Alejandro Romero: “All communicators must be aware of the impact on our profession caused by technology”
Alejandro Romero recently took the role of Global CEO of LLYC, one of the largest communications consultancies in the Ibero-American world. And he did it with very ambitious plans. “Our idea is to have a company with 100 million euros in professional fees and, in the next three years, to double in size,” he says. “We will grow organically, as a result of our work, but also in an inorganic way, through acquisitions.” According to Romero, these plans are also valid for LLYC’s operation in Brazil, with an expansion of their reach in public and regulatory affairs, performance, and digital.
Currently working in 12 countries with 20 offices, LLYC has established itself as a global communication consultancy. Romero’s motto to remain relevant in a constantly changing world is to “invent the future” — understanding the paths being opened today and, based on data analysis and predictability models, inventing the future, anticipating problems, and creating efficient solutions to problems while they are surfacing.
Aberje welcomed Romero at its headquarters for a chat with our executive director, Hamilton dos Santos. We took the opportunity to explore a little more of his plans for the future of LLYC and his vision of communication in our region.
One of LLYC’s mottos and how it structures its business is “inventing the future.” With your long global experience, especially in Latin America, what would be your recommendation for the LATAM communicator for the coming years?
All communicators – and not only Latin Americans – should be aware of the tremendous impact on our profession caused by technology. I would point to two main points of transformation.
First, we are radically migrating from prevention to predictability models, which is a radical change to communication. We move from the vision of our senses from our own experience to data analysis, using big data for decision-making. For the first time, we have tools to measure influence management and reputation management more effectively, which shows us perfectly whether there has been a change of perception.
The second great feature is the transformation in the supply of products and services. At LLYC, everything we offer to customers today was not on offer two years ago. This requires a lot of speed of adaptation and brutal flexibility. It is not in the sense of just evolving with the market and adapting, but of inventing the future. I have this phrase as a mantra. We must understand what is happening, have a vision of what will happen, and create the future based on the models of predictability.
This is our consulting model: A deep data analysis generating an analysis of territories and communities that generates influencers. From there, we identify insights that drive effective creativity and start creating content, which should be multiplatform (audiovisual, meme, GIF) and multichannel (offline and digital). These contents can be accelerated with performance, and then we measure again to see what transformation we have caused.
In the end, in all these years that I have been at LLYC, our business model has always sought to contribute to our customers’ business. What has changed is the way to understand the problem and offer solutions. The most important remains the customer challenge, not the tools we use.
It is typical for the communication industry to be in constant transformation. A few years ago, much was said about gamification; then came Metaverse, and in recent weeks we began to discuss the impact of artificial intelligence and ChatGTP on our profession. As a digital communication expert and now the Global CEO of LLYC, how do you keep offering the right tools to meet your customers’ needs?
At LLYC, we invest in three expressions of innovation. We have an internal area of innovation with an annual budget of 1 million euros, which is the company’s commitment. That is complemented by LLYC Ideas, which allows the company’s best professionals to generate content and innovation.
Another essential point for innovation is LLYC Venturing, our venture capital company. We have 5 million euros to invest in high digital transformation companies. We aim at around 25 investments in companies that can bring products for the transformation of LLYC. One of them, announced a few months ago, is Erudit. It is a company that does an employee climate survey based on companies’ internal communications, emails, and chat tools within 48 hours.
Thus, our primary focus is a digital business, including deep learning and digital influence. Today digital transformation represents 35% of our business, but we want it to be at least 50%. This is the third arm of innovation for LLYC.
Do you think these are also the main challenges of communication managers today?
There are countless challenges for communication board members, but above all, the digitization and interpretation of data add to creativity when developing relevant content. These are the challenges of communication in global terms, not just in Brazil or Latin America. Therefore, communicators must continue to work to have more influence within their organizations, be present in management committees, and actively participate in decision-making.
Recently, Aberje published research showing that the Brazilian communication market has an annual budget of over R$30 billion. How is Brazilian communication compared to other countries in the region?
First, we must congratulate Aberje for its effort to measure this market. This is a fundamental role that the associations play: to be places of knowledge production and debate on the profession’s future.
The research results show that Brazil, compared to other communication markets in the region or even some European markets, is a fairly large market. However, if we compare it with the telecommunications market, for example, or cinema, it is a market with great potential to develop. Investments and communication and reputation are one-tenth of marketing investments, for example. And our market tends to be endless. Therefore, we are responsible for always bringing more value to the customers we work with.
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