WE UK launches strategic advisory board to deepen expertise

WE Communications, an independent communications agency, has announced the formation of a local strategic board in the UK deepening its core sector expertise with specialties in AI, tech, sustainability and health. This new initiative aims to provide external insights and advisory support to clients and team members navigating a complex and fast-moving business environment through seminars, events, and training."In today's volatile business and political landscape, it's crucial for organisations to not only be prepared for the unexpected but think about what’s next," said Laura Gillen, Managing Director of WE Communications UK. "Our strategic board will play a vital role in helping our clients and teams address pressing issues such as rapid technological advances, regulatory challenges, and political instability."The founding group members will advance the agency's commitment to driving people to positive action and will be formed of independent experts and influential leaders from across multiple sectors: Jane Wakefield, former BBC technology reporter with two decades of experience in journalism, said: "I hope my many years of experience as a technology journalist can help inform WE's clients and make sense of the ever more complex tech landscape we live in." Wakefield's deep expertise will help clients navigate emerging technologies and their implications.  Dr Fiona Adshead, Chair of the Sustainable Healthcare Coalition, bolsters the group’s expertise in addressing sustainability and healthcare challenges. "I'm excited to bring my wealth of experience as an influential wellbeing, public health, and sustainability leader to this new initiative," she said. Her insights will help clients understand the intersection of health and sustainability.Bernard Marr, best-selling author and futurist, brings his forward-thinking perspective on the applications of AI. "In an era of technology and business transformation, it's crucial to anticipate and understand emerging trends," Marr said. "WE Communications' commitment to innovation aligns perfectly with my own values."  Dr Max Pemberton, Daily Mail columnist, said: "With my experience both working in the media and on the NHS coal-face, I hope I can bring valuable insights into the ever-changing healthcare landscape for both the WE team and their clients."  Saeed Atcha, MBE, CEO at Youth Leads UK, adds the important voice of younger generations to the board. "I'm excited to be bringing the perspectives of young people to the forefront," Atcha said. "Gen Z and Gen Alpha are incredibly socially aware and engaged, and they are actively contributing to their communities."Gillen concluded: "Our strategic board members, as knowledge leaders, will empower our clients and team to see beyond market complexities and seize new opportunities with confidence."

WATATAWA names Stephen Robertson as new MD

WE Communications agency, WATATAWA, has announced the appointment of Stephen Robertson as their new managing director. Effective immediately, Stephen brings his impressive 30 years of experience in strategic communications across Asia-Pacific to the role.Throughout his career, Stephen has provided counsel to a wide range of regional and national corporations. His expertise lies in areas like corporate reputation management, strategy and positioning, crisis and issues management, and stakeholder engagement. Stephen is adept at navigating complex situations involving leadership, reputation, and regulations. He understands the critical role of communication insights, media savvy, and precision in achieving successful business outcomes for clients.Prior to his new role, Stephen held various regional consulting leadership positions. He is known for his hands-on approach, tackling communication challenges with a blend of logic and creativity. Stephen fosters close partnerships with clients' business and communication leaders to deliver effective strategies. He is a past president of the New Zealand Chamber of Commerce Singapore, further demonstrating his leadership and commitment to the region.Under Stephen's leadership, WATATAWA is poised to strengthen its presence in Singapore and across APAC. He will report to Nitin Mantri, Regional Executive Managing Director for APAC at WE Communications. Stephen succeeds Simon Pangrazio, the former Managing Partner, who will be departing the firm on July 5th.Kass Sells, CEO, International, WE, said: “This transition is a passing-of-the-torch moment to the next -generation of leadership and an example of how WE invests in and develops our leaders from within. A long-time business partner to Simon, Stephen is a seasoned communications professional who knows the market, our people and our clients, with a strong vision for the future of WATATAWA. At the same time, I want to extend our gratitude to Simon, who was instrumental in building the WATATAWA business and the team we have today.” Stephen said: “I am grateful for the opportunity to lead WATATAWA and maintain the high bar that Simon has set. It has been a privilege to work closely together over the decade and to develop a business and consulting model that is as relevant to our clients as ever and encourages and engages our people.”

