Verizon CMO Diego Scotti on Navigating Through Crisis

Talking transparency, inclusion and Citizen Verizon on Adweek Presents: The Way Forward

Headshot of Emmy Liederman

In today’s climate of uncertainty and social unrest, marketers must make every move with authenticity.
That’s the approach stressed by Verizon CMO Diego Scotti during his chat with Lisa Granatstein, editor and svp of programming for Adweek Presents: The Way Forward.
Scotti touched on Verizon’s core values, which he said have been reinforced during the pandemic, emphasized the importance of internal change and discussed the company’s climate change initiative, Citizen Verizon.
Here are some key takeaways:

Internalize company values when supporting employees

Transparency is crucial in maintaining both internal and external trust, Scotti noted. In mid-March, Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg began hosting daily 12 p.m. broadcasts, which can be accessed by all Verizon employees and are also available on social media.
According to Scotti, this level of communication and the company’s commitment to the wellbeing of employees is the ultimate test of its values.
“Transparency is so critical right now, and we believe there is no better advertising than what you do for your own employees,” he said. “It’s a sign that the company doesn’t have anything to hide.”
Scotti stressed that because Verizon employees are working remotely, it is more important than ever to connect with team members as much as possible.
“You have to keep that personal connection with everybody on the team,” stressing that individual conversations are just as important as companywide meetings.

Reinforce successful practices

While many companies have been forced to rethink old practices during Covid-19, according to Scotti, crisis isn’t always a sign to start from scratch.
“Sometimes, companies start questioning everything during a moment of crisis, but you need to lean into your strategy now more than ever,” he said. 
Verizon introduced a new Diversity and Inclusion council back in September and supports nine employee resource groups, including the Black Resource Association of Verizon Employees and Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Employees of Verizon and Their Allies.
According to Scotti, today’s climate has acted as a catalyst for the change the company had already begun to facilitate.
I’m more convinced than ever that these are the kinds of things as business leaders we need to start doing,” he said. “The worst thing to happen is for issues to become topical or not as important as time goes on. This is the moment to take action.” 

Support social justice and invest in philanthropy

This month, the company launched Citizen Verizon, a wide-ranging initiative aimed to make the telecom carbon neutral by 2035. According to Scotti, this campaign has three parts: digital inclusion, climate protecting and human prosperity.
Beyond the environmental goals, Verizon also hopes to facilitate a more inclusive future by providing vulnerable communities with technology and maximizing job creation in an increasingly digital market.
“If you are a responsible in this day and age, you have to act less like a corporation and more like a citizen,” he said. 


Emmy is a senior journalism major at The College of New Jersey with minors in Spanish and broadcast journalism. She has previously worked as editor-in-chief of her college newspaper, The Signal, as well as an intern at Tribune Publishing Company. Emmy is looking forward to contributing to Adweek as an intern working with its breaking news and audience engagement teams.