In the wake of the collapse of Lehman Brothers, the AIG rescue and the HBOS take over, Echo’s third round-table on globalization and public relations hosted in Zurich today in Credit Suisse’s offices, focused not surprisingly on the issues of mono brands versus sub brands, centralization vs decentralization.

The round-table panelists included Charles Naylor, CCO, Credit Suisse; Jan Mueller, VP Issues & Strategic Commmunications, EADS; Rolf Schlapfer, Global Corporate Communications, Roche; Inge van Halst, Global Communications Manager, Dow Chemical; Simone Lauper, Global Communications Manager, Swiss Re; and Henner Alms, Principal, Dr. Schanz, Alms & Company.

The view from the discussion group is that the current crises have been so large and significant, that whichever approach is used, the parent brand will inevitably suffer. Globalization and its urgent demand for transparency is forcing the need to clearly articulate the essence of the brand – its values, its ethics, its principles.

Ensuring communications is in tight alignment with business strategy is no longer a nice to have, but an essential ingredient in long-term survival, and internal commmunications is gaining in importance as a result. Furthermore, that the current economic turmoil may force corporate social responsibility further down the list of priorities was inevitable, the participants agreed, but that nevertheless corporate responsibility is here to stay as organizations work on their wider license to operate and their core differentiation in an increasingly competitive environment. The PR professional of tomorrow needs to be more globally experienced, with intercultural skills that are not currently present, and work on providing a far reaching view to management teams on stakeholder expectations and the value of globalization to civil society. The collective findings of Echo’s round-tables will appear in IPRA’s Gold Paper on Globalization, to be launched in Beijing, at the IPRA World Congress in November.