Drugi jezik na kojem je dostupan ovaj članak: Bosnian
Neli Angelova is the Head of Communications for the Southeastern European market (covering Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Northern Macedonia, Montenegro, Slovenia, Kosovo, Bulgaria and Romania) at Nestlé. She was appointed to the post last year as Corporate Communications Manager for Bulgaria, where she achieved significant results in realizing partnerships with key stakeholders and raising the level of cooperation with the media, developing the research and e-business sector. Nestlé is the world’s leading food company, employing more than 300,000 people and has been present in the Adriatic region since 2003, where it has a factory in Surčin.
How did this crisis affected communication plans from Nestlé, did you redefine your objectives?
Neli Angelova: Communication is an important element of running a business and developing categories and brands at Nestlé. With the onset of the COVID-19 situation, our first priority was to ensure the safety and health of our employees and to provide them with proper working conditions. One of the priorities was to ensure continued production and smooth supply chain operations so that our products would find a safe path to store shelves. Communication has been a part of this process all the time – towards our employees, our business partners, society as a whole and the end consumers. Of course, we had to redefine our communication – times have changed, we have to stay relevant, and Nestlé has always been consumer-focused and adaptable to change. So, our first task was to communicate effectively in times that no one has experienced so far and to provide confidence in society and consumers.
What are the main challenges you are faced with?
Neli Angelova: I would say that we are talking about two types of challenges: an unprecedented situation and uncertainty about how long this situation will last. Our main dilemma was when to launch a new plan, and how to assess the effects of the crisis, that is, objective constraints on the use of different communication channels, such as BTL activities and lack of events.
Do you see any changes in media relations, if yes – what are they? Which media will emerge from this crisis as “winners” and which as “losers”
Neli Angelova: As seen many times, difficult times bring people closer together, and I would say that this is reflected in media relations as well. There is a positive development in communication with media, because we are all together in this time full of challenges, we are all looking for ideas on how to get involved and continue our business as successfully as possible. I see that the media is growing trust in the business sector, looking at it not only from a commercial perspective, but also as a kind of social barometer – how the consumer reacts, what they react to, etc. The social dimension of business is now of particular interest to the media.
Are there any differences between HR/SI/BA when it comes to these changes?
Neli Angelova: The insights we have tell us that there is a common denominator for all SEE markets – the rise of online channels and the rapid adjustment to online communication, the struggles of retail for every customer and reputation (on topics such as worker safety, donations and local suppliers). Consumer activities have been moved to their own homes – more time is spent hanging out with family, cooking, exercising, working from home, shopping from home. From a communication perspective, it is up to us to align the brand and its purpose with the locally relevant context. For example, in the digital campaign for KIT KAT, we thank healthcare professionals for not taking a break at this time (KIT KAT’s slogan is “Take a break”).
How much is CSR relevant in these times, what does Nestlé do in that sense?
Neli Angelova: COVID-19 is not a situation that prompted Nestlé to be a socially responsible company – it has already been written at the core of our business. As a company, we believe we should create added value not only for our shareholders, but for the company as a whole. As I mentioned before, our first response to the coronavirus pandemic was to provide safe working conditions for all our employees, and especially for those working in the front lines – in factories and sales. We have also established a global partnership with the Red Cross to support the needs of different social groups. Last but not least, a number of local activities were carried out to support healthcare professionals.
What topic are now most relevant for you, have your priorities changed?
Neli Angelova: Running a sustainable business and staying close and responsible to society is our priority, which remains not only unchanged, but even more important in these difficult times. However, they also bring us something positive – the ability to show a willingness to change in the environment. I am proud to see how quickly we as a team have responded in both directions – in ensuring we continue our business and in our efforts to stay close to the community in the necessary way.
In terms of PA – on what topics do you concentrate your effort? Did the dynamics with public institutions changed?
Neli Angelova: As a company, we have always had very good cooperation with representatives of governments and NGOs, and it has continued in these moments. Both sides understand that joint, united efforts will help the whole society to overcome difficulties as soon as possible. We have also witnessed this when working with our government and non-governmental partners to ensure the free movement of essential foods.