The Spanish Association of Communication Professionals, Dircom, and the Association of Public Relations and Communications Consulting Companies, ADECEC, have held a seminar at the Caixa Forum within the framework of the activities in the run-up to the World Public Relations Forum entitled ‘The value of communication in internationalisation processes’. The aim of the event was for agencies and advertisers to discuss the best strategies to apply when expanding internationally and making the communication business go global.
Teresa García, President of ADECEC, and Sebastián Cebrián, Managing Director of Dircom gave the opening speeches. “65% of our Association’s activity is related to international issues” stated Teresa García, who added that “a much more professional profile is needed in agencies, with a command of several languages and experience in global accounts.” In her opinion:“ Today it is unthinkable for a product to enter a market without a communication campaign behind it; for this reason you have to act according to what you know you can and cannot do in each country at a commercial level but also at a cultural, social and economic level.”
Next, Sebastián Cebrián highlighted that today we are experiencing good times for both communication and communicators, adding that communication professionals “should demonstrate now more than ever that they are essential within organisations.” Cebrián also stressed that we are facing “a new paradigm where we should ‘think global, act global’, in which we compete against global companies who have changed the rules of the game.”
Miguel López-Quesada (Group Director of Corporate Communications and Institutional Affairs at Gestamp), Luis Herault (Managing Director of Marketing at the Iberostar Group), Miguel Ángel Aguirre (Managing Director of Edelman Spain) and Tony Noel (CEO at Ketchum Spain) took part in the discussion panel “Without communication there’s no international expansion”, with Hebe Schmidt, from the Circle of Foreign Correspondents in Spain, acting as moderator. Speakers and delegates emphasized the need to inculcate communication culture within companies, where the Dircom sometimes serves as the interdepartmental nexus, as well as the importance of internal communication as the first step towards change management. They also agreed on the need to define stakeholders both at a local and global level, analyse their quantitative and qualitative perceptions and protect brands by generating confidence and measuring ROI by adjusting to customer needs.
At the session “Communication as a driver of change and access to new markets”, participants analysed the different lines of strategic communication to suit each type of operation a company is planning to implement. The need for the management team to bet on corporate communication as part of strategy and remember that employees are the best ambassadors of companies at an international level was also highlighted. Esther Castaño (Director of Internal Communication at Iberdrola), Robert Pera (Director of Communication and Marketing at Applus), Sara Güemes (Co-Director of Inforpress Colombia) and Susana Sanjuán (Director of Corporate Communication at Kreab & Gavin Anderson Iberia) were responsible for leading the discussion on this panel, chaired by Cristina Expósito, Director of Communication at the ICEX.
Carolina Sanchiz (Director of Marketing and Business Development at Sage Spain), José Yáñez (Director of Marketing Cloud at Salesforce), Carme Miró (CEO apple tree communications) and Joan Ramon Vilamitjana (Managing Director of Hill+Knowlton Strategies Spain), closed the seminar with a discussion of “Global brands in the digital age”. The panel was chaired by Antonio Delgado, a journalist specialised in technology, media and society, and the central theme was how the digital revolution is unlocking new internationalisation opportunities for companies, beyond geographical expansion. This new reality means a radical change in communication and brand management models, which increasingly exploit online potential globally. Social media have democratised accountability, hence effective monitoring of conversations on these media serves to prevent problems concerning online reputation.