As we gear up for the India Communication Summit 2022, a special series has been introduced. ‘My Experiments with PR‘ captures the opinions and experience of senior marketing leaders from diverse industries. It aims to bring out to our readers insights on how marketers see the PR industry and leverage communications to overcome challenges.
What are the major PR challenges that your industry is facing at the moment?
Covid-19 has disrupted the businesses and their operating model. The last two years were no different for the communication industry, and these trying times changed the PR we approached towards creative solutions and business problems.
These years also presented the opportunity to utilise the extra time to look for innovation in traditional ways of doing PR, learning new things and feeding our imagination with creativity. This black swan event unfolded the new world for PR which needed an exhaustive, empathetic and evolved role of communication in amplifying and channelising the positive sentiments, and all of these in a very short period of time.
PR and communications professionals had to speed up their digital learning curve and incremental thinking to manage the unique crisis situations arising due to COVID outbreak. The industry witnessed an overnight shift, business processes became more digitally driven and so was the need for immediate but effective communication.
The other major PR challenge for our industry has been the challenge of burnout resulting from uncertainties that include constant change in back-to-work plans, hybrid options, virus variants. We need to perfect the hybrid model, acknowledging that we still need human connection especially the PR world – from meeting people face-to-face, developing relationships, to shared experiences, to spontaneous encounters that foster creativity, inspiration and support.
On the flip side, pandemic clearly presented us PR with an opportunity to think creatively, innovate the traditional ways and experiment with changing scenarios and look for a solution oriented approach.
How do you as a CMO plan to leverage PR as a weapon to fight those challenges?
As technology advances rapidly, customer attitudes change, and there are unpredictable trends abound, marketing too is evolving at breakneck speed. This means that my role as a CMO has evolved to cater to the ever-changing requirements of organisations. We need to go beyond overseeing and supervising brand-building and marketing activities and focus on business growth and delivering a top-notch customer experience. And that’s where the role of PR comes into play.
The modern marketing landscape is becoming increasingly complex and to stay relevant, we must cater to both the customer and the marketing requirements of the business consistently with the help of PR.
In-person and real-time stakeholder engagements are the two cornerstones of exceptional customer experiences now, enabled by technology. PR can be leveraged as a weapon via creative storytelling, driving strategic narrative, risk and crisis advisory, and incremental thinking.
PR has done a stellar job during pandemic in maintaining empathetic relationships, sustaining business growth and will continue to be one of the most important tools in instilling trust and confidence across the stakeholders.
Is PR only there for crisis management or can it be leveraged to achieve long term goals?
Yes. Certainly PR can be leveraged to achieve long term goals. To help clients to achieve a higher brand reputation, the PR agencies work alongside them. Public Relations is such an area that can transform the profitability and future of a business.
It is the most essential tool in marketing and if used properly can overcome almost any obstacle in business. Public relations in business helps in delivering the right message to the right people at the right place, which creates a greater brand reputation.
No one expects to experience a crisis. But in business, crisis events can and do occur. In crisis management, public relations insulates a company from the negative repercussions of these events, allowing you to move past the event as quickly as possible.
PR adds value and connects to the consumers in a manner that re-generates interest in the brand, which the consumers can relate to. In order to achieve long term goals, public relations helps a brand build up its image. There is a view that proper branding mixed with good PR can result in both higher sales and customer loyalty for a product or service.
How has been your experience with PRs in your professional journey?
Public relations in my professional journey has always been enormously helpful. PR has always looked after communicating credibly with key stakeholders who affect business results, such as media analysts, policymakers and policy influencers, and customers.
The value of PR in building a brand cannot be ignored in any organisation. Better communication and relationship building is key to create an effective brand image within the market and to face a competitive edge over others.