'
Subscribe Last 30 Days' News e4m on your Mobile - www.exchange4media.mobi
May 30, 2017 rss feed
 View Point Email this page
How often do we pause and ponder about industry issues that have a bearing beyond just our rigmaroles? Share insights that can further the common understanding? Or, at the very least, point at things that need to be set right. View Point - an exchange4media platform, will fill this void and become a source of understanding, action and perhaps some inspiration.

Moving towards ‘virtual’ PR agencies


Sushil Bahl, Faculty–Marketing Area, Nirma Institute of Management, Ahmedabad

In the present day context a headline of this kind would indeed draw attention. Here one is referring to ‘corporate communication’ as a tool of professional corporate image- makers and public relations professionals.

Corporate communication is a process in an attempt to create shared understanding at the target individual and at group level—both formal and informal. It is through communication that the desired collaboration and co-operation among stakeholders and corporations is built. It is ideally so but in actual experience when it comes to creating image it cuts both ways! It can build image, as well as destroy the image of the corporation desirous of building image if not handled carefully and properly. It is similar to the adage that advertising helps sell a product, but also hasten the death of a bad product at the marketplace. Communications and public relations in business, and at corporations cannot change the black into white!

Image building obsession

Building a strong image through professional corporate communication is a much sought after objective by corporations with close co-operation between the CEO, the Public Relations Officer (PRO), and the media. In most corporations “media relations” accounts for as much as 80 percent of the external public relations work and 20 percent in other important activities for image such as corporate brochures, websites, house journals and annual reports! This has become an obsession of sorts today.

A lot of time is spent at corporations on perfecting the art and craft of planning and putting out image building news and stories to the media journalists. So much so, today a PRO is rated as being a good PR professional only if he can get the company news, and his CEO’s photo, published prominently. If he cannot do so for any reason, he is dammed as useless! This has been the factor in the success or failure of a number of PRO’s in recent times.

The obsession is further encouraged by present day PR Agencies. In soliciting business and gaining clients. They promise to make the CEO, and the corporation, as “Hero No. 1” in the media. Some of them do it successfully with the friendly contacts they have in the media. But many of them unable to, and therefore they are quietly replaced by another PR agency. If it’s not the agency that gets changed, then often it is the PRO that is changed!

The message one is trying to put across here is that media relations and media hype (image) seems to have become the sole objective in corporate public relations today and we go all the way to try and build positive image irrespective of the actual performance and situation. Corporate communication is beyond this and media coverage and hype is just one of the tools for effective corporate image building.

Lets look at examples of what corporate communication, in the form of publicity and media hype of today’s kind, does for management people as well as corporations.

Among the examples of people, note what the hype built by PROs, PR agencies, aided by journalists, did to individuals like the “big bull” Harshad Mehta! Similarly to Rajan Pillai first and Sunil Alag later of Britannia, P S Subramanyam of UTI, Rajan Gelli of Global Trust Bank and Anand Rathi of Bombay Stock Exchange! It made them all to be “super” professionals and performers, while the things went well. But brought them down to dust in one shot when things soured – despite their actual qualities and achievements. And with what impact, as we all know today!

Publicity and hype for the sake of “image” and “fame” for individual is a disaster. Too much of a high profile and propaganda deems doom. Today’s hotshot entrepreneurs and professionals like Azim Premji, Anand Mahindra, Gautam Singhania, among others need to heed to this advice. Fortunes change, and with it image! One needs to be careful and shun undue publicity and limelight for themselves, as also for their corporations. Let their personal actions and corporate performance speak for them unprompted.

At the corporation level, take the case of the Mafatlal Group which once ranked as fourth or fifth largest group in the country and is now a BIFR company. What a strong media image it had and you don’t even hear of the group today. What was happening in the case of ESSAR a few years back? What happened to ENRON and the Dabhol Power Company? What happened in the Coke and Pepsi pesticide crisis? One can list a host of other corporations as examples, and the list will read like that of companies in the “In Search of Excellence”, wherein some of the best companies do not seem to exist! It is always the sustained business performance that counts, and not the media hype.

