Tag Archives: public relations

Importance of Public Affairs Personnel in development Scenario

Though studies talk about declining job opportunities and shrinking white collar class, Public Affairs jobs are obviously on a rising platform. The present development scenario depicts technological advancements and startups being nurtured with utmost care.  Beyond brains of innovations, there is also a huge demand for those who have a good knowledge over the concerned laws and government regulatory.

With a lot of development projects in the pipeline, major hupamp-mockuprdles are always faced during the implementation stage. These hurdles basically sprout from the regulatory framework. An expertise to trespass these hurdles is as important as the innovation.

Communication plays a major role in the functioning of regulatory authorities. With every communication in papers and every stage involving legal formalities, an expert to deal with the situation is unavoidable. There’s always a demand for tactical approach to be followed to avoid controversies and issues while handling regulatory bodies. In a country where laws remain the barricade and lawmakers the by passers, a specialist with knowledge on the government scenario and concerned rules and regulations is a necessity.

Companies adopt technologies as well as experts to work with innovations, but most important person for any institution is an expert to navigate through public affairs matters and the legal side. Without public affairs team an initial hurdle can turn into a huge crisis and end up tarnishing the company itself. An expert advice would not only clear the permits but also guarantees a trust label for the company.

Public affair consultants are on demand by startups as they face more difficulties into enter the industry. So as the startup friendly environment prevails in the country, PA jobs would be on hike. Thereby an expert in the field could expect new ventures in the upcoming years.

Kudos to Kerala Tourism!

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Kerala Tourism’s green initiative through a simplistic and creative ad campaign bagged the prestigious Olive Crown Award for communicating sustainability. Th awards are sponsored by the India chapter of the International Advertising Association. The innovative ad won the only Gold Award in the Press Services category, presented by Piyush Pandey of O& M to Ajith Gopinath, the Associate Creative Director at Stark Communications, which is Kerala Tourism’s creative agency.

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This is one more feather in the hat for Kerala Tourism’s print campaign. Their ad also won the Gold Award at the Madras Ad Club Awards as well as the Das Golden Stadtor Award at the Berlin ITB Golden City Gate Awards. The print campaign encouraged travelers to save precious rain forests through their simple and conscious actions and has been cited by industry stalwarts as one of the most thought provoking advertisements and green marketing initiatives in recent times.

Fame, Popularity and the Definition of Intent

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“Life is a reflection of intent”- Jonathan Lockwood Huie

The Economic Times ‘Brand Equity’ featured a piece on what Tarun Chauhan of JWT Mumbai had to say about fame, popularity and the importance of intent in the world of marketing. With the proclamation of a brand’s intent comes its purpose, USP and pitch- all in one. What the brand seeks to be to its audience can be read easily through the advertising campaigns that they propagate. Being famous isn’t the same as being popular. While popularity hauls in high brand recall and low equity, fame lasts longer and garners equity and respect.

Plenty of ads are made with the weak intent of ‘going viral’ or trending and do not make an impact on the big picture. They remain merely “good looking ads” and fail when it comes to brand building. According to Chauhan, “commitment solutions” should be preferred over “creative solutions”; long term solutions that can deliver on the promise of retaining customer patronage over the years.

Cause Marketing- a mine of opportunities

Social Marketing

Cause marketing refers to ventures that corporates undertake, involving the cooperative efforts of a ‘for profit’ company and a non profit organization. With internet users increasing day by day, the scope for online cause marketing is also on the rise. In India the only notable cause marketing in recent times has been the ‘Jaago Re’ campaign by Tata Tea. The time invested and the noble venture undertaken made sure that the impact on people was huge.

The effect of sponsorship branding and marketing may be hard to measure but cause marketing campaigns are a win- win situation as the investment to promote a noble cause never goes to waste. An audience will always root for products and services offered by a company they know is supporting any humane cause. Marketers can always invest on this general appeal; with the obvious gain of image building comes the secondary benefit of increased revenue from sales and increasing patronage. Marketing and communications strategists can always round off their high end tactics with a simple sign of care for the community. While contributing to the implementation of corporate social responsibility activities it also helps them follow the wise motto of “Doing Well by Doing Good”.

The ROI drama

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Read an article recently on how ROI was the most important aspect of business. And chanced upon a sentence that went:

“What clients really want is to be shown the money”

Interesting and appalling at the same time. If all that clients were interested in was the reaping of profits why would PR people lose sleep over complicated strategies and market research and press kits? it reminded me of an episode in the fourth installment of the Harry Potter franchise: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. During the Quidditch World Cup (an awesome game as HP fans would know) the participating teams are egged on by their respective mascots. Tiny green leprechauns begin showering gold coins onto the thousands who have gathered to watch the game. Their motive being the garnering of support for their team. People scramble over themselves to hoard the falling gold. If the statement above is to be believed, this is an excellent PR tactic. Who wouldn’t want to support a team that gave them gold?! If customers get incentives to like the client, they’ll stick on. Or at least that is what some believe. The catch in the mascots’ PR trick being that it was all leprechaun’s gold and would disappear after some time. It is the same drawback that affects clients who try to bribe and woo customers. Money just doesn’t last, reputation does.

