The first ever PR & Corporate Communications Summit covered a wide gamut of topics ranging from ‘Growth Driver for PR industry- Measuring PR Effectiveness’ to ‘Media Agencies – Shortcut for PR?’. An initiative of the exchange4media Group in association with Adfactors Public Relations, the Summit was held in Delhi on May 21.
The session on ‘Growth Driver for PR industry - Measuring PR Effectiveness’ was moderated by Ujjwal K Chowdhury, Executive Director, ISB&M School of Communication. The panelists included Siddhartha Mukherjee, Senior Vice President - Communications, TAM Media Research and Business head – Eikona PR measurement; Vivek Sengupta, CEO, Moving Finger Communications; Madan Bahal, Managing Partner, Adfactors Public Relations; and Sanjeev Kataria, Managing Partner, Strategic Communications, PR Counsel.
The session commenced with Chowdhury observing, “Public Relations in present day communication is one of the most important tools. For building a brand, it is very important to have a well planned and organised Public Relations cell in a firm. The issue here is that present day firms have their PR departments and PR agencies, but they are not well-defined. Thus, the question arises, how can we measure PR effectiveness.”
Siddhartha Mukerjee raised important questions like ‘Is PR getting caught in the wrong area’, ‘What really is the industry size’, Is there any common minimum programme’, and ‘Is PR stuck with overload of media relations?’
Answering to his own questions, he said, “The answer to all this is one – Measurement. Collective intent is the key. The rule of the PR industry should be –of the industry, by the industry and for the industry.”
According to Vivek Sengupta, “Today, PR demands measurement, which should happen not just quantitatively, but qualitatively as well. One should look at the ‘outcome’ and not just ‘output’. One needs to go beyond media tactics to measure PR effectiveness (external PR). Also, use of technology like social media should be well utilised in the process.”
Taking the discussion further, Sanjeev Kataria said, “PR should not be quarterly, monthly or half yearly. It needs to be given priority as a long term tool. Measurement of PR effectiveness would be a confidence building measure for PR officials.”
Madan Bahal has a counter view and concluded the session by saying, “This obsession with the measurement of PR effectiveness needs to be taken lightly. PR comes in action in two situations majorly: when a firm is doing pretty well and at the time of conflicts or recession. Just as one remembers God in very good times or very bad times. Thus, ‘Growth drive of PR = Growth Drive of spirituality’.”
The next session took up the topic ‘Media Agencies – Shortcut for PR?’, which was moderated by Satyajit Sen, CEO, ZenithOptimedia. The panelists included Amit Tiwari, Country Head - Media, Philips; Veena Gidwani, CEO, Madison Public Relations; and Achal K Paul, Director, Buzz Communications Pvt Ltd.
Veena Gidwani spoke about how CCD and Britannia had benefited from good PR and said, “Media agency is not a shortcut to PR. The role of PR agency is growing, with clients wanting their agencies to influence and impact their businesses, and genuine PR continues to be unbeatable on impact.”
Adding to that, Amit Tiwari said, “Today is the age of the consumer and a parallel age to evaluate your media. It is an objective-based age, where PR has evolved in a huge way.”
According to Achal K Paul, “There is a definitive way, which implies that PR has a large role to play and it is interesting to see how the industry is growing.”
Satyajit Sen concluded the session by observing, “PR is growing in a big way and as the industry grows in size, there will be differences.”