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Davos Post-Mortem

Davos_world_economic_forumBjorn Edlund used to run public relations for Royal Dutch Shell and is now with the Edelman public relations agency in Europe. 

Our paths didn't cross when I headed PR for AT&T, a fact I regret every time I read one of his postings on the Arthur W. Page Society web site.

His thoughts following the World Economic Forum in Davos are just another example.

You can read the whole posting here, but his four key takeaways for communications professionals pretty much stand on their own:

First, uncertainty breeds a need for deeper, rich-context public relations. Understanding the societal dilemmas in which a corporation operates – so that it can mitigate its risks, operate with less friction, and spot and capture new openings – is a contribution that the CCO is uniquely placed to focus on.

Second, a fragile recovery is a chance to work on behaviors. Any economic trough brings a “back to basics” momentum. As we climb out of the trough, let’s not forget the basics, but codify and cement the good habits of leaner times to build better behaviors.

Third, storytelling remains the core of our job. As the global conditions for business change – how to stay both locally anchored and authentic is a balancing act which we need to address in the narrative about our company’s place in the world.

And finally, purpose is key. Knowing how to live your purpose so that CSR is not an add-on – as The Economist largely sees it – but your company’s way to create shared value is another opportunity for the CCO.

Something tells me Edlund got more out of the Davos meeting than most of the CEOs who were there just to rub elbows with other CEOs higher on the food chain.


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