Members of the Page community and guests recently met in Brussels for the 2023 Page International Exchange to discuss growing uncertainties in the global operating environment. From new technologies, shifting expectations and developing legal frameworks, here are some of the key insights from the event.

Where do you see you and your teams’ roles expanding?

Protecting and advancing reputation is becoming an increasingly proactive endeavor. Having well-engaged employees is a critical first step in this work; multiple studies have shown a direct correlation between employee engagement and overall reputation and brand sentiment. Additionally, the function is now responsible for multiple channels and multiple audiences. Communications should provide significant strategic guidance to — if not control of — different departments (marketing, ESG, DE&I, etc.) that impact reputation. 

How will technology transform and the importance of data change the function?

With the rise of various AI applications, communicators have an interesting role to play; on the one hand, we should have an intellectual curiosity, experimenting with these tools and seeing how they can improve our teams and function. These tools show incredible promise to improve our predictive analytics, create more authenticity through personalization, and even help to combat disinformation. On the other hand, we must also act as gatekeepers, striving to understand the legal and ethical implications of these tools and their impact on society and be willing to speak up when a particular technology’s risks outweigh the benefits. One thing is certain: relationship management will stay relevant because machines cannot replace human interaction.

What is developing on the ESG Front?

Right now, there are shifting priorities in Europe. With the war in Ukraine, eastern European countries bordering the conflict are more focused on defense, even if it means they have to de-emphasize their climate efforts. In the longer term, companies are looking at supply chain restructuring aligned with ESG objectives; that is, moving away from certain countries, even if they’re cheaper, to other countries that are aligned with their values and ESG ambitions. The EU is expected to reveal its final set of “European Sustainability Reporting Standards” (ESRS) later this month, and these standards will become the benchmark for global companies doing business in Europe, no matter where they are domiciled.

Read this blog by Page member Gay Flashman, CEO at Formative Content, for takeaways specific to a session on workplace transformation.