WE Communications appoints Nichole Provatas as EVP

WE Communications (WE) has announced the appointment of Nichole Provatas as executive vice president and international head of integrated marketing. This new role expands upon her previous position as executive vice president, APAC head of integrated marketing. Prior to that, she served as the global head of digital, creative, and strategy.In her new role, Provatas will lead WE's borderless experience team (BET), a globally decentralized group that offers client counsel, creative execution, strategic insights, and data capabilities to clients worldwide.Before joining WE, Provatas was at Adobe, where she held roles as head of brand communications and advocacy, APAC, and head of social media, APAC. She also worked as an account director and senior account supervisor at Edelman in Sydney and New York, respectively.Additionally, WE Communications has appointed Brian Keenan as executive vice president and international head of insights and analytics. Keenan will be responsible for enhancing WE's insight, analytics, and strategy capabilities for clients and driving growth across key markets and sectors.Keenan previously held the role of executive vice president, APAC strategy, and head of strategy at WE. His prior experience includes serving as senior vice president of planning and head of business intelligence at Weber Shandwick Australia, as well as senior insights, strategy and creativity planner and global creative initiatives manager at Ketchum in London. According to his LinkedIn profile, Keenan began his career as a guest lecturer at New York University, where he taught global marketing, creativity, brainstorming, and emerging technologies.Both Provatas and Keenan report to Kass Sells, CEO, International, WE.Alongside these leadership changes, WE has appointed Charmaine Lin and Michelle Lim as director and associate director of sectors in Singapore, respectively. Reporting to Troy Lee, head of sectors at WE, Lin and Lim will enhance the agency’s capabilities in tourism, travel and hospitality, technology, B2B, and crisis communications.

India's AI gap: Avian WE report calls for clearer communication strategies

There is a significant opportunity for business leaders to turn their AI vision into action by communicating it to both internal and external stakeholders, according to the India-specific findings from WE Communications’ (WE) latest ‘Brands in Motion’ (BIM) global study, “Bridging the AI Expectation Gap.” This new research, released in Bengaluru, reveals data and insights from the Indian market. The BIM study surveyed over 2,900 business executives across the globe - including India, Australia, Singapore, China, Germany, Singapore, the UK, and the USA - to gain insight into how AI is impacting organisational culture, trust, and business communications. Of the 2900 executives surveyed 500 were from India.Neha Mehrotra, Managing Director Avian WE, stated: “AI is not just a technological advancement; it is a transformative force reshaping business operations and customer engagement. For businesses, the crucial question is not whether to adopt AI, but how swiftly and effectively they can leverage this transformative power. While enthusiasm for AI is high, the implementation gap is concerning. This report highlights the critical need for strategic communication to bridge the AI expectation gap and provides a comprehensive roadmap for organizations to harness AI's full potential.”There was broad recognition of the opportunity for AI to drive impact across business functions. The leaders polled identified product development, customer service, and marketing and communications as the top three areas that would benefit most from greater adoption of AI.The study recommended four strategies to turn AI vision into action:  1. Build an AI Employee Engagement Strategy: Audit employee sentiment and optimize to address gaps and areas of interest in the build-out and implementation of the organization’s AI content and engagement strategy. 2. Link to the Company’s Transformation Journey: Modernize the company narrative and messaging to show how AI is advancing the overall transformational journey, demonstrating its potential to drive growth, change, and innovation. 3. Employ Executive Communications and Thought Leadership: C-level and company leadership messaging need to spotlight consistent AI progress updates and the specific behaviors and change management needed to fully harness AI. 4. Update Crisis and Issues Preparedness Plans: Conduct risk assessments and scenario planning on potential AI-related issues, incorporating these into overall preparedness plans.To achieve these goals, the study recommended greater transparency across stakeholders as a cornerstone for AI efforts: 84% of the study’s Indian participants believed their organization should be more or equally transparent about its use of AI compared with their vendors, partner businesses, and customers.“Although transparency is crucial for AI integration, our study showed only 39% of Indian organizations practiced it, and just 31% prioritized employee feedback. Leaders must commit to open communication to bridge the gap between AI vision and implementation. We hope the recommended strategies help businesses navigate tech transformations and leverage innovation for growth,” Mehrotra concluded.(Image by Peggy und Marco Lachmann-Anke from Pixabay)

