MEXICO CITY — With the Covid-19 pandemic forcing organizations across Latin American to fast-track transformation, Wednesday's PRORP Radical Conference will focus on the impact the crisis is having on communicators — and the challenges they face in responding.

“Now more than ever companies and brands are thinking about their businesses through the eyes of the pandemic, which for some is a kind of crash course,” said Weber Shandwick Mexico health & wellness director Erika Haller. “They’ve had to think quickly on what this means to their users, consumers, stakeholders and or to business in general.”

Haller is one of a number of industry experts who will be delving into the effect of the coronavirus outbreak on communications at 2020 Radical, which will be held virtually Wednesday starting at 8:30 a.m. CDT — and be capped off at 2:40 p.m. with PRovoke Media’s 2020 Latin America SABRE Awards presentation and virtual cocktail hour. Tickets may be purchased on the PRORP (the Association of Mexican Public Relations Professionals) website here.

The way Haller sees it, the pandemic’s effect on organizations is so profound that every company in many ways is now a healthcare company, which is the theme of Weber’s Radical panel discussion, and communicators have to adapt accordingly.

“But, when I say that every company is becoming a healthcare company, I mean this goes further than installing safety measures and providing masks. Companies have been increasingly looking at health in a broader way, seeking to respond to consumers’ needs by adding value to their products through health claims and initiatives,” she said.

“We’ve seen this trend coming over the past few years, but the pandemic was a seismic event and everyone is trying to figure out their own space, their own way to communicate in this environment and now brands have to do that, while thinking about how to help their communities in need, making sure that they are kept safe.”

Zimat partner Andrea Castro also will be addressing communications in the age of Covid albeit from a different angle.

Zimat's panel discussion will explore how the pandemic is compelling communicators to change their priorities in response to stakeholders changing theirs. “Brands and companies are learning to reconnect with their audiences. New agendas and new narratives have come during Covid,” Castro said.

People are calling on organizations to acknowledge and address equity and inclusion. Mental health has become something “companies and organizations are not able to ignore anymore.” 

New agency research shows employees have emerged from the crisis as organizations’ most important stakeholder. “Companies are going to have to communicate what they are doing for their people,” she said.

Other Radical highlights will include: A Llorente y Cuenca panel on technology and communications; a BCW discussion on new modes of communications amid new scenarios; and explorations of brands as leaders, corporate reputation and artificial intelligence.