Unconventional Communication For Emotionally Charged Times

 

Bayer has for many years been a champion of open, dialogue-oriented communication. On the one hand, we endeavor wherever possible to engage in constructive dialogue with our stakeholders – whatever their opinions and perspectives. On the other hand, we hold positions that we consider to be right and we do this openly, with confidence and sometimes rather unconventionally, too. Some call this taking a stand.

Of course, we also adopt this approach when addressing issues relating to the food and farming of tomorrow. Few other debates have such significance for the future of the world, yet few other debates are conducted in such harsh terms. The emotionally charged and years-long debate surrounding glyphosate or the protests of tens of thousands of farmers against European agricultural policy are just two of the most prominent examples.

„Few other debates have such significance for the future of the world“

This is why we have focused our communication efforts for some time now on addressing the following questions:

Christian Maertin

Christian Maertin

Head of Corporate Communication at Bayer AG

  • How can Bayer contribute to ensuring that the debate surrounding food and farming is conducted on a more objective level, and that conventional and organic farmers are not permanently at loggerheads, but can constructively discuss the best way forward into the future?
  • How do we communicate to the general public the fact that feeding a growing global population is an enormously complex challenge that cannot be solved simply by eating only organic food and avoiding pesticides?
  • How do we give people guidance and reassurance if they want to eat sustainably and responsibly in these times of climate change and declining biodiversity?
  • And how do we respond to media reporting – especially on TV – that frequently presents the results of biased and closed-minded research and deliberately conveys messages with little nuance?

Having reflected on these questions, we took yet another rather unconventional approach, one that rarely appears in the standard corporate communication toolbox in this form: a 30-minute documentary entitled How Do I Go About Eating Well?

We asked actor and chef Hardy Krüger Jr. to take a tour of Germany and talk to a whole range of experts. At the heart of his discussions with farmers, scientists and politicians was the question: How can we feed ten billion people in the future and, at the same time, meet the immense challenges of climate change and declining biodiversity?

A film that offers answers – and is also an invitation to talk

The result is a film that not only offers answers to these questions, but also once more gives Bayer the opportunity to engage in constructive and critical dialogue with key stakeholders. Think of it as an invitation to talk. You can find a quick taster here:

Please click the play button to start the video.

So it’s only fitting that we were planning to accompany the film premiere by a panel discussion featuring Liam Condon, who is a member of the Board of Management of Bayer AG and President of Bayer’s Crop Science Division. Regrettably, due to the situation with the coronavirus, we had to postpone the event. But we would still like to share the documentary with you and so will make it available on March 25 on a dedicated website, along with further information material about the film and agriculture.

I would be delighted if you could join us on the website. If you like the film, I’d love to hear your feedback. And, even more importantly, please get in touch if you have any criticism or suggestions for improvement. You can reach me here or at dialog@26f40c397dfc4cfe87dfdeeff692fc94bayer.com.