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
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
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