Diana Marszalek 09 Jun 2023 // 12:00PM GMT
In our Headliners series of conversations, we get under the skin of PR and communications leaders around the world who have made PRovoke Media headlines recently, uncovering what they see as the greatest challenges and opportunities for the industry, where they find inspiration (and how they switch off), what they’ve learned about themselves, as well as the creative campaigns they love and the work they are most proud of.
In the latest Q&A in the series, we chat with Corey duBrowa, the Google comms leader who selected to succeed Donna Imperato as BCW's next CEO.
What are the greatest challenges and opportunities for the PR and communications industry over the next 12 months?
There is a tremendous amount of change in the world right now, with volatile financial markets, massive geopolitical shifts, continuing calls for social justice, and so much more. Because of all that, so many brands and organizations are undergoing some form of transformation, because in times of tremendous change you must adapt or risk becoming obsolete. But with those challenges, there’s never been a better time to work in communications. Respect for communications professionals as key advisers to the C-suite has never been higher and it’s only going to continue to grow.
I have to say I’m also incredibly excited by the possibilities that A.I. will afford our industry in terms of creativity and rapid campaign development in the future. We are quite literally just getting started and rapid experimentation will help us to learn quickly and capitalize on behalf of the brands and organizations we represent.
What’s the best PR campaign you’ve seen recently and why?
I'm going to "cheat" a bit here and list something I was working on at Google, and two things that have caught my eye before starting with BCW. At Google, at the beginning of the war in Ukraine in 2022, the company recognized immediately how Google products such as Translate, Maps and Android would play a huge role in helping to alleviate some of the stress and strain of the refugee crisis; the company is now more than $50 million into its investments in NGOs dedicated to refugee resettlement (along with its amazing work on air-raid sirens for Android and some of the work on Maps that helped protect Ukrainian citizens from danger and attack), and won the first-ever Ukrainian Peace Prize as a result, something we were incredibly proud of.
At BCW, I have been knocked out by the agency's work for Change the Ref called "Joaquin's First School Shooting,” a not-for-children (rather, for lawmakers) children’s book designed to illustrate to politicians, in the simplest terms possible, the horrific effects of mass shootings. BCW Sweden's work for Carlsberg Sweden called “Sunken Bar” helped to raise awareness about the dangers of drunk boating and to save lives. Both are examples of super creative work that can really make a difference and, dare I say it, move people to action.
What work from your team are you most proud of over the past year?
I have to speak from a Google perspective as that has been my most recent experience: The team's recent series of announcements (and corresponding coverage) at Google I/O were so impressive and tied to everything that company is doing to develop A.I., but I have to say that my former colleague Bridgitt Arnold hit it out of the park with the 60 Minutes segment (nearly a half hour of TV, it was extraordinary storytelling) that Scott Pelley did on Google's foundational and advanced work on A.I., and ensuring that there is both bold innovation and responsible execution happening in balance. One of the stories I'm proudest to have been part of, ever.
What have you learned about yourself over the past couple of years?
That I am at my best and most engaged when I'm learning something new. Staying curious about what's going on around you is a key ingredient of being alive, I think.
How do you switch off and maintain wellness?
I am actually taking a two-month break between my role at Google and starting at BCW. I plan to do some traveling and will definitely get my fair share of fly fishing, hiking and golf in as well. I'm also a big Ted Lasso fan and am finishing up the final season.
What cultural source has provided creative inspiration for you lately?
I love the Perfectly Imperfect newsletter; it's incredibly energizing to see what inspires creative people to think differently. I also adore my friend Brooke Hammerling's weekly podcast, Pop Culture Mondays on Thursdays.
If I wasn’t working in PR/comms I would be…
A rancher in Central Oregon. (I've already been dabbling).I might be teaching a bit at university as well.