Panelists on the first day of PRWeek’s 2022 PRDecoded conference in Chicago tackled issues spanning purpose, inclusivity and brand culture.
Here are some of the highlights:
Transform and deliver: Why brands must join the cultural conversation and influence action
Asked about how brands can transcend fads, Molly McKenna, senior director of global brand comms at McDonald’s Corporation, said companies must be quick, smart and agile in their approach.
“Fads and memes can disappear the very next day,” McKenna said, adding that it is important for brands to first determine, “Where do you have a meaningful role?”
Lyndsay Rogers, VP and general manager at Kellogg’s, echoed McKenna’s sentiment and said that, in assessing whether or not brands should engage with a cultural moment, “less is [sometimes] more.”
Storytelling that truly represents: Centering inclusive talent across all communications
Speaking on the potential to incorporate consumers with disabilities, Kristen Barnfield, partner at Change for Balance, said that there is a robust marketplace around consumers with disabilities, one that some brands are already tapping into.
“We’re starting to see content for those different,” she said. “For this group, in particular, we want you to walk away and see the same thing. If Amazon studios can hire an accessibility coordinator to create a really fantastic program that stars people with autism, all of you can, too.”
Ben Trockman, project manager at Change for Balance, said that companies should start hiring people with disabilities now.
“You don’t have to be an expert,” he said. “There isn’t training you have to go through so you’re ready to hire people with disabilities in your company.”
The war on truth: Overcoming the trust deficit
Kristen Campos, VP of corporate affairs at Mars Food North America, emphasized how important it is for a brand to build trust.
“Stating a belief is not going to defend your brand when emotions are heated, you have to take action,” she said.
Campos also spoke about how Mars Food manages misinformation. She stressed the need to take a disciplined approach, identifying the source of the information, determining whether or not it is from a credible source and the intent behind the message.