PROs and media relations

In the image building and public relations ball game, CEOs and the PROs are often supported by some favourite and friendly media journalists, and at the same time also opposed by their antagonists among them. One top pharma CEO, for instance, disliked a financial newspaper journalist for his frank and honest stories and news items on the industry and in particular his company. Some of these obviously were not so palatable to him. As a result he would not meet this journalist, nor answer queries that were put to him through his PRO. Yet the CEO would oblige a couple of other newspaper and magazine journalists – his favourites – with interviews, personal comments and news items. So much so, it became a “You hate me. I hate you too”-relationship with this one journalist. This went on for some quite some time, till the company’s PRO took personal initiative and managed to soften the CEO about this one journalist and the need for being fair to him.

In a number of situations concerning corporate image another two negative factors alleged as influencing the undesired practices between corporates and media are the linking of advertising support to media coverage and publicity, and “payments “ to journalists in cash or kind! What is the truth, and the legitimacy of this view, is not too clear or known, but at needs to be given a serious look The professional view of experts is that the publicity given to a corporation should be solely based on performance and merits of its news value to the reader or viewer of the medium. No other personal or monetary or whatever else, factor should have any influence what so ever -- on either side.

Journalists in the print and electronic media today seemingly have a fixation for business news. Possibly because of the space or time required to be filled up by them in the media, or to have their name in the key line. They go out of the way and dig out news, and then splash it all over. Sometimes in the form of investigative scoops, and other times as interesting articles or features. But unfortunately their reports and coverage in most case lack depth and understanding. This is because they are generally not qualified or knowledgeable on the subject. Their writings or reports are superficial and merely scratch the surface, and create hype! Contrary to real principles of investigative journalism and new trends started off by journalists of the like of Arun Shourie and Vinod Mehta, As a result many times, despite good intentions, the stories and news items often turn out to be embarrassing for corporations, and as well as the newspapers or magazines carrying it. This is then followed by letters to the editor, rejoinders and rebuttals, to be published. Sometimes even with the reporter sticks to his story which is based on facts obtained “from reliable sources!”

Writing on developmental and broader issues

Corporations and journalists in India particularly have a challenging job to do, and a role to play in development of business, besides merely creating hype and image for the corporations and their CEOs.

Development and growth in business today, as we know, hinges on managing change effectively. Growth on how well you are able to alter existing realities in ways that benefit you, your organization, customers, and the society around you. This growth depends on how well you are able to change the “status quo” situation in the quality of life and seek out new challenges and changes. In this the role of communications, and in particular the writings and reporting by journalists in question are very important. There is vital need for writing more and intensely on broader current issues along with business, and spectrum of e-commerce, e-learning, e-marketplace, eco-friendliness, and e-everything. It puts on a greater responsibility for writing and reporting in depth and accurately on serious development and management issues concerning managing of change. There is a vital need for a debate to influence corporations and media journalist on this in the field.

With the enabling of Internet, communication and writing for most current issues need a new form and type. It requires expertise and depth matched with tremendous local and global reach. Or else the communication and writings will just get buried and go unnoticed within the text, visual and multimedia communications from all over the world. There is need for being local and original.

As a communication professional, I would like to conclude that it is the responsibility of both the corporate PROs and the media journalist to “add value” to corporate communication rather than merely making it a tool for news. As it is know, a pen is mightier than the sword, but how you wield the pen is most important. There is a need for partnership between business (PROs) and media (journalists) in being able to do this. They need to focus on their individual roles better and at the same time collaborate for results and impact. They need to be intellectual facilitators of information and not mere brokers of news. There is much scope for our looking at issues from a different perspective aided by personal experience, observation and logical reasoning, within the total corporate communications objectives and process, rather than merely trying to change black into white.

