Relevance and Adaptability: The New Normal Mantra

Businesses function as a combination of factors that are complementary to each other. It is no longer wise to be apolitical in business, but overly tying oneself to political issues is also not recommended. Explaining this delicate balance, Brad Staples, CEO—of APCO Worldwide, spoke of how businesses were redefining global priorities, looking to make their future secure. With over 25 years of experience in devising public affairs strategies and campaigns, Mr. Staples dished out his take on how Public Affairs will look in the New Normal.

Public Affairs is a culmination of using communication to address concerns and build trust amongst stakeholders around issues of governmental nature. Public Affairs and Government Relations are gaining extreme attention for various purposes such as seeking government support for the organization and so on, says Mr Staples. This can be due to the current era’s increased disparity and distortion. The world as we know it today has changed drastically in the past few years. A global pandemic, increased polarization over socio-political issues, several of which assumed mainstream focus in recent times— racial bias, mob lynching, boycotts, failing infrastructure, inflation, catastrophic wars, and broadening of the gap between socioeconomic classes of people.

In light of such serious issues at the forefront, as a brand, it is pointless to maintain an apolitical stand. Brands must embrace addressing geopolitical and commerce issues.
A pertinent example of businesses adapting to the new normal would be best explained by the hybrid model of working. The pandemic has effectively shattered trade lines and economic models. And one of the relevant changes experienced was the relationship between the employer and employee. It has undergone a complete transformation— resetting the traditional patterns for hybrid and work-from-home models.

Speaking to Ramya Rajagopalan, Head of Communications & Diversity—Siemens India, Mr. Staples speaks about businesses gearing up to address global macro trends. The Russia-Ukraine war affected business trends and changed the face of a dynamic Europe. In such times, a multistakeholder approach becomes increasingly important, along with politicization. Bonding over their collective fondness for Goan food, Ms. Rajagopalan spoke of culture as an anchor to steady brands in their turbulent times. Brands can only stay afloat if they’re willing to break through conventional norms and bring home an inclusive culture that is both diverse and equitable.

Rounding up the talk, the speakers concluded that the key for brands to truly survive in such unpredictable times was—To Listen. Listening, although underrated, is the ultimate way to become adaptable. Relevance springs from adaptability and helps brands make the journey all the ahead.

PRAXIS 9: My Experience of Networking at a Large Event

Over the course of our diploma at SCoRe, we have been asked often about our purpose of joining the program. Naturally, my answers came from academic and limited work experience which may have even sounded generic. Today, this is how I answer the question— I joined this program to challenge myself.’ Networking for the very first time at PRAXIS9 challenged me to let go of my inhibitions and interact with a diverse set of professionals. Shrugging off initial hesitation and a few awkward attempts later, I got into the groove of speaking freely.

Networking made me realise an underrated skill we must try to master—listening. Initially, at mixers like this, students can learn more by listening than speaking. There always will be enough opportunities to speak. Like your battles, you must pick your instances too to avoid redundancy across conversations. I briefly learnt about the nuances of body language, tone, clarity of speech, confidence, and even articulation. For me, it was a lesson in introspection.
To sum up—” The world has a lot to offer, all you have to do is ask.”