Davos Notebook

Advertising in Davos: The message isn’t medium

With 1,500 business leaders and up to 50 government officials in town for the World Economic Forum it shouldn’t be a surprise that advertising messages in Davos are aimed at a different demographic than one would expect in even the most upscale of ski resorts.

The most popular source of ads are emerging nations attempting to attract investors with millions of dollars to sling around. For example many of the buses here tout former Soviet State Azerbaijan as the “Land of the Future.”

Despite their subject matter, some of the ads adhere to standard conventions such as citing statistics to prove their “product” is bigger or better than competitors. For example this billboard above Davos’s famed Kaffee Klatsch restaurant informs passing plutocrats of India’s high population of low median age people who apparently enjoy dressing up and striking nonchalant poses.

This ad and many others seen around town are sponsored by the India Brand Equity Foundation – “A hub of knowledge for all facts, market research, industry reports, trade information etc related to Brand India.” Here’s another one that informs the skiers and elderly residents boarding this bus that India is an “aspirational nation of potential and promise” and that, by the way, the electronics market there will grow by 700% by 2020.

Not all of the ads in town go for the hard sell. This banner on the side of the Kirchner Museum features a tasteful image of the South African flag with the simple, if open-ended, message “South Africa – Inspiring new ways.”

Where emerging markets are headed next

In its video presentation “Looking to 2060: A Global Vision of Long-term Growth,” the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development predicts that China will soon surpass the United States to become the world’s largest economy, and will account for 28 percent of global gross domestic product by 2030. The OECD also predicts that by 2060 the combined GDP of China and India will overtake that of the OECD economies. Meanwhile, Bain estimates that by 2020 emerging economies will account for two-thirds of global economic growth.

Without doubt, emerging countries are showing more resilience and promise than established economies in the Americas and the euro zone.

While emerging economies have shown potential for many years, they came of age during the global financial crisis. Thanks to prudent government and monetary policies, they have helped stabilize the global economy. A closer look at the emerging market growth story reveals some of its key strengths.

To fight worker illness, we need uniform measurements

Improving the health of employees worldwide is vital to our global economic strength and growth. In the U.S. alone, the economic cost of chronic diseases is estimated at $1.3 trillion annually. The World Economic Forum’s Workplace Wellness Alliance was launched in 2010, and it has spent the years since driving home the critical importance of investing in workplace wellness.

This year, the Alliance is releasing a report that underscores a crucial ingredient to help our mission. Entitled “Making the Right Investment: Employee Health and the Power of Metrics,” the report focuses on the need to establish a common set of yardsticks that organizations can use to understand fully the impact of their wellness programs. It further demonstrates how imperative it is for all of us to work together to learn more about the ways we can encourage and enhance health and wellness in the workplace.

The Alliance’s collaborative structure has generated several key insights about developing a sustainable workforce. Primarily, we’ve learned that a healthy work environment makes a positive impact on employee engagement, productivity and the bottom line.

Davos: Can social media make a difference?

The Davos meeting organisers have made a huge push into social media this year. From interviews on Facebook to geo-location services using Foursquare, it’s an impressive use of social media tools to bring the closed-shop that is the WEF to the masses.

In the video clip below, Reuters correspondent and Davos veteran Ben Hirschler shares his thoughts on the impact this will have on this year’s WEF.

“They’ve made a big effort to show their involvement with the outside world,” he says. “The question is… to what extent is this just PR eye-wash and to what extent is it something serious?”

Davos fails to grab the attention of angry protesters

The days when anti-capitalist protesters could rampage through Switzerland’s financial capital Zurich in rage at the Davos talkfest 100 miles (150 km) to the east are long gone.

A couple of hundred anti-globalisation activists managed to rally in the nearby town of St. Gallen on Saturday against the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum opening this week. Braving a vicious north-east wind, they assembled near the station then marched peacefully through the centre of town, barely disrupting the good burghers as they went about their weekend shopping. At the front of the demo a large red banner proclaimed: “Take the future from the capitalists – Smash the WEF”.

The mostly young demonstrators pulled a cart festooned with anti-capitalist slogans, and beat drums and lit crackers to keep time. The march went off peacefully.

Why “generation next” matters at Davos

trevor dougherty lowres– Trevor Dougherty is a student and activist and will attend the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos as a representative of the Global Changemakers. He’s also the youngest American ever to attend the Davos meeting. —

Most of the sessions at the WEF’s annual conference in Davos will focus on the future, and how it can be bettered, so, naturally, a topic of discussion is the “next generation.” How will their consumption patterns change? How will they contribute to society? How will they use technology? How will they lead?

Among the Davos crowd, better known for its executives and politicians, is a group of people who can offer real insight to these questions. They possess a profound knowledge of “kids these days,” because, drum roll please, that is exactly what they are. Meet the British Council’s Global Changemakers, five teenagers selected from five different countries to represent young people at the World Economic Forum. My name is Trevor, and I am one of them.

Jargon hunting at Davos 2011

SWITZERLAND/The annual shindig of the great and good from the corporate, banking and political worlds in Davos is always a rich hunting ground for connoisseurs of business jargon.

This year’s meeting of the World Economic Forum is no exception.

The theme of the meeting is “Shared norms for the new reality” — which translated means the world has got a lot nastier, or at least different, and how do we deal with all the new threats?

Speaking from the WEF’s Dr. Evil-style headquarters overlooking Lake Geneva, forum founder and chairman Klaus Schwab said the world was now facing “global burn-out syndrome”, whose symptoms, he told a news conference, include lethargy, withdrawal, and a tendency to be reactive and rely on firefighting rather than being proactive and thinking strategically.

Cherchez La Femme at Davos

DAVOS/– Elisabeth Kelan is lecturer in the Department of Management at King’s College London. The opinions expressed are her own. –

The World Economic Forum (WEF) publishes insightful research on gender in business, the economy and politics. Every year, for instance, the WEF releases a Gender Gap Report that measures how countries are doing in regards to  gender equality.

This always stood in sharp contrast to the annual meeting in Davos itself, where spotting a female face in the crowd was easier said than done. It might come as a surprise (then again, it might not), but  one of the most influential meetings around the globe has so far taken place with minimal female involvement.

Celebrities and handshakes – is the WEF really working?

-Mark Kobayashi-Hillary is a British author, blogger, and advisor on technology, globalisation and corporate change, based in São Paulo, Brazil. The opinions expressed are his own.-

DAVOS AIDSThe World Economic Forum returns to Davos next week for the annual round of handshakes and backslapping between world leaders and A-list celebrities that aim to solve the major problems of the world. But when this blog (http://blogs.reuters.com/davos/2011/01/13/is-davos-still-relevant/) asked readers if the annual WEF meeting in Davos is still relevant, more than two-thirds of you said that times have changed and little will be achieved.

That seems a harsh judgement from the blog readers, so I asked my own network of online friends on Twitter (www.twitter.com/markhillary) and Facebook what they think.

Davos 2011: More people, fewer resources, big risk

Among the major issues global leaders will discuss at the upcoming annual World Economic Forum in Davos are the risks associated with the tightening of water, food and energy resources to meet the demands of an increasing global population.

The three interrelated resources impact both global economic growth and geopolitical stability and the Forum’s Global Risks 2011 report warns that “any strategy that focuses on one part of the water-food-energy nexus without considering its interconnections risks serious unintended consequences.”

Three recent news stories illustrate the risks associated with these precious resources.