 
Archives
Getting a hold on Google Instant Benedict Hayes
- Benedict Hayes, Head of Search, Communicate 2 - 10/15/2010
Webinar – An evolving marketing tool
- Balaji Kesavraj, Head - Marketing (India), Cisco WebEx - 10/21/2009
Accurate and reliable Readership Measurement Matrices need of the hour
- Manajit Ghoshal, CEO, Mid-Day Infomedia - 1/28/2009
Consumers are the New Media
- Atrayee Chakraborty, Business Director, Lintas Media Group - 1/15/2009
Lending a helping hand to those who fell defending Mumbai
- S Yesudas, CEO, RK Swamy Media Group - 12/2/2008
It would be wonderful if a great idea wins an election
- Swapan Seth, CEO, Equus Red Cell - 11/24/2008
Social Media: A suitable supplement?
- Indranil Datta, Vice President – Knowledge, Mudra RADAR - 10/13/2008
100 GRP: New benchmark or overrated myth?
- Indranil Datta, Vice President - Knowledge, Mudra RADAR - 9/8/2008
Reality talent search: Redefining TV viewership
- Indranil Datta, Vice President-Knowledge, Mudra RADAR - 8/13/2008
Artificial Obsolescence
- Anand Kurian, Writer and advertising professional, - 6/25/2008
Why the Consumer should not be the King in India?
- Jitender Dabas, VP & Strategic Planning Director, JWT India - 6/19/2008
How the Voda pug got lost in God’s own country
- Rajul Kulshreshtha, Managing Director -- Motivator, A GroupM company - 6/3/2008
There is a new K-serial on air, it’s called K-ricket
- Anisha Motwani, Executive Director-Marketing, Max New York Life - 5/22/2008
Managing Retail Through Market Research
- Muder Chiba, Executive Director, TNS India - 5/8/2008
Understanding Integrated Marketing Communication in India
- Deepika Kurl, Sport Leasing – Corporate Controller, San Francisco, USA - 4/11/2008
Making the most of large format events
- Vijay Singh, MD, 141 Sercon - 3/31/2008
... And then there were blogs
- Preeti Chaturvedi, Manager, Mktg & Biz Dev., GIST
Justin Rabindra, VP, Training & Knowledge Mngt, Ogilvy One Worldwide - 2/25/2008
The ‘Nano’ Challenge
- Sourabh Mishra, Chief Strategy Officer, TBWA\India Group - 1/29/2008
Genre hypnotism
- Manisha Talwar Rana, Marketing Communications, LG Electronics - 1/10/2008
When ‘Dhan’ in Dhanteras becomes elusive
- Vishakha Singh, Head-MarCom, Future Media India - 11/22/2007
Who stole my retail dream?
- Hemant M Mishrra, Brand Consultant, Mudra Brand Sollutions - 11/5/2007
Watching less, Reading less, Talking more
- Praveen Ramachandra, Business Director, Insights, MindShare, Bangalore - 10/24/2007
The 4Es of Client Management
- Swapan Seth, CEO, Equus Red Cell - 10/11/2007
Advertisers to vie for that two square inch space on your mobile handset
- Dr L Venkata Subramaniam, Research Staff Member, IBM India Research Lab - 9/10/2007
The Lintas saga: Why Prembhai is not Anilbhai or Mukeshbhai
- Ramanujam Sridhar, CEO, brand-comm - 8/8/2007
Is the Advertising business losing respect?
- Gopinath Menon, Senior Vice-President, Media, TBWA India - 7/28/2007
What's your brand's chakra reading?
- Mythili Chandrasekar, VP and Executive Planning Director, JWT - 7/19/2007
Growing hunger for Business Analytics
- Sandeep Pandey, National Business Director, ATG - 3/20/2007
Is agency bonus the right way to reward success?
- Libby Child - CEO, UK, & Sunil Gupta - Regional Director, South West Asia, APRAIS Worldwide - 2/6/2007
Is your media plan CAS-trated?
- Rajendra Dwivedi, Business Director, MAXUS - 1/22/2007
Do not divide - and rule!
- Premjeet Sodhi, Senior Vice President, Initiative, Lintas Media Group - 12/5/2006
Bonding with the big studios at MIPCOM
- Gitanjali Murari, Programming Head, PIX - 10/24/2006
The Phenomenon of Instant Success
- Sandeep Singh & Gaurav Sood, COO, CSD, Get.Next.Job, Wunderman India - 8/16/2006
The mystery of the vanishing agency
- Lynn de Souza, Director of Media Services, Lintas India Pvt Ltd. - 7/27/2006
The Word-of-Mouth Factor

I have found that Word-of-Mouth works fastest when integrated into standard brand building communication.

