Demystifying Davos: A Purpose-Driven Mindset

This week, top global leaders from business, government and civil society are gathering in Davos, Switzerland for the World Economic Forum. Together, they will examine our world’s most pressing challenges, and chart a path forward for collective action. They will meet and debate these issues under the timely theme of Responsive and Responsible Leadership.

What I love about the Forum’s Annual Meeting is the focus on purpose over product. Leaders come together with a genuine and forthright commitment to not only debate, but identify solutions to solve challenges ranging from climate change to gender parity. They are dedicated to helping the Forum in its mission to improve the state of the world.

Hundreds of reporters from around the world will join these leaders in Davos, eager to hear and share the outcomes of their discussions. They examine the Forum through the same lens and attitude as attendees, and with that comes a media environment a bit different than what we might traditionally be used to.

In other words, it is important not to look at the Annual Meeting like a typical conference or convention, filled with exhibitor halls and media events showcasing new products, innovations and initiatives from a singular organization. Rather, The Annual Meeting is a platform to tell the story of collaboration across organizations and stakeholders, which at its core is purpose-driven in the pursuit of changing global systems for the better. This is the story that media are eager not only to hear but to engage in as participants.

If the Annual Meeting provides you an opportunity to connect with reporters on the purpose-driven work your organization is bringing forward, here are five ways to help ensure your story is consistent with the media’s mindset, that may also help you turn all your interactions with the media on their head…

  1. Purpose, Not Product. Focus your organization’s story on the global challenges that inspire the programming you’ve put in place, and the commitments your organization can authentically make to help drive change. Put away any product marketing strategies during the meeting.
  1. Collective Heroes. The Annual Meeting is about telling stories that go beyond one organization. Stories should demonstrate a collaborative effort to bring about change – all the better if that collaboration happens across business, government and civil society sectors.
  1. National Perspective. Many of the discussions in Davos happen at a global level. Providing a more localized perspective on what those discussions mean for the country or region in which your organization operates can be an effective strategy with regional media in attendance.
  1. Economic Analysis. It’s no surprise that the economics of global challenges are a focal point. Looking at the discussions from a financial perspective will prove effective – financial media and reporters make up a large portion of press on the ground.
  1. Follow the Meeting. The Forum has many channels that allow you to follow the discussions and sessions of the Annual Meeting in real time. Use these to your organization’s advantage and find ways to join the conversation on topics where you can lend unique perspective and expertise.

The World Economic Forum offers an incredible opportunity to learn, be inspired by and share your organization’s own purpose-driven programming. With its timely theme and record 3,000 leaders in attendance this year, I know this year’s meeting will provide dialogue and debate that is sure to invigorate and inspire.

Laura Clementi is an expert in corporate reputation and purpose, who spent two years serving as Ketchum’s secondee to the World Economic Forum. There, she was fully embedded on the communications team, developing programs for the Forum’s global and regional events, including the Annual Meeting in Davos.