Orchestrating global strategies

What Mahler’s 8th can teach us about synchronising diverse voices

Munich, New Music Festival Hall, September 12, 1910. You’re standing on a podium facing the greatest array of musicians ever assembled: a huge orchestra, eight soloists, three choirs, with four keyboard instruments and banks of percussion thrown in for good measure. It’s your job to make them work in harmony – while also preserving their individual character.
Mahler’s Eighth Symphony, a vast canvas of diverse sounds, is a metaphor for the communications of a global business. At Philips, we think about it a lot. Yes, we need to orchestrate our global messages so that we sound as one. But every part of the ensemble must sound its individual voice so that it can be heard loud and clear. When you operate in more than 150 countries and in three broad sectors (Healthcare, Consumer Lifestyle, Lighting), that’s a real challenge. Then – in recent years – we must add a major strategic shift towards Health and Wellbeing and a reposition of our brand to ‘sense and simplicity’.

Gerd Götz

Dr Gerd Götz has held different managing roles in public affairs, corporate communications and brand management in Hamburg, Brussels and Amsterdam.He was in charge of Royal Philips’ professional and public affairs group and the company’s European affairs office, after having been deputy global director of Philips‘ corporate communications department prior to that. He was also an associate member of the European Round Table of Industrialists and a founding member of the European Association of Communications Directors. He started his career in 1980 as a business editor in Berlin. He studied Business Administration and Economics in Berlin and Paris, and earned his Ph.D. from Berlin’s Free University.