- Sumit Roy, Founder Director, Univbrands - 6/28/2006
The birth of the Global Indian

From whining about the globalisation of India to celebrating the Indianisation of the Globe: tracing and defending the role of media and advertising

- Mythili Chandrasekar, VP and Executive Planning Director, JWT Chennai - 5/29/2006
Be a leader, others will follow you as an evangelist
- Prof. Sushil Bahl, Consultant, International School of Business and Media, Pune - 4/24/2006
Towards a meaningful industry integration
- S. Yesudas, COO, Media Direction - 4/1/2006
Showtime Everywhere @ Davos 2006
- Atri Sengupta, Director, Showtime - 2/21/2006
A door to “impact” full media plans
- S Yesudas, Business Advisor (Director), Initiative Worldwide, Jakarta - 1/17/2006
A profession does not become redundant, its practitioners do
- Svetleena Choudhary, Media Group Head, Initiative, Delhi - 12/9/2005
Jaago Grahak Jaago – bring accountability in media
- Rajul Kulshreshtha, General Manager, GroupM Team LG - 11/8/2005
YOUR PASSPORT TO POWER
- Sushil Bahl, Consultant, International School of Business & Media, Pune - 10/18/2005
Media specialist: Changing paradigms
- S Yesudas, Business Advisor (Director), Initiative Worldwide, Jakarta - 10/7/2005
“It’s the customer, stupid”
- Justin Rabindra, Regional Knowledge Manager, Asia Pacific,OgilvyOne Worldwide - 8/8/2005
The Changing Indian Woman
- Kishore Chakraborti, Associate VP and Director, Consumer Insight, McCann Erickson India - 7/12/2005
Vision & Mission: Breaking the joojoo
- Manosh Sengupta, General Manager – Marketing Communications, IDEA Cellular Limited - 6/22/2005
It’s about time we took the customer seriously, and started treating him like he mattered
- Justin Rabindra, Regional Knowledge Manager, Asia Pacific,OgilvyOne Worldwide - 5/18/2005
Too much of a good thing? Research Vs "gut feel"
- Abraham M. Alapatt, Client Services Director, Ogilvy & Mather Advertising, Chennai,& Practice Group Partner, Ogilvy Business Network - 4/27/2005
Does brand management need a shave and a wash?
- Ashish Misra, VP Marketing, Mason & Summers Alcobev - 4/6/2005
Is creativity all about creatiwitty?
- Surojit Sen, Creative Supervisor (Copy), Rediffusion DY&R, New Delhi - 3/15/2005
Singapore Airlines – An Excellent Asian Brand
- Martin Roll, CEO, VentureRepublic, Singapore - 12/18/2004
Changing Black into White!
- Sushil Bahl, Faculty, Marketing Area, Nirma Institute of Management,Nirma University - 11/27/2004
STAR POWER – Will the force be with you?
- Anupma Suneja, General Manager, Synovate - 10/29/2004
The True Value of Account Management
- Anisha Motwani, Vice-president, EURO RSCG, New Delhi - 10/4/2004
K-Kapoor Factory, B-Bollywood, C-Cricket…but no crorepatis!
- Rakesh Khar, Programme Director, School of Communications, Jaipuria Institute of Management, Noida - 9/16/2004
A Closer Look at Awards
- Indu Balachandran, Executive Creative Director, JWT Chennai - 8/26/2004
Pepsi and the art of Cool
- Rohit Ohri, Senior VP & Area Director-Delhi, J Walter Thompson - 7/21/2004
Cannes of creativity (no worms need apply)!
- Ashish Misra, Vice-President Marketing, Katra Liquor - 7/8/2004
"Budget blues and the rest of the year"
- Anant Rangaswami, Director, Event Management Development Institute - 6/24/2004
Understanding Commercial Break Viewing on Television Setting Norms that Promote Effective Buying
- P V Narayanmoorthy, Regional Director, Strategic Resource, Carat - 6/7/2004
“The list of their restrictions can go on forever…….Perhaps they deserve all those many crores that they receive for endorsements. It offsets their suffering, I guess. Except, how come they have all the restrictions and all the money, and I have all the choice, not the power to exercise it?”
- Anant Rangaswami, Director, Event Management Development Institute - 5/29/2004
