Public Relations – a minor supplement to big-bang advertising, or a strong brand builder? The argument reached a new height at the Ninth Public Relations Workshop at The Trident, Gurgaon, yesterday, where the industry received it due deference as an integral part of corporate brand building.
The ITES hub of Gurgaon received a host of corporate and media top brass delivering their views on different aspects of public relations and corporate communications.
The first session of the workshop was all about the challenges that corporates face in the form of cultural and legal barriers, local competition and trade restrictions when going global with a brand. Amir Ullah Khan, Research Fellow, India Development Foundation, discussed how global public relations could eliminate the different barriers through effective communication.
The fine art of ‘column drop’ came on the focus as in the second session with Suhel Seth, CEO, Equus Advertising and Kanika Dutta, Associate Editor, Business Standard, discussing how a properly-placed column could be more effective in creating a desired buzz.
As the veteran adman observed, it was the time for public relations to take a strategic hue. One should get under the skin of the columnist, not the column; and, get under the skin of the reader, not the publication.
Referring to the reader’s reaction on column drop, Dutta argued: “If you’re looking for reactions from the reader, put yourself in the reader’s shoes; is your news useful and credible?” She advised, “If you fail to get into the column, consider a full-page ad to get your message across.”
But, what does really matter – is it the content, or the context? The workshop hosted an interesting argument in the third round of discussion, titled ‘PR Fuel’. Bidisha Nagaraj, Asia Pacific Retail Marketing Manager, Intel – the solo speaker at the session, emphasised on the accurate and most effective delivery of the message. “Content is the actual words and symbols of the message while context is the way the message is being delivered. You have to think out-of-the-box,” she said.
Analysis on the increasing role of public relations in today’s India Inc, from the viewpoint of corporate majors concluded with a discussion on the Corporate Social Responsibilities (CSR) – the issue that has experienced exponential growth over the last decade. To assess ‘An Idea Whose Time Has Come’, Pushpa Sundar, Executive Director, Indian Centre for Philanthropy and Neel Chatterjee, Regional Head, Corporate Affairs, Standard Chartered Bank, delivered their views on how more and more companies were being engaged in serious efforts to define and integrate CSR into all aspects of their business.
The duo emphasised on the need for today’s corporate world to be “accountable not only for their own performance but for the performance of the entire supply chain, and for an ever-changing set of corporate and social accountability issues.”
The Ninth Public Relations Workshop – a joint effort of PR Pundit, aviation major Jet Airways and the host, The Trident, ended in a successful conclusion of the crucial role of effective public relations in building, maintaining and caring the corporate brand image.