, cise offered by the classroom,
spoke with IABC member Carina directly affecting the organiza- and the contact with the stu-
Carrasco about the book and its central points. Bartoli Piñero is cur- tion’s reputation or corporate dents, is enriching, and can lead
rently the chief of protocol of the Inter-American Development image, thereby rendering him the professor to draw parallels
Bank, headquartered in Washington, D.C. Previously, he was the an “image keeper.” to situations that arise in the
global director of public affairs and communications for the Round Accordingly, the modern organization in which he works.
Table on Responsible Soy and the corporate communications man- communication director spends This surely leads to ideas and
ager for Microsoft for Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay. time not only communicating, courses of action that the profes-
but also listening and learning, sor will apply to his daily work
Carina Carrasco: In your book, understanding the reasons in the area of communication
you describe communication behind and the details of the once he becomes an executive.
directors as among the few organization, learning the target
people who have a 360-degree audience’s motivations and CC: What capabilities does a
view of their company. What impulses. The communication good director of communica-
do you mean by that? director’s daily raw material tion need, and what skills do
Javier Bartoli Piñero: The com- involves image while his work- you think communicators will
munication director’s role goes ing tool involves persuasion. need in the future?
beyond the obvious require- JBP: Communication directors
ments of specific training in CC: Your book begins with an need to be strategic advisers for
the field of communication. academic approach and then the organization—social scien-
The communication director narrows its focus to day-to-day tists who apply their knowledge,
38 Communication World • May–June 2010 www.iabc.com/cw
in the words of Edward Bernays, him, especially with regard to ation affected the role of peo-
“to explain the company to the his stakeholders. Based on this, ple working in communication?
public and the public to the the public will state what it JBP: It depends on the geography.
company.” They should above needs, what it wants to hear and In those latitudes where crises are
all else be people with analytical through which medium. As Al constant, the role does not exhib- “Technological
capabilities and the sensitivity to Ries and Jack Trout were already it much change, since those pro-
understand their audiences, saying 30 years ago in their book fessionals are accustomed to tools do not serve
both within and without. It is Positioning, “What the people “unstable equilibrium.” How-
essential that they know the say is more important than what ever, in those regions where as a substitute for the
environment surrounding the is said in a board meeting.” organizations have not had the
organization in order to be able Another point to keep in experience of living in crisis— analytical capabilities
to make the decisions that will mind is the measurement of whether constant or isolated—
protect the corporation’s image. results based on the use of these they must become accustomed of the communication
I think that in the future, new technological tools and the to addressing crisis situations
communication directors should return on investment, be it to almost daily and with an ever- professional.”
be professionals who, in addition emphasize the path taken or to decreasing amount of resources,
to cultivating communication correct detours along the way. since it is a given that in these
skills and knowledge of how times there is always a reduction
new technologies influence the CC: Can you explain the concept in human resources in the area
creation of an image, should of communication management of communications.
hone their analytical capabilities as you describe it in your book?
to favor the decision-making JBP: On the one hand, the com- CC: Besides your book, is there
process at the organization’s municator’s role implies that he a book that you can recommend
highest level. know the concepts of manage- for Spanish-speaking communi-
ment and take into account the cators who want to learn more
CC: From your experience with handling of the political pano- about the subject?
Web 2.0, which tools can you rama and communication tools JBP: When we took on the task
recommend to work in this new to avoid tarnishing the image of writing Reflexiones sobre el
and changing environment? and consequent reputation of management de la comunicación,
JBP: First, it bears mentioning the organization he represents. we proposed using a mix of the
that technological tools do not On the other hand, this com- theory and practice of commu-
serve as a substitute for the ana- munication management con- nications—that is, combining
lytical capabilities of the com- cept refers to the three roles a theory and practice in order to
munication professional. Thus, communication director fulfills, more closely resemble the reality
there are two growing trends. or should fulfill: the resonance faced by professionals in their
One is the expansion of the role, which refers to the prep- organizations, where decisions
monitoring of the products aration and execution of the constantly need to be made in
from the full range of Web 2.0 communication policy; the turbulent environments, rather
tools, and the other is the ana- reflection role, which refers to than what occurs in the lab or in about the author
lyst’s role as “gatekeeper,” in the monitoring of the relevant an academic setting, based on an Carina Carrasco is the general
being able to discern the impor- changes in the environment and advanced level of professional coordinator for a world congress
tant issues in the decision-mak- the capacity to foresee the polit- training. organized by the Argentine
ing process. In addition, within ical and communication conse- As recommendations go, I Center of Engineers. Previously,
this change in behaviors and quences for the organization; think Gestión de la marca corpo- she worked as a communication
practices that is the product of and the role of protector of the rativa (Management of the manager and spokesperson for
technology, the communication organization’s communication Corporate Brand ), by Paul Camuzzi, one of the largest util-
professional should have an in- cohesion, of its reputation with- Capriotti, and Imagen corpora- ity companies in Argentina.
depth knowledge of his organi- in the public space. tiva en el siglo XXI (Corporate
zation. He should learn to listen Image in the 21st Century), by
to what is happening around CC: How has the economic situ- Joan Costa, are excellent. ●
www.iabc.com/cw Communication World • May–June 2010 39