Unlocking AI potential: Survey calls for clear communication strategies

A new global survey by WE Communications, an integrated communications agency, reveals a significant gap between executives' high expectations for AI and their organisations' concrete plans for communicating its adoption. While 83% of surveyed business decision-makers (including C-suite executives, senior management, and executive directors) are optimistic about AI's potential, less than half (37%) have established programmes to amplify its impact.The survey, titled "Bridging the AI Expectation Gap: Effective Communication Strategies," polled 2,900 executives and technology business decision-makers to understand how AI is impacting organisational culture, trust, and business communications.Key Findings:  Vision-Action Gap: Despite high optimism, most organizations lack a plan to fully capitalize on AI's potential. Only 17% are actively changing current behaviors to fully leverage AI's impact.  AI Communications Imperative: While recognizing the importance of clear communication, only 37% actively communicate AI's benefits internally.  Call for Collective Transparency: Nearly three-quarters (74%) of respondents believe their organizations should be more transparent about AI use compared to vendors and partners.  AI Opportunities: Customer service (47%) is seen as the area most likely to benefit from AI adoption, followed by Marketing & Communications (46%) and Product Development (45%).  AI Concerns: Security risks (92%) top concerns around AI adoption, followed by over-reliance on AI (58%) and job displacement (52%).Effective Communication is Key:The survey underscores the critical role of effective communication in driving AI adoption. WE Communications offers a range of services to help organizations bridge the AI expectation gap, including:  AI Engagement & Communications Strategy Development  Company Transformation Narrative Refresh  Executive Communications & Thought Leadership  Crisis & Issues Preparedness Plan Updates  AI Narrative Workshops & Storymaking  Executive AI PlatformOrganisations must act quickly to engage stakeholders with clear and compelling communication about AI. By bridging the expectation gap, companies can lead their employees and customers through a new era of AI-driven innovation and growth.

WE wins Schoen Clinic UK Group account to promote mental health expertise

WE Communications has emerged victorious in a competitive pitch, securing the PR and digital communications brief for Schoen Clinic UK Group.Schoen Clinic UK Group, a leader in specialized private mental health and eating disorder treatment, is part of the Schoen Clinic Group, the largest family-owned hospital company in Germany. WE will leverage their expertise to promote Schoen Clinic UK Group's multidisciplinary approach and proven success in supporting both adult and pediatric patients."We are excited to partner with WE Communications, an agency that understands our business and shares our ethos, as we continue to grow our footprint in the mental healthcare space in the UK. WE’s strong healthcare sector knowledge and integrated digital capabilities made them an obvious choice to partner with for our exciting next chapter,” said Laura Penn, Marketing Director at Schoen Clinic UK Group. WE will focus on content development, media engagement, and digital marketing to achieve Schoen Clinic UK Group's objectives. Niamh Griffin, Director of Health at WE Communications, will lead the account.“Schoen Clinic UK Group joins a growing list of WE healthcare clients driving positive outcomes and impact for people in the UK. The team is excited to join Schoen Clinic UK Group as they seek to improve people’s lives and help them access their specialised treatments across the country,” said Ben Fisher, Head of Health at WE Communications. This win adds Schoen Clinic UK Group to WE's impressive global health portfolio, which already boasts 12 of the world's top 25 bio and pharma companies.

Agency expands regional roles, showing growth and investment in EMEA.

WE Communications, a leading independent global communications agency, today announced new regional leadership appointments that showcase the agency’s continued commitment to driving overall growth across the EMEA region, which had double-digit growth last year. Daniel Blank has been elevated to head of integrated marketing, EMEA, and Jasmin Athwal to head of growth and business development, EMEA.“WE’s EMEA region has experienced strong performance over the past few years, and our business is ready for additional cross-regional leadership that will continue our positive trajectory,” said Kass Sells, WE’s CEO of international. “Daniel and Jasmin have proven track records of driving results and will be an unstoppable pair when it comes to leading WE into this next chapter.”Under his new remit, Blank will be responsible for driving the agency’s creative and digital work across all EMEA markets. He will manage a team of more than 35 specialists spanning client capabilities that include insights and analytics, creative concepting, design, social media, paid media and content production. Prior to this, Blank served as deputy managing director of WE’s Germany office for six years. Throughout his career of more than 25 years, he has partnered with many multinational brands across the technology, healthcare, consumer products and sustainability sectors.“Clients today rightfully expect seamlessly integrated campaigns and 360-degree digital servicing from their agency partners,” said Sells. “By bringing together a cross-regional team, WE will further increase its creative diversity, quality and scalability for the brands with which we partner.”Athwal is charged with leading new business and marketing, including the development and implementation of a growth strategy across WE’s German, U.K. and South African operations that fuels cross-regional collaboration and integration. She will collaborate closely with local market leadership to drive client acquisition across WE’s key sectors of health, technology and consumer. Athwal most recently was senior director, technology at WE, where she provided counsel to B2B executive leaders on strategic communications and media relations, supporting the growth of WE’s largest clients in the EMEA region.WE’s EMEA Region experienced more than 14% growth in the last calendar year and represents clients that include Forest Stewardship Council, Honeywell and Microsoft.Athwal is based in London, and Blank is based in Munich. Both will continue to report to Sells.