In a thought-provoking session at the 2023 World Public Relations Forum (WPRF), Dr. Michael Preuss, the Head of Communications at BayerAG, delved into the dynamic world of Public Relations and its transformative potential. With the G20 theme, ‘One Earth, One Family, One Future’ as a backdrop, Dr. Preuss emphasised the importance of PR as a driver of “Presence” and “Relevance” in an ever-changing global landscape.
Navigating the BANI World
Dr. Preuss commenced his discourse by acknowledging the significant changes in our world and the communication environment. Coining the term “BANI” he described the current world order characterised by increasing Brittleness, Anxiety, Non-linearity and Incomprehensibility. In such times, people are yearning for reliable and trusted partners capable of addressing these multifaceted challenges.
The myriad challenges we face
Global trends and disruptive events have a profound impact on societal discourse. Dr. Preuss outlined several pressing challenges, including climate change, extreme weather and its consequences, the global food crisis, repercussions of the pandemic, geopolitical tensions, energy shortages, inflation and recession fears. These issues underscore the urgency of proactive and meaningful PR efforts.
Bayer’s commitment to Health & Nutrition
What can a company contribute? Reflecting on Bayer’s 160-year history of advancing health and nutrition, Dr. Preuss highlighted the organisation’s inspiring motto, “Health for all, hunger for none.” With a system-critical product portfolio in health and nutrition, Bayer is particularly relevant during times of uncertainty and vulnerability. Dr. Preuss emphasised the company’s commitment to engaging in conversations and building trust relationships with customers, stakeholders, and society at large as he said – “We as a company are focusing on to take part in the conversations and building a trust relationship with our customers, our stakeholders and society at large”. With a bigger purpose and responsible corporate behaviour, we build company reputation, he stated.
The rise of Business Trustworthiness
In an era where trust is paramount, Dr. Preuss cited statistics demonstrating that business has become the most trusted institution. Consumer and employee expectations are on the rise, and brands that align with societal values are favoured. Topics such as – climate change, healthcare access, workforce skilling, energy shortages, economic inequality, and reliable information are areas where businesses should focus on.
Sustainability at the Core
Dr. Preuss underscored that sustainability is deeply ingrained in Bayer’s values, strategies, and operations. The company has made sustainability a core element, guided by the principles of Bayer Societal Engagement (BASE). An independent Sustainability Council advises Bayer on sustainability matters, ensuring transparency in the development of science-based solutions.
Sharing the Science
To empower consumers and stakeholders, Bayer provides access to comprehensive safety study reports for innovations in crop science. This commitment to transparency allows stakeholders to explore the scientific rigour and safety standards applied to every product. Dr. Preuss believes that by sharing the science behind their innovations, they can foster understanding and trust among their audience.
PR as a Catalyst for Change
In a fireside chat with Aseem Sood, CEO of Impact Research & Measurement, Dr. Preuss addressed the question of whether PR can change the world. His resounding answer was, “PR can change the world.” He stressed the importance of authentic communication emanating from the heart of the company. Dr. Preuss believes that when organisations communicate sincerely, people take notice, and that, in turn, can lead to transformative change.
Dr. Michael Preuss’s talk at WPRF 2023 served as a compelling reminder that PR has the power to drive positive change in an increasingly complex world. By embracing transparency, sustainability, and authentic communication, organisations like BayerAG can indeed be catalysts for a brighter and more equitable future.
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