Interview with Carlos Pizá de Silva, Head of Media at Endesa

INTERVIEW with Carlos Pizá de Silva, journalist, currently holds the position of Head of Media at Endesa (Enel Group). He was previously director of El Economista in Andalusia and chief economics editor at Andalucía Information. He has also worked for the Reuters agency and the newspaper El Confidencial, among other media.

Being in networks to adapt to the evolution of social networks is one of the challenges he faces now that, away from the day-to-day work in a newsroom, he manages the corporate communication of a large company.

-Carlos, how do you think the Internet and social networks have changed the way we practice journalism and communication?

Due to my experience in different national and regional media in the first two decades of this century, and due to the experiences narrated in books and documentaries, it has changed radically in terms of the production, dissemination and return of the news.

In journalism, although it has been almost four years since I left the digital press to join Endesa, it has generated greater dedication, a change in the way of writing, an unavoidable demand for digitalization of the professionals themselves and a new way of measuring the impact and effect of information. But it has also led in certain cases to a lower demand for quality and verification of information, as well as the creation of a fragmented and highly biased ecosystem that I believe is detrimental to society's trust in the media. I would say in summary that the concept of an editorial project that was born to serve society, which is the soul of what I understand to be a means of communication, has been blurred or, directly, lost.

In corporate communication, part of these changes are the same. Organizations must be constantly attentive to digital channels and exercise agile procedures to react internally and externally, whether what is circulating is positive or negative. We must participate in the conversation and that is why we need profiles of digital communicators. It also requires digitalization not only for the members of the Communication department, but also for a large part of the staff: a company has as many spokespersons as it has employees. I learned this very clearly with the Abengoa crisis that broke out in 2015: numerous employees, including managers, wrote to the journalists who covered that crisis to transmit information.

Social networks and a company's own digital channels, in this ecosystem, have become spaces of knowledge and means to disintermediate in order to directly reach society. The media have lost their monopoly on dissemination, despite continuing to be very relevant, and in the new gaps that have emerged, all actors are trying to reach our audiences more and better.

-How does the work of communicators benefit?

It benefits us because it offers a scope for creativity in terms of the generation and dissemination of our own content. I wouldn't go so far as to say that organizations have become their own “media”, but I am experiencing in my company the ability to launch at least one hub of open, quality content that can be a reference for users. citizens interested in energy in a broad sense. It also helps us a lot to bring to light internal talents that allow us to offer a richer and more real image of what is inside the companies.

As for the recipients of the information we generate, we can surgically reach local or sectoral groups in which we need to reinforce ourselves; this hypersegmentation is a value of networks like Facebook. In any case, the social network that best fits the way of working on corporate communication in a large or medium-sized company would be LinkedIn.

-They have also brought negative consequences… what would be the main 'evils' of social networks? how to fight them?

The main one is the dissemination of hoaxes, half-truths and aggression against organizations and their leaders. I joined Endesa in September 2020 and I have lived through the last few years of the gas price crisis and how this was transferred to the price of electricity. Orchestrated campaigns using users with anomalous behavior, especially on what was Twitter, to spread false information about electric companies has been an unpleasant surprise. But it also allows us to learn how these phenomena are generated and spread.

The narratives have been the same for years, but what has changed is that both in the media and on the networks and through our channels, we have decided to respond, respond and offer clear and reliable information. This sector is very complex, due to the enormous public regulation that shapes it, and that complexity must be unraveled, disseminated and made available to whoever needs to understand it to make decisions. We have been pioneers in the sector in creating informative channels such as La cara eo, launching informative newsletters such as La Voz de Endesa, and we will continue along that path.

-What challenges does a company like Endesa face in social networks?

