When communication matters most

How are communication leaders around the world responding to the Covid-19 pandemic? What do they see as challenges? And how will they adapt to a post-pandemic environment?

GarzaThese are some of the topics we discussed with Artemio Garza, who leads Egon Zehnder’s Communication Officers practice in North America. Artemio is a core member of Egon Zehnder’s Marketing and Digital practices. Based in Miami, his special focus is on multi-unit retail, consumer goods, and private equity companies.

Carl Zangerl (CZ): Tell us about what your job at Egon Zehnder entails.

Artemio Garza (AG):  Our mission at Egon Zehnder is to create a better world through great leadership. I have a marketing and communication background myself, and I advise companies on how to structure their communication functions and help identify people who can assume leadership roles.

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Learning communication lessons — the hard way

There was a time when we assumed our communication with internal and external audiences could be neatly compartmentalized. It was simple (we thought): One message for employees, another message for external stakeholders. Even in the pre-digital era, of course, that assumption was mistaken.

While we need to tailor our messages to specific audiences, we also have to expect that those messages will be shared. I still recall the reaction when employees at a company I worked for first heard about ‘bad news’ in the Wall Street Journal. We were disappointed and dismayed. Trust in the company’s leadership took at hit.

The emotional dimension of brand

The fact is that an organization’s brand often ‘lives’ in the hearts and minds of its stakeholders, internal and external.

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Alumnus voices the importance of empathy

Kicking off the first stage of my professional career clashes with mixed feelings that emerged with the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in my hometown, Puerto Rico. Among all the anxiety that the current humanitarian crisis has unfolded, I’ve learned how invaluable the power of empathy can be. Caring for others is a human thing, regardless of whether you’re American or not.

https://qzprod.files.wordpress.com/2017/09/rts1ddml-e1506362531159.jpg?quality=80&strip=all&w=1600
Image Source: Quartz – Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria September 2017

 

 

As an eager storyteller, I also realized how impactful it can be to listen to stories from people living the disaster in depth. A crisis shouldn’t be addressed, it should be narrated. Stories help us to draw what’s invisible. In this particular case, sharing what the crisis’ victims have to say is the key for them to engage with the rest of the world. It also justifies the imperatives of the essential aid they need. In addition, the narrative unveils the lessons we all can gain from this crisis to turn them into our legacy.

Image Source: http://www.mediate.com/articles/ThompsonJ11.cfm

Puerto Ricans are characterized by our willingness to always extend our hand to others. Today, my fellow citizens from la “Isla del Encanto” (as we call it) or the land of “Despacito” (as others might know it as well) are now the ones in need. We’ll be grateful to get any form of support – but moreover, we’d be happy to have you listen to any story we have to tell.

Posted by Carlos Colon Raldiris, CPS ’17