The way that customers are influenced by the client’s behavior, the goodwill they can rake in and their genuineness of their corporate social responsibility endeavors all matter in the long run. Media expertise and concise content can work wonders if the client is sure of what to tell the audience. Clients have to arrive at a clear understanding of what their prerequisite is: money or goodwill. Unless they prioritize their needs and come to terms with the fact that monetary profit is indirect and secondary, PR isn’t going to do them the world of good it otherwise does!

The Why and How of Listening

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Every textbook of communication would testify that incoming information is equally important as outgoing communication. Listening is a quality that is becoming rarer as time progresses.Managers are immersed in checking exchange rates when their employees talk to them. Employees are busy scribbling notes during meetings, when listening carefully might do the trick more easily and effectively. A tactician cannot plan his client’s agenda unless he listens to what they have to say and arrive at a comprehensive understanding about the root of their problem.

Listening is a world apart from simply hearing. It is a choice. When you choose to listen you are letting your mind relax and take in information that comes from an external source. In corporate communication, and more importantly public relations, this is translated to mean a level of trust. While listening to someone you give them your complete attention and time; more important than a dozen documents, emails and harried meetings. When the speaker understands you are being attentive, he/ she will have no qualms about confiding in you. It doesn’t matter if you agree or disagree, the fact that you choose to listen will convince the speaker that you are ready to arrive at a mutually beneficial understanding. Listening dampens conflict. This in turn increases the productivity of the work force. Employees and clients who are assured that the management will listen to them will automatically be ready to perform better. When companies develop business relationships with their customers they have to make sure their ‘listening mechanisms’ and feedback channels are fine tuned to the customers’ needs.

Take heed of facial expressions, gestures as well as non- verbal cues. Pay attention when people choose to divulge their strengths and weaknesses so that you can chart a game plan where players can collaborate to cover each others’ deficiencies. Listening is a continuous process. Apart from being an effective feedback device, listening also helps generate a general awareness about clients and their environment which in turn fosters empathy.

The Age of Utter Transparency

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If everything were transparent, PR would be a dead art. Though public relations deifies transparency and truth, it is a hard- hitting fact that PR professionals would have to switch careers if all their clients became oh-so-honest. Transparency is more of a principle than a tactic in PR. And most clients tend to forget this basic rule of thumb, quite frequently.

Let us take into consideration the grey area called reputation management; a branch of PR that has broken off and flourished of its own accord. We have come to accept cover ups and crises management strategies as part of ‘effective image building’. even when complete disclosure is inevitable and threatens to bring any reputation toppling down, there is a tendency to downplay the same and portray the company as a victim of circumstances instead.

Even in- house communication tends to be a exaggerated and flattering at times. While employees know the show behind the curtains, employers simply turn a blind eye towards the obvious and try to make it as unimportant as possible. Picketing and employee strikes are often the results of failed talks between both parties. Open forums are seen as an opportunity for grievance redressal by employees and as a crisis by the management, instead of a feedback platform that can help bring about mutual understanding if both parties are willing to cooperate.

With Wiki Leaks and every bit of possible information easily available on the Internet honesty has become a mandatory characteristic of corporate communication. Even though the possibility of ‘lies’ cannot be ruled out PR personnel struggle to keep afloat the notion that their client and company is 100% believable, trustworthy, accredited and a lot more; the simple reason being that the audiences can easily find any skeletons if they wish to.

Where’s the Beef?

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The 1984 ad that took the ad world by storm featured nothing more than three wizened ladies who were impressed with the “very big fluffy bun” but bemused by the minuscule beef patty. An effective ad that gave pop culture one of its best catchphrases to date: “Where’s The Beef?”. Also a sharp prodding reminder to PR tacticians when they tend to get lost in a quagmire of ‘innovative’ and ‘path breaking’ strategies.

While keeping clients’ sensitivities and trying to work out a pitch that appears sensible to both customer and audience, PR folks often forget the simple purposes of their professions: to foster goodwill and to help all involved parties to arrive at a mutual understanding. Though these purposes are written by off by many as traditional and conventional definitions of public relations,  they forget this is precisely what the audience is seeking- a clear, concise message sans drama.

Most often the target audience is a layman, who may/ may not share the corporate’s viewpoint, but most importantly, someone who is intelligent enough to understand when he/ she is being taken for a ride. . It isn’t 1984 anymore. You might not even get a Peller screaming “where’s the beef”. The public will just trundle their cases to the next choice. So the next time you think up a mind blowing tactic, think twice and make sure you give ’em the real deal.

Daniel J. Edelman (1920-2013): Farewell to a veteran

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The shoes some men leave behind are very hard to fill. The lessons they teach through an entire lifetime become legends as time goes by. One man’s brainchild brought the world’s attention to Colonel Sanders, Orville Redenbacher, Starbucks, Kraft and more. The same man built an eponymous empire that is now spread across the world through more than 65 global offices.

His pioneering efforts have made vast contributions to both theory and practice in the public relations sector. He helped change the role of professionals in the field from simply being mediators to respected advisors. He is also credited with introducing new methodologies in his time that are now standard protocol for any PR person.

At ResPublica we salute the spirit of Daniel J. Edelman, founder of one of the world’s largest public relations firms and pay our condolences to the family. As he continues to inspire us through a lifetime of modesty, grit and healthy competition, we strive to live up to the ideals and principles he lived by.

Our deepest respect. Rest in Peace.