exchange4media.com and Eikona, the Neutral, Earned Media Planning, Audit & Advisory Service, jointly bring to you an info graphic fortnightly series called EIKONA connect. This series will focus on quick interesting nuggets of PR / Earned Media Trends and dynamics faced by the Professionals of Corporate Communications & PR Firms. The objective is to create and inculcate informed opinion about PR and aid towards Scientific Decision Making Process.
CXO/ Spokesperson’s belief in PR has gone up drastically. Gone are the days when a PR professional had to put extra effort to convince a Spokesperson for media relations and other forms of public relations exercises. They are now more eager to learn the dynamics of Public Relations, acknowledge it as a Brand building tool and are even happily attending Training Workshops. It seems that our PR Industry’s “PR for PR” campaign has started paying off!
Infact, the day may not be far away when devoting time for Brand building through PR will be part of every (official) Spokesperson’s KRAs and KPIs.
While this column below highlights data to corroborate this positive development, however, our Industry should tread cautiously. Below are some quick observations on the extent to which Corporates/Industry Verticals depend on Spokespersons for PR. Is so much dependency on Spokesperson healthy? What can be done to ensure that Brand visibility continues even Spokespersons are unavailable?
First, a preview of some Top Spokesperson dependant sectors:
• Good sign of success for our Industry. As an Industry average across the Top 15 categories, Spokesperson dependant PR is seeing an increase. Spokespersons are now warming up to the tool of Public Relations. What contributed to around 16% two years back is today already hovering within the range of 35-40%.
• If you look at the some of the sectors that deal with Intangibles (services largely), Insurance, Banks, NBFCs & IT lead in the use or dependency of spokespersons. It ranges anywhere between 35-50% of the overall PR coverage in the media. This could be an indication of the fact that because of lack of tangibility, these sectors need a face, a recall value or more convincing for their respective TGs.
• Within the Tangible Category, (like FMCG, TV Broadcast, Consumer Durables, Telecom, Fashion & Lifestyle etc.), TV Broadcast, with just 4% seems to be the one of the lowest users or dependents of Spokespersons. FMCG, Telecom, Consumer Durables, Automobiles, etc. hover within the range of 8-15%.
How much is healthy?
• As long as Spokespersons are participating in the Brand’s story telling process proactively and willingly, that is good news for our Industry in every sense. If one wants, there can always be a cut off/benchmark set internally for the Company. However, that is not the key discussion area for now.
• The point is that over dependency on Spokespersons need not be a healthy sign. There is enough data to prove that Spokespersons’ unavailability (due to various reasons) has been the key reason for a steep fall in Company/Brand’s monthly PR scores.
• Dependency on Spokespersons may also signal the gradual death of Creativity required for Storytelling. This may even dilute the importance of PR Machinery.
• Further, there is always a caveat of whether PR effort is benefitting the Brand or the Spokesperson.
How can we ensure that PR visibility continues even during the non-availability of Spokespersons?
• First, a must have clarity is required on the core question – “Why are you doing PR”?
• Keep Corp Comm & PR Machinery well oiled and include them in regular internal business discussions or updates. By the way, seldom do Corporates/CXOs do this.
• Establish and mandate PR as key Brand Building tool for all CXOs and Function Heads. Their participation and involvement in creating Brand stories should be awarded and scored in KRA ad KPI evaluation.