UNO November 2019

Communicate in times of disruption

At LLYC we have spent years discussing with our clients the best communicative responses to a reality that is becoming increasingly hard to govern (and not only in political terms). We attempted to describe it some time ago with the initials VUCA, of the adjectives volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous. They were first used by the US Army Military Tactical School, in the aftermath of the Cold War. The VUCA world then described a new scenario, much more multifaceted, rugged and unstable. The expression has been around for a while, yet it is uncommonly topical at present, when technology and the social changes it brings and accelerates confront us with an unknown reality that is developing at breakneck speed with new rules and rituals.

In this edition 33 of our magazine UNO, readers will find a broad array of approaches and outlooks on how technology aids and defends us, while also at times threatening and challenging us and forcing us to leave our comfort zone, defined by what we know and are familiar with, and what we have already experienced.

Debate these days often boils down to heads or tails, a black or white choice between technocracy or populism, globalization or protectionism, privacy or hyper-transparency, truth or fake news. In each of these possible dichotomies, citizens have shifted from being mere receivers of information to generating, spreading and amplifying most of the contents. The information flow has become so great that it is increasingly difficult to stand out in a world so saturated with information. And those who previously made the decisions now find themselves offside and weak or vulnerable.

We need new methods, a different way of looking at things and a new style of telling them. I draw your attention to four aspects that should not be overlooked. Firstly, the corporate narrative should change from storytelling to storydoing. If I might make a free interpretation of this, companies should make fewer promises and more commitments that are actually met. Secondly, the essential aim should be to generate trust, since this is the only cryptocurrency that has universal value. Thirdly, communication must be sustainable over time, in both transparency and responsibility. Finally, the previous three requirements can only be met through anticipation and innovation.

At LLYC we have taken these four essential characteristics for moving ahead with guarantees and even maintaining a running pace in the unprecedented VUCA marathon and summed them up in a slogan. We call it ‘embrace disruption’. We could equally say: be prepared, innovate and get one step ahead. It is time to turn around the slogan brandished by the older generations, coined by Saint Ignatius of Loyola as [lit.] ‘In times of tribulation we should not make any changes’. Because we are convinced that in these present times of great changes, it is not advisable to sink into tribulation and protect ourselves, but rather to get ahead, embrace the disruption and act-communicate. And if I may add a subtle nuance, we must do it well.

Jose Antonio Llorente
Founding Partner and Chairman of LLYC Spain / U.S.A.
Jose Antonio Llorente as a specialist in Corporate and Financial Communication, over the course of a career spanning more than 25 years, he has provided consultancy services on numerous corporate transactions: mergers, acquisitions, divestments, joint ventures and stock market floatations. Mr. Llorente was the first Spanish professional to have received the SABRE Award for Outstanding Individual Achievement, a European award presented by The Holmes Report.Mr. Llorente worked at the multinational Burson-Marsteller for ten years, where he was Managing Director. He currently sits on the Board of Trustees of the Euroamérica Foundation and the Steering Committee of the Spanish Association of Minority Shareholders of Listed Companies. He is also a member of the Advisory Council to SMEs of the Spanish Confederation of Small- and Medium-Sized Enterprises, the Steering Committee of the Agencies of Spain Association and the Advisory Council of Executive MBA in the Management of Professional Services Organisations organised by Garrigues. José Antonio has a degree in Information Sciences from the Complutense University of Madrid, and specialist in Public Affairs at Indiana University of Pennsylvania and The Henley College. @jallorente [United States - Spain]

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