‘Comparing different and unrelated companies often is an acceptable approach if you are looking simply at the operating features of the business rather than their financial performance.’
- Sushil Bahl, Faculty–Marketing Area, Nirma Institute of Management, Ahmedabad - 5/15/2004
"A fully interactive brand channel on UK satellite today exists in what is essentially a walled-garden of some 200 channels, rather than the Wild West of 17 million websites. It reaches more than seven million homes and will drive commerce both electronically and through the brand’s outlets."
- Bhaskar Majumdar, CEO, Recreate Solutions - 4/21/2004
The index could be based on a rating that takes into account agreed parameters/attributes, past-present media coverage/favourability and relevance, ground situation in terms of successful/unsuccessful seasons/tenures, future prospects, etc.
- Rajesh S Lalwani, Director, Strategy & Business Development, brand-comm - 4/10/2004
Instead of a Unique Selling Proposition, let’s start thinking about our Unique Feelings Proposition.
- Suresh Dinakaran, President, Communicate, Dubai - 3/11/2004
Creating the right buzz through WOM
- Prof. Sushil Bahl, Faculty, Marketing Area, Nirma Institute of Management, Nirma University, Ahmedabad - 2/24/2004
"India Shining is worth more than a Lion"
- Swapan Seth, Co-CEO, Equus Red Cell - 2/10/2004
Connecting with the Rural Folks
- R V Rajan, CMD, Anugrah Madison Advertising Pvt. Ltd. - 1/13/2004
THE “INCREDIBLE” BRAND!
- Sushil Bahl, Faculty, Marketing Area, Nirma Institute of Management, Ahmedabad - 12/20/2003
7 Highly Effective Ways of Killing a Brand
- Ashish Misra, , - 11/27/2003
"AND WE DRINK THIS STUFF !!"
- Prof. Sushil Bahl, Faculty, Marketing Area, Institute of Management, Nirma University - 11/5/2003
Sorry, Cannes Save You.
- G S Shridhar, CEO, Purple Blaze Advertising Consultancy - 10/24/2003
The Context of Existance
- Swapan Seth, Co-CEO, Equus Red Cell - 9/24/2003
"Oh, you don't work Saturdays" and other taunts!"
- G S Murari, Director, Fidelis Advertising and Marketing - 9/13/2003
"But to say advertising is dead or dying is being somewhat naïve"
- Sushil Bahl, Professor, Mudra Institute of Communications (MICA) Ahmedabad - 9/1/2003
Attack of the delight providers
- Ashish Misra, Vice President, The Henley Centre - 7/30/2003
"Creativity on demand with creative aerobics and imagination management"
- Prof. Linda Conway Correll and Sushil Bahl, , - 7/23/2003
"Lessons in Advertising"
- Anand Halve, Co Founder, Chlorophyll - 7/3/2003
"Fees, and not a 15% commission, I am told, are now the order of the day."
- Sumit Roy, Founder Director, Univbrands - 6/2/2003
"The AOR or media agency will continue to grow in importance because this is where one talks money."
- Arun Kumar, Associate Media Director, MPG, Delhi - 5/15/2003
"Does your Marketing Strategy know your Consumer?"
- Ashish Misra, Vice President, The Henley Centre. - 4/26/2003
"Is there an insidious move to undermine the very edifice on which print is built? That of credibility. Is there an attempt to 'commoditise' news? "
- Indrajit Lahiri, Professor of Broadcast, Symbiosis Institute of Mass Communications - 4/15/2003
"Is there an insidious move to undermine the very edifice on which print is built? That of credibility. Is there an attempt to 'commoditise' news? "
- Amitava Guha, GM,, Key Accounts Hindustan Times - 4/1/2003
"Asian companies need to move up the value chain through strategic branding."
- Martin Roll, CEO, VentureRepublic - 3/26/2003
"THE PRICE IS RIGHT (OR IS IT?)" A closer look at the perils of misusing the pricing variable in the marketing mix.
- Anand Halve, Co Founder, Chlorophyll - 3/1/2003
"If today, agencies are under fire, are we, the client, not as responsible for this crisis?"
- Manosh Sengupta, GM, Marketing Communications, Idea Cellular - 2/19/2003
"Media marketing has finally come of age."
- Rajul Kulshreshtha, CEO, Optimedia Indonesia - 1/30/2003