I can talk about the challenges from the point of view of corporate communication, since commercial communication in a company with more than 10 million clients in Spain and Portugal has its own challenges and demands. In corporate, I would say that the key challenge is to evolve the presence on the networks to adapt to the evolution of these networks, both those that exist and those that are being created. Evaluate which network it is relevant to be in and how to approach that presence editorially, as well as provide yourself with resources and advice to optimize that presence. And, as I said before, reconvert human resources to participate in these networks and provide yourself with new profiles that maintain that presence in coming years. If you open a corporate profile on a network it is like when a new road is opened: cars are not going to stop passing by, so you have to be very sure of it.

-Why is planning so important?

Companies speak, internally, through technological systems and other management methodologies. Planning is omnipresent, so planning is inherent in corporate communication. We plan all the dissemination week by week, although day to day changes can obviously occur. Strict planning is also necessary to manage multichannel.

-How do social networks help the development of the business and achieve the objectives set?

As I pointed out, we have differentiated work areas between corporate communication and commercial communication. We are first cousins, we complement and support each other. In fact, the Endesa website is unique for commercial and corporate content. In other cases, presence is dissociated or it is decided to be on a network for one type of communication (Facebook for the commercial sphere) or another (LinkedIn for the corporate sphere).

We help the business manage what we call intangibles. For example, the opposition to renewable developments in rural areas, where fortunately Endesa is an example of how to do things well because of how we interweave with the environment to share the value generated by solar or wind plants. But the problems or bad practices of a third-party promoter affect all the rest of us. For this reason, we make known everything we do in the environments where we operate, we rely on the voices of third parties better than our own. This is clearly seen when our business development colleagues arrive at a municipality to launch a new plant.

We have also developed a particularly intense activity to highlight the very serious security and coexistence problems generated by massive electricity fraud to grow marijuana within blocks of flats in humble neighborhoods of large and medium-sized cities. Here social networks have been, and will continue to be, a very powerful ally.

-What feedback do you usually receive from clients? How do you prevent 2.0 crises?

Well honestly, and as a company that offers an essential service such as electricity supply, the customer usually complains when something does not work logically. In fact, approximately three-quarters of the interactions with our corporate X account are related to customer requests, which we redirect to our colleagues in the commercial area. If you add to this the aforementioned price crisis, you will understand how busy we have been in this area.

Prevention is a critical issue. Sometimes you identify that something is coming, you prepare, but other times the crisis breaks out due to something that a competitor has done, due to a global problem with raw materials or due to an unexpected decision by the regulator (and we have many regulators, at the state, regional level and also European). Or, as we said before, by orchestrated campaigns aimed at gratuitously unbalancing and discrediting a certain sector or company to obtain -supposedly- political or other benefits.

For this reason, in the company there are teams, processes and procedures to identify risks and anticipate, to the extent possible, crises that can lead to conversations on social networks.

How do you personally use social media? Which ones do you use the most and why?

The truth is that I maintain the two that I opened at the end of 2009, X and LinkedIn. I do not consider myself an expert user since I do not practice areas like Facebook/Instagram or the most recent ones like Tik Tok. X allows us to interact in the most alive ecosystem, although also more “contaminated”, and LinkedIn is the space of professionals who want to know and know each other without acrimony. I now divide my time between managing corporate accounts and my own. I use them to selectively disseminate content including an editorial point in the texts. I no longer give my opinion or position myself as I did when I was a journalist in economic media, now it's time for something else and it is very interesting to be able to experience both perspectives.

Can you tell us any curious anecdotes that have happened to you online?

There are many, perhaps if you allow me I will point out two. In 2011, when I managed directly through DM on Twitter an interview with a senior manager of an important Andalusian company. I almost didn't believe it, with how complex it used to be to go through a Communications department (which is life, I think now from where I am).

Another was the day in August 2020 when I announced that I was joining Endesa as head of External and Digital Communications and in 24 hours, I think more than 100,000 people viewed the publication on LinkedIn, an unsought personal milestone. Some friends and professional colleagues with whom I shared this figure with surprise told me: “You are an influencer!” Something I really haven't been and am not, but that makes your day.

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