The role of digital media, especially social media, came up for special discussion at the inaugural PR & Corporate Communications Summit. Panelists also spoke about the close synergy between marketing and corporate communication and the need to explore that further.
The Summit, an initiative of the exchange4media Group in association with Adfactors Public Relations, was held in Delhi on May 21.
The session on ‘Suave Marketing = Smart PR’ was moderated by Shruti Verma Singh, an independent consultant, and witnessed the participation of panelists like Archana Jain, Managing Director, PR Pundit; Anshu Khanna, Director, Goodword Communication; Soni Srivastav, Vice President - Corporate Communication, VLCC Health Care; and Mahesh Natarajan, Vice President – Marketing, IHHR Hospitality Pvt Ltd. Samar Singh, Senior VP - Marketing, UB Group, joined the panel via phone.
Mahesh Natarajan commenced the session by observing, “The way companies look at PR is important. A mix of marketing and PR helps to build a brand.”
Archana Jain added here, “We’ve got to be smart about PR, as the media is evolving and we need to keep pace with it. You create a campaign based on the audience you want to reach and if you are able to do it, that is important.”
Soni Srivastav observed, “I do see that marketing has a lot of dependence on PR. While marketing is backed by huge budget, PR comes for free. There is synergy between marketing and corporate communications.”
Verma took the discussion further and posed to question Samar Singh as to what was more important – quality or volume. Singh, who joined the panel discussion via phone, replied, “For a category that is not allowed to advertise, PR is very important and things like IPL and Kingfisher calendar work sublimely.”
Adding to this, Natarajan said, “You can’t ignore either volume or quality, but it is important how you define volume.”
Anshu Khanna stressed, “Knowing what to say to your audience is really important and can’t be ignored.”
Continuing with the panel discussions, the next session featured ‘The Power Panel’ and saw the participation of Irfan R Khan, veteran PR professional, journalist and industry expert, and Senjam Raj Sekhar, Head - Group Corporate Communications, Bharti Enterprises.
Commencing the session, Senjam Raj Sekhar noted, “Most of the corporate communication professionals directly report to the CEOs and are part of the decision making process. We have to do some soul searching here. If you look at PR versus advertising, PR as a profession should learn from advertising or even the social media space. If you look at social media, it is a perfect place for PR as it has a large unregulated space, and today, social media agencies are mushrooming like anything.”
Irfan R Khan spoke about how PR as a profession had come a long way and how the Internet had brought about a big change. “Today, due to communication the world is smaller,” he added.
The day’s proceedings concluded with a Valedictory Address by Dilip Cherian, Co- Founder & Consulting Partner, Perfect Relations. He advised, “Read, listen and learn as the opportunities are huge. Today, we are beginning to deal with communication at an individual level and it no longer matters, which media you are using, the borders are vanishing.”