Trylon Communications  - November 2003

The Global Challenge

A recurring theme at the recent ICCO (International Communications Consultancy Organisation) Summit in Berlin was the loss of trust by consumers in global brands. The Summit recommended certain PR strategies to counter this decline in trust.

The event focused on the effect of fast-moving changes in industries and politics on businesses, and how companies’ communication strategies should reflect these new business environments.

In his opening address, former Assistant Secretary of State James Rubin affirmed that a more aggressive U.S. foreign policy is alienating former trading partners - resulting in a negative attitude by consumers to U.S. global brands.

Communications that could play a strong role in reversing this trend include forging and strengthening links with local communities, stakeholder groups, and of course the media.

One course of action recommended in the Summit reflects a position we have taken in previous newsletters (See Article): utilize a public relations agency proactively by making it an advisor on corporate communications strategies before decisions are made.

The Summit also highlighted the key role of internal communications in future corporate communication programs. Attendees were told that employees will become more important to overall brand strategy, in effect becoming “brand champions” on varying levels.

Corporate Social Responsibility policies were also deemed significant. How the corporation defines these responsibilities and portrays them to the public will play a large part in defining public perception. On a global scale, social responsibility is now having more profound impact than many traditional corporate policies.

Finally, the Summit pointed out that there is much to do in order to bridge the gaps between global brands and consumers. Communication strategy will be one of the main tools used to build those bridges.