Tuesday, December 31, 2013

What are the new PR Trends for 2014?

One of the biggest trend in the industry seems to be inevitable equation of PR with digital or social media.  Digital media seems to be predominant in the western PR world, where the digital media professionals are trying to dabble into PR strategies. This may be alright for the western world, though I do not completely agree with this emerging trend, especially when we look at Public Relations function holistically.
Even PR Newswire in one of their articles on PR trends for 2014, limits itself to  "engaging digital audience with engaging content" as a major element.  Somehow the focus on print, radio, electronic, and outdoor has been pushed to the back burner, and has come to be known as "traditional" with digital, mobile and social channels ruling the roost.
  • The major trend for me in the high-speed information exchange global network, imperative too, would remain the PEOPLE.  You may call them publics, stakeholders, targetted groups, and what not; it is the human element that would be the foundation of all communication.  The tools can differ to reach out to them. Yes, the technology is relegating today's reality into obsolence in a jiffy. It is time to go back to the basics of communication management, and review the fundamentals.  
  • For people living in under-developed and developing countries, the information needs to be interpreted to them and involve them for their own benefit and convenience.  Therefore understanding their needs and aspirations is the key to the success of any communication. 
  • Secondly, we are crying hoarse about "engaging" the recipients of our messages through lively content.  The "message" had always been the key element in a successful and effective communication process.  Yes, the PR practitioners need to upgrade their skills and expertise in understanding the technological strengths and weaknesses of various digital outlets and develop content according to the channel for communication being used for delivery of the message. The diversity of social media has made it imperative to develop content appropriate to the channel being used and understanding whether it is ultimately reaching the targetted audience or not. 
  • Thirdly, the outcome of a PR exercise or a communication campaign would be another emerging trend.  No longer the popular measurement tools would suffice. The corporate especially are looking at RoI on each spend on communication, and tangible impact, which is possible only if the PR fraternity moves beyond the myopic selection of media to spread their message.  A campaign needs to have holistic view of the communication issues at hand and how this is going to impact the thinking, and the lives of the people involved. 
  • Lastly, but not the least, it is time for the professional bodies to actively engage themselves in upgrading and standardising the academics, research, continued training, and accreditation.  The professional practitioners would have to come forward to demand for it in order to achieve excellence for the PR profession, and have a talent pool of practitioners.
As we move into 2014 in a few hours from now, let us contribute to the success of PR movement. 

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Five Golden Rules to Professionalise PR in India

Dr. C.V Narasimha Reddi is a PR guru who has continued to serve the profession through relentless study, innovative thought processes that he shares on various national and international fora, and inspires the PR practitioners through his deep knowledge and erudition to see the profession progress.  I had the opportunity to seek his response to some of the questions that confront the profession today.

CJ:  Dr. Reddi, how do you view the evolution of Public Relations practice in our country? 

  Public Relations in India was born out of propaganda in ancient India and it has passed through publicity in British India which has graduated as Public Relations in the independent India.

Due to several factors such as general elections, five-ar plans, nationalization of banks, emergence of public sectors, growth of industries, public relations developed as a discipline.  However it has entered into an era of global public relations with the introduction of new industrial policy 1991 that envisages economic liberalization, privatization and globalization.  Globalization not only created competitive marketing environment but also resulted in trade wars like car wars, cell phone wars, media wars, pricewars etc.  This competitive environment resulted in an upswing of public relations activities.  In fact public relations in India has grown quantitatively, it is yet to grow qualitatively to gain the management recognition.  The need of the hour is professional excellence.
CJ: Compared to Europe and US, what bottlenecks nipped its growth in the country, and why it continues to remain, largely, a subset to other professions?

Dr CVNR: The bottlenecks or challenges being faced by Indian public relations are also applicable both to US and Europe.  However public relations in the West has grown more professional than ours.  The following are the key challenges that make our public relations a subset to other professions.

  • The challenge of defining public relations or the challenge of identity crisis with several nomanclatures like corporate communication, public relations, public affairs, corporate affairs, public information, publicity etc.
  • Lack of professional public relations education in the Indian Universities and also lack of induction and inservice training for PR professionals 
  • Lack of PR text books and case studies of international standards. 
  • The weakest link in the chain of public relations practice is lack of research and evaluation of PR programs to demonstrate its results to the management. 
  • Organizational and social ignorance of the value of public relations practice towards organizational excellence
  • Lack of defined job profile are formally recognized managerial level function for public relations within the organizational structure. 
  • The overlap and / or encroachment of other managerial disciplines into PR from finance, HR, or marketing. 
  • The varied background of public relations practitioners drawn from different fields like journalism, marketing, advertising, business management, etc. 
  • Though public relations is a strategic management function, PR practitioners now function only as technicians, implementing the PR strategy designed by other management professionals; public relations is not placed at the top management level on par with HR or marketing.  PR professionals must play both strategic and technical roles.
  • The last and most important challenge that public relations mostly acts as one way communication without any importance to the feedback.

CJ: What are the five most important things that you feel must be done to further professionalise the PR practice in our country. 

Dr CVNR: The following five golden rules can professionalize Indian PR as to enable our country to sustain as world's largest democracy and to become world's 3rd biggest economy.

