Concept PR Ltd, a group company of Mumbai based Rs 120 crore Concept Communications Ltd, has won the PR mandate for Haryana government. The one-year extendable contract has been awarded by a high-powered committee headed by Haryana Chief Minister, Bhupinder Singh Hooda.
Confirming this development to exchange4media, Rajeev Sharma, Director, Public Relations, Haryana government, said that Delhi-based Concept PR had pipped Grey Worldwide and PerceptH (the other two shortlisted companies) to bag the contract. According to Sharma, Haryana government had invited Expression of Interest from PR agencies in September 2005 and in all 11 companies had applied, out of which eight could fulfill the criteria. Of these eight, five agencies gave their presentations, and only three – Concept PR, PerceptH and Grey Worldwide were shortlisted.
Sharma further said that Concept PR had been hired at a monthly fee of Rs 4.5 lakh and that the contract would be reviewed every three months, based on the performance of the agency. “The entire exercise is aimed at building and hardselling Brand Haryana to the Indian and international community in the current globalised environment with the coordinated effort of our PR department and Concept PR,” he added.
Commenting on the account win, V K Cherian, President (PR), Concept Communications, said that the handling of the PR activity of the entire state of Haryana was a challenging task, particularly as it involved not just image building, but damage control exercise as well. Sharma said that Concept PR’s brief was to counter negative publicity as well.
According to Cherian, the image building exercise would include hardselling Brand Haryana, particularly to foreign diplomatic missions from the FDI point of view, conducting surveys about the popularity of the Haryana Chief Minister and his government in the view of various reforms undertaken by him, besides revamping the official website of the Haryana government.
But perhaps more than image building, Concept PR’s most crucial task would be damage control. It may be mentioned that Haryana government’s image had suffered a setback because of industrial losses on account of labour unrest (the Honda episode) and severe power shortage in the state. More recently, the Hooda government is facing flak from the Opposition as well as a faction of its own party over the alleged irregularities in awarding the 25,000-acre SEZ to the Reliance Group. Even the farmers whose land is to be acquired for this purpose are opposing it. Consequently, the signing of the pact between Reliance Industries and the Haryana government, scheduled for June 12, has been deferred.
Meanwhile, according to Sharma, the agreement between Concept PR and the Haryana government would be signed in about a week’s time. In another related development, the state government has invited tenders from the ad agencies for empanelment with a view to supplement the PR exercise with a concerted communication campaign to hardsell Brand Haryana.