The seventh edition of Indian Public Relations & Corporate Communications Awards (IPRCCA 2016) was held with much fanfare in New Delhi on December 15. Speaking on the occasion, Senjam Raj Sekhar, Head of Corporate Communications, Flipkart & Jury Chair of IPRCCA 2016, commended exchange4media for consistently putting the show together.
“There are three PR awards in the country today. Before 2008, there were no PR awards,” Sekhar said as he complimented exchange4media’s pioneering initiative in this direction. As a result of the awards, Sekhar felt that agencies started showing much more rigour in their campaigns since awards were not achievable without them.
A substantial portion of Sekhar’s address was devoted towards the idea of going global. He stated that time was ripe for Indian PR companies to take the giant leap by acquiring properties abroad. “I do sincerely hope that agencies go out from India and do that,” he said. Citing the example of Blue Focus Communication Group, he mentioned how the social branding firm slowly spread its tentacles beyond China by foraying into countries like Singapore and Canada.
Another interesting point that Sekhar raised in his address was in relation to the metro-centric nature of PR agencies. “As a community, we are very Delhi and Mumbai-centric,” he argued. Terming it as a “tyranny of comfort”, he urged fellow PR professionals to understand the uniqueness associated with every town. “How much time and effort we have spent to develop talent and agencies outside metros,” he asked. Sekhar opined that the jury’s choice of the Young PR Professional (Mukesh Kharbanda of Fuzion PR) reflected a successful professional outside of the world of metros.
Credibility comes first
Though India Today’s Consulting Editor Rajdeep Sardesai could not personally make it to the event due to other commitments, he addressed the gathering via a video message. Coming from a television background, he sounded the need for redefining TRPs as Trust & Respect Points.
“Win the trust of your client,” he told PR agencies as he talked about the necessity of credibility. Sardesai argued that brand building wasn’t an “overnight” job but rather a continuous process. “It is an incremental process that has to be done step by step,” he added. Advising PR firms to stick to their core ethics, he assured that such companies will outlast competitors who take shortcuts.
PR has evolved
Defining PR as “effective communication”, Sardesai said that the industry had come a long way. According to him, there was a time when PR professionals were looked down upon as those who sought to disrupt the nature of a journalist’s work. However, he conceded that PR had shaped journalism in some way. “You need to know both the sides of the story for which you often need the help of the PR,” he said. He encouraged the journalism and PR industry to have a “healthy” and “harmonious” relationship instead of an “adversarial” one.
Speaking earlier, Nawal Ahuja, Co-founder & Director at exchange4media, welcomed the guests on a “chilly Delhi evening”. He proudly noted that IPRCCA had received over 300 entries for 47 awards. Highlighting the fairness of the awards selection, he said that exchange4media are only “custodians of the process”. “We don’t have a vote on the jury forget about a veto,” he said.
IPRCCA 2016 was sponsored by Adfactors PR, Media Mantra, Value 360, Genesis Burson-Marsteller, MSL Group, PR Pundit, Speranza, Actimedia PR, Media Value Works and Vikypedia.