Davos World Communication Forum promises great speakers and debate

The Three Whales Game, WCF Davos

Playing the Three Wales Game at the World Communication Forum in Davos in 2014.

The World Communication Forum in Davos next week will see communications and PR experts from 24 countries and five continents gather to discuss a diverse range of topics that are shaping the global communications and public relations agenda in 2015.

This year I’m honoured to be moderating the first day and doing a round-up of the best of the day’s debates on the first day and at the end of the whole forum on the second day. A highlight of this year’s WCF is that we also have three government ministers speaking from South Africa, Czech Republic and Morocco as well as senior government communicators and spokespeople from Lebanon, Egypt, Slovak Republic, Hungary, Dijbouti and Kazakhstan.

The World Communication Forum isn’t like a traditional conference where you are inspired by or snooze through a series of keynote speakers. Rather it’s a gathering of mainly senior PR professionals holding a series of panel discussions with lots of participation by delegates who are not on the stage. The best thing about WCF is that it has a diverse range of delegates and speakers from all around the world and always has particularly strong representation of PR professionals from outside of the usual suspects from western Europe and the USA.

The forum kicks off with a panel discussion led by Gianni Catalfamo on the Global Communications Agenda 2015 with Kara Alaimo (Assistant Professor of Public Relations, Hofstra University, USA), Sergey Zverev, (President of CROS Public Affairs and Public Relations Company, Professor of The National Research University: Higher School of Economics, Head of Integrated Communications Department, Russia), Bharat Patel (Chair and Managing Director of Sandhya Prakash Group, Editor of Dainik Sandhya Prakash, India).

This is followed by a discussion on government and communications with Faith Muthambi, the Minister of Communications of the Government of South Africa and speakers from Russia, Lebanon, India and Egypt. Next is a fascinating panel on Diplomacy 2.0 in time of change followed by a panel on investment and place branding.

The afternoon sees a panel on Communications and Leadership with speakers from Malaysia, South Africa, India, Hungary and Colin Byrne, CEO of Weber Shandwick EMEA. There are also panels on Communications in Asia and Employee Communications.

We finish day one with the Dura Lex industry game led by Lena Brandt and Ekaterina Lavrova, two very talented PR professionals from Moscow. Last year Lena and Ekaterina devised and led the Three Whales Game, which I had low expectations of, but actually turned out to be one of the best parts of the forum (see my report). So this year I’m very much looking forward to playing the game.

In the evening it’s the gala dinner for the presentation of the C4F Awards.

The second day has sessions on Cross-cultural vs Global Communications,  What Influences Trust in a Brand: Communication vs Customer Experience, Story telling and Story Sharing, as well as a session on selecting PR agency and consultancy partners.

Other speakers include Yogesh Joshi (President of the Association of Business Communicators of India), Zhao Dali (Vice President and Secretary General of China International Public Relations Association), Philippe Borremans and Holly H Zheng, (President of Bluefocus International and tipped as one of  The Holmes Report’s People to Watch in its 2015 PR Trends forecast as she leads the Chinese group’s international growth strategy).

This year, shortly after WCF, we’ll also be publishing a review of the discussions with contributions from both the speakers and other delegates at WCF. Later we’ll also be publishing the World Communication Review with a collection of longer articles and opinions on the future of the global communications agenda.

Participation isn’t limited to just those who can visit the Swiss Alps to enjoy both the forum and the scenery, but also to anyone who wants to take part on social media. On Twitter you can use the #WCFDavos hash tag for the forum and the #WCFGCA hash tag for the World Communication Forum Global Communications Agenda Review. You can also take part in the discussion on the WCF Davos Facebook page.