Snapshots from a global conversation

I heard so many nuggets of wisdom at PRWeek's inaugural Global Congress in Barcelona that I felt compelled to share them with you.

Cargill's Penny Studholme speaks during a panel at the PRWeek Global Congress in Barcelona.
Cargill's Penny Studholme speaks during a panel at the PRWeek Global Congress in Barcelona.

PR is about much more than sound bites, but I heard so many nuggets of wisdom at PRWeek's inaugural Global Congress in Barcelona that, in the spirit of Twitter, I felt compelled to share them with you.

The panels, speeches, and debates comprised a genuine global conversation encompassing the common issues of authenticity, reputation, culture, activating effectively across multiple markets, thinking global while acting local, measurement, and effectiveness.

The role of PR
José Manuel Velasco, GM of communications and CSR, FCC Citizen Services: "Having access to more information doesn’t necessarily mean being more informed, sometimes it just results in more noise and confusion. PR has the choice at the moment whether it wants to be the main character in the movie, or a supporting actor."

Penny Studholme, VP corporate affairs, EMEA, Cargill: "In a crisis situation, it’s worth remembering that the only person in the C-suite conversation who isn’t after the CEO’s job is the CCO."

"An effective PR function is not intrusive, it is a facilitator," Margery Kraus, founder and CEO, APCO Worldwide

Andrew Grill, global partner, social business, IBM: "If someone on LinkedIn or Twitter says that they are influential on their profile, the likelihood is they are not."

Social media
IBM’s Grill: "You have to have value to add - then you’ll become part of the conversation. To build authentic advocates, find people who actually use your product and get to the truth. Social media is the best piece of market research that you’ve never commissioned, but the number of followers an influencer has doesn’t necessarily equate to real influence."

Veronica Botet, global digital and social media PR manager, GE Healthcare: "Social is at the root of everything we do in communications today."

Chris Hogg, deputy head of global media relations, Nestlé: "Nestle is on a journey to get social right. It has improved a lot in the past two years, but we’re not there yet. The job of the communicator is to be relentlessly reasonable, on every social media channel. Sometimes silence is the best measure of your social media activity – it means you’ve had no social media fails."

The role of the CCO
Marjorie Benzkofer, global leader, reputation management practice, FleishmanHillard: "A good CCO should understand that their work is completely tied to the performance of the business. We should crunch communications and marketing together into a third space overseeing brand and reputation. For this, we need a new generation of talent, focused around issues rather than channels."

Roger Bolton, president, Arthur W. Page Society, said: "Nobody ‘owns’ the CCO role, so in a way everyone owns it. An effective CCO is a convener who automatically brings everyone into the market. The CCO who works for the CEO is the only one with an overarching role across the whole organization."

Bjorn Edlünd, chairman, Europe & CIS, Edelman, said: "The CCO role is either expanding or shrinking, depending on your perspective. If you think it’s just about reputation management, then it is shrinking. If you think it’s a cross-functional role dealing with marketing, HR, sales, and communications, then it is expanding."

GE’s Botet: "You can’t leave it to others to construct your reputation."

Nestle’s Hogg: "Global multinational businesses have a bad reputation. We must start to show we have a human face to improve this."

Cargill’s Studholme: "Corporations are the uninvited guest to the party, so you’d better make sure you add some value. Don’t turn up to a beach party in a tuxedo."

Cargill’s Studholme: "In a world where nothing can be hidden, you’d better have nothing to hide."

Internal communications
IBM’s Grill: "Make content shareable and staff will share it."

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