  • Introduction of management, business and public relations education for PR practitioners in the Indian Universities with emphasis on research 
  • Establishment of training institutes at organizational levels, state levels and national level for imparting induction and in-service training besides providing coninuing professional development training by PR professional bodies.  Conversion of Indian Institute of Mass Communication New Delhi into National Communication Unversity.
  • The need of a strong public relations national professional body PRSA [USA] and CIPR [UK] and adoption of code of professional ethics and introduction of accredidation of PR practitioners.
  • Production of PR text books and case studies of International standards
  • Every PR professional must endeavour to change himself / herself in tune with the changing communication technologies.  They must acquire communication skills in speaking and listening, reading and writing.  Most of the PR practioners, a British Librarian said have no reading habits.

CJ: What future holds for PR?
Dr CVNR: A bright future beckons Indian PR because of the following factors:

  • India is the largest democracy in the world with over 75 crores voters
  • India which was known as a country of snake charmers, starvation deaths and famines has now become a global economic player, poised to become worlds third biggest economy next only to China and US.
  • India will emerge as worlds largest English speaking nation
  • India will witness media explosion with over 1 lakh news papers, 50 crores copies of circulation, thoiusand TV channels, 500 Radio Stations, 100 crore mobile phones and 20 crore internet connections.  Media explosion will provide greater opportunities for growth of public relations communication.

In conclusion I quote from the 1st Prime Minister of our country Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru who said "Freedom from Information poverty is as important as freedom from hunger".  This sums up the role and function of public relations in India.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

'PR Voice' is out

The January-June issue of PR Voice published by Dr. C.V. Narasimha Reddi is out. The online version can be viewed and downloaded here. 

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

How to bring India and Pakistan together?

Despite the so-called differences between India and Pakistan, and ongoing political tussel, people on both sides of the border share many commonalities. And when they meet, there is total bonhomie and celebrations.  And abroad, there are numerous stories of citizens of both the countries living together in friendship and helping each other out.
Coca Cola in its recent campaign took the route of celebrating this commonality with a campaign for peace between the two countries. Watch this well-executed campaign video.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Businesses can leverage their brands through social media: PR Experts

Chandigarh Chapter of Public Relations Council of India (PRCI) organized a seminar at the PHD Chamber here today.
Yogesh Joshi, head of communication for Tata Steel and Tata Chemicals, and regional representative of World Communication Forum, said that more and more businesses are realizing the significance of social media and leveraging their brand value through its effective usage.
Social media with its extensive reach is helping organizations engage with their stakeholders through effective management of social media, added Joshi, who is also the president of the Association of Business Communicators of India (ABCI).
Alok Ramsisaria, CEO, Grazitti Interactive, and Secretary, TiE Punjab Chapter, shared the cases studies how the company is achieving awesome marketing outcome for its customers across India, Japan, Europe and US by leveraging technology.
Another homegrown entrepreneur from the city who has set up offices in Singapore and Cameroon, J.K. Menon, informed that for any organization to succeed in the highly competitive market place where every individual is reachable through mobile, or internet, the technology is the most cost-effective solution to scale up operations.
Another young and dynamic co-founder and creative head of H-Degree Global, Paul Singh, demonstrated how the branding process and effective creatives can help small and medium enterprise grow their business and achieve success in any market place.
Chapter Chair Renuka B. Salwan pointed out the growing dependence on social media which every organization, big or small, should use as a veritable tool for communication.
Charanjit Singh, northern regional head of PRCI, said that social media impacting our lives in every sphere whether it is elections, or call against corruption, or just a text message to bring thousands of people on the roads of Delhi to draw attention on issues of social importance.
Quoting the recent report of Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), he added that there are 62 million Indians on social media which are expected to reach 80 million by next elections.  Some 97 percent of them are on Facebook, the report says.
PRCI Chandigarh Chapter also handed over the Chanakya Award for 2012 which was conferred by PRCI for the year 2012, on prolific writer and former deputy station director of Chandigarh Doordarshan Kendra, Dr. K.K. Rattu.
The Chapter announced the names of some of the bloggers from Chandigarh including corporate communication manager Amit Roy, retired bureaucrat and traveler K.J.S. Chatrath, academician and writer Neel Kamal Puri and columnist Nirpuma Dutt, another travel, books and food reviewer Puneet Inder Sidhu, adventure sports organizer Supreet Dhiman, Dr. Sonica for her herbal care blog, and Vaibhav Sharma for his most sought-after gizmo reviews on his blog.  These bloggers would be recognised in the next PRCI meeting.

Thursday, May 02, 2013

You can't ignore social media!

You can't ignore social media today. It is the newest, quickest, and significantly, impactful tool for the communicators.  It's the tool that is revolutionising the way we share information, publish and republish it, and  impact the lives of the people we know...and don't know.
The businesses and brands are suddenly finding a lot of use in reaching out to the generation Y, the computer savvy kids, and the growing populace with access to internet on their desktops, laptops, and mobile.
The Chandigarh Chapter of Public Relations Council of India is bringing together some of the social media experts who advice and work with the SMEs, startups, and existing brands, to leverage their strength and communicate with a larger universe of prospective customers or stakeholders, or special interest groups.
It would be worthwhile to join in this seminar on 11th May 2013 at PHD House, Sector 31, Chandigarh, starting at 10:30am.  More details on http://prcichandigarh.blogspot.in
Till then, watch out this interesting video.

Saturday, November 03, 2012

What motivates people? Discover.

Many of us as communicators often face the challenge of motivating our internal stakeholders, the employees, the members of our team.  We have all digested Maslow's theory and what motivates an individual.
Here's another visually interesting presentation by Dan Pink, who engages you with his masterly idea.  Give them freedom. Give them a purpose. And see the magic happen.  Enjoy.

Video from KarmaTube