"Great advertising ideas are not just original and interesting, most importantly they are relevant."
- Samit Sinha, Managing Partner, Alchemist Brand Consulting - 1/11/2003
"Look London, Talk Tokyo: The eternal schizophrenia of the advertising creative person"
- Kiran Khalap, Founder, Chlorophyll - 12/28/2002
How often do we pause and ponder about industry issues that have a bearing beyond just our rigmaroles? Share insights that can further the common understanding? Or, at the very least, point at things that need to be set right. View Point - an exchange4media platform, will fill this void and become a source of understanding, action and perhaps some inspiration.
- Swapan Seth, Co-CEO, Equus Red Cell - 12/16/2002
"I think a lot of our clients are far more inquisitive about the future of media than us media professionals..."
- Sandip Tarkas, President, South Asia, MPG - 12/2/2002
"But now, it sometimes seems to me that the creative and servicing teams are completely divorced from the media"
- Shovon Chowdhury, Exec VP & GM, Bates India - 11/12/2002
"Broadcasters are today putting the distribution and pay related issues as top priority and factor in new concepts like 'Opportunity To See'"
- Amitabh Srivastava, - Network Development, GM Aaj Tak - 10/21/2002
Phadnis comes from Planning and Strategy background, having worked with Starcom, HTA and Rediffussion. Phadnis joined TV Audience Measurement [TAM] as Director, S-Group in early 2002 quitting Starcom as Media Director.
- Atul Phadnis, Director - S-Group, TAM - 10/1/2002
An ardent bridge player, a producer, a writer and a teacher - one could go on and on about Amit Khanna. Khanna has a wide lineage- he has worked in theatre, radio, television, journalism, advertising and films. He has been on the executive committee of IBF, Indian Music Industry, and Film Federation of India. He set up Plus Channels in '90s and quit in 2000 to launch Reliance Entertainment with Reliance. Khanna the Chairman of the Convergence Committee of FICCI. And also he is the Member of the Core Group of Ministry of I&B, on GATS and Ministry of Commerce. His contributions and association is a long list.
- Amit Khanna, Chairman, Reliance Entertainment - 9/16/2002
Unless media independents enlarge their scope and act as clear partner with the brand both in terms of efficiency in planning and providing actual savings, they will not be heard or seen by practical clients
- V.Balasubramanium, National Director, ATG - 8/19/2002
exchange4media has been calling me for my Viewpoint, but like a true advertising person, I have no time! So I decided to write it in sleep (if you can walk in sleep why can't you write in sleep?) If it hurts your sensibility or you disagree with my views, please disregard this as a piece of junk - because I know it is impossible to pour water in a glass full of water - to give gyan to advertising gyanis.
- Amit Ray, VP-Media Services, Mudra - 7/24/2002
"How does a media professional go about seducing his two primary constituents; the client & the client's customers?"
- Sai Nagesh, GM, Maximize - 7/8/2002
Creating Media Assets
- CVL Srinivas, COO-North&South, Madison Media - 6/24/2002
 
 

Disclaimer
:

"The views expressed are personal views of the author and not necessarily represent the views of the organisation author works for or of exchange4media.com."

© exchange4media 2007                                                                                     Post your opinion

Dialogue
People Movement
Home | About US | The Team | Contact US | In Press | Terms of Use | Advertise with us | Our Tour & Travel Operator | Articles | E-book | Press Releases | SMS Push | Site Map
Access exchange4media.com on your mobile www.exchange4media.mobi
This site is best viewed in Internet Explorer 6 & above at 1024 X 768 resolution.
Copyright © : 2010 Adsert Web Solutions Pvt. Ltd. New Delhi, India. All rights reserved.
Hosted by