The inaugural PR & Corporate Communications Summit featured some very insightful keynote addresses. One such keynote address was delivered by Ashwini Singla, CEO, Genesis Burson-Martseller, said that in its present state, the PR profession was grossly “undervalued as well as underrated”. The Summit, an initiative of the exchange4media Group in association with Adfactors Public Relations, was held in Delhi on May 21, 2010.
Speaking at the Summit, Singla noted, “The masses are still unaware of the professional functions of the PR industry to a large extent. The present scenario strongly asserts the need for putting the ‘public’ back into Public Relations.”
The world has been strongly speaking of ‘India Rising’ for the past few years now. Singla, however, observed that there were significant challenges to the idea. “Firstly, the world over, people are now more focused on India. They are interested in knowing about India like never before. This, in turn, puts increased responsibility on Indian media. India is now in a situation where a sneeze is going to be a storm,” he added.
Secondly, India now has additional responsibilities in keeping up with the fiercely competitive world.
Elaborating on the virtue of credibility in PR, Singla said that there had been a certain degree of ‘Trust Deficit’ in the recent past. He however, believed that the reasons hadn’t been entirely industry driven. According to him, “One of the key reasons for the trust deficit is the opaqueness of the Government disclosures with regards to their policies. The gap which has been created cannot be bridged only by telling half truths convincingly. At the end of the day, the ultimate takeaway is the product.”
Pointing out the need to involve the masses, Singla commented that in recent times, the Government had transformed into a referee from being a player. Emphasis on the rise of the Indian middle class was stronger than ever before, he added.
Charting out the present trends in the industry, Singla pointed out that “Conversation without borders is the source of information in today’s world. There is now a new orientation to money after last year’s slowdown and it is testimony to changing sentiments of the people. To survive in the industry, one has no alternative but to be performance driven.” According to him, the changing sentiments had stressed on reputation being a differentiator more than ever before.
The session concluded with the observation that a change in culture, people and processes was essential to chart out the growth of this industry in the coming days.