Rediffusion DYR Public Relations has recently formed a strategic planning division to create and implement specialised tools to achieve desired PR objectives for its clients.
“When clients look for a strategic partner in their advertising agency, why shouldn’t they do the same when it comes to their PR agency?” asked Lokesh Tiwary, who has recently taken over as Group President, Public Relations, at Rediffusion DY&R.
The thought is valid, and many communication professionals are increasingly agreeing that public relations is often a far more effective communication tool while building and altering corporate and brand perceptions than advertising.
“Increasing parity in brand messages and advertising has unfortunately accompanied increasing parity in products. Today, you can barely tell one advertisement from the other. Given this context, there is a steady realisation amongst clients across the board that powerful brands can be built via public relations, and thus the need to invest in a strategically developed PR programme. They want their PR campaigns to work harder and expect their PR consultancies to be proactive in providing strategic counsel,” said Tiwary.
In order to reorient itself toward this new mission, the agency has seen several changes over the last few months.
Shantanu Kumar has recently been appointed as General Manager, Strategic Planning. He is an account planner from Bates Enterprise and carries with him over seven years’ experience, having worked on clients such as GM, LML, GSK, Daewoo, Sony and Tata Tea.
Rediffusion has also begun the process of further developing their proprietary tools, which are used to professionally plan, implement and evaluate PR campaigns.
“Till now clients have always gauged the effectiveness of a PR campaign by the quantity of coverage received. While salience is important, ‘the message is perhaps even more important’. We have introduced tools to uncover insights and study consumer trends, a process which has greatly helped us in getting to the root of the communication challenge and thereby devising effective strategic programmes for our clients. Much like in advertising, there is a growing need to think brand, think positioning and think
communication strategy in PR, and as a team we have made tremendous progress
in a very short time” said Kumar.
The results have already started showing. The agency has picked up over 10 businesses over the last two months – AOL, Galli Galli Sim Sim (the Indian version of Sesame Street to be aired on POGO and Cartoon Network later this year), Kohler, Amore, Plexus Technologies, TDI, Interactive Entertainment, and Nippon to name a few.
“Our business gains over the past two months have already contributed to a growth of over 25 per cent, and we’re only halfway into the year. We should be looking at closing the year with a top line growth of 50 per cent over 2005,” remarked Tiwary.
He added, “But what is more heartening is the response that we have received from our existing clients. The added value that we are providing is fast helping us in becoming our clients’ business partners in the true sense. The agency commands tremendous goodwill in the industry, having partnered with several prestigious clients over the years, and the primary task ahead is to build on this and create an enviable brand in the communications industry.”
In order to match up to this growth, the agency is on an aggressive hiring spree. Senior / mid level appointments are being made in Mumbai, Kolkata, Delhi, Chennai and Bangalore.
“We are consciously looking at people who share our perspective, because our challenge is to create an atmosphere which breeds unmatched thinking while retaining a keen focus on unparalleled deliveries,” said Tiwary.