Communications in 2021: An amalgamation of Art and Science where data leads creativity

Guest Column: Tribhuwan Joshi, Lead, Brand Communication, Public Relations & CSR, Fujifilm India, highlights that check and measure will be a key KPI for any communications professional

e4m by Tribhuwan Joshi
Updated: Jan 18, 2021 12:58 PM
Tribhuwan Joshi

In 2005 when I started my professional career as a communications consultant, the basic task at that time was to get a press release published across media platforms. During that era, getting maximum exposure in mainlines, financials, regionals, and online publications was considered as good PR.

Earlier ROI was measured by coverage dossiers with PR values for brands. And let’s face it, the value of traditional media was the highest benchmark back then. Some of the traditional PR Practices such as press conferences, routine press releases, media rounds, spokesperson/brand ambassador interactions, etc., were what brand communications was all about until 2010. 

With the advent of Smartphones, things really started changing in the industry. With data available in just a click of a button, that’s when the traction for digital mediums came into the picture. Keeping in mind the drastic changing patterns of consumers, the form of consuming news also shifted and that’s when online consumption of news took lead.

In line with these new disruptions, brands also started changing strategy and ways of communicating with stakeholders, the budget for PR started shifting to online and digital. Now brands wanted to get maximum ROI for money spent on Marketing and PR. Data-driven communications having information about the industry backed by research explained with infographics and a variety of supporting elements were some of the changes in strategies. One could say that new technologies changed the entire content strategy along with the evaluation of the outcome.

Communication agencies were evaluated on the basis of clips carrying key messages, participation in industry stories with spokesperson visibility, specific authored articles, opinion pieces, news in vertical platforms, online exposures in key platforms relevant to that particular category and industry.

In 2014 when I shifted to the other side of PR and communication (Corporate Communication), I found that why Brands used to ask for news or media coverage in some specific platforms. Every product manager has specific requirements because their sales queries and traffic were inter-related and based on it they were getting specific responses for the announcement of products and services. My whole perspective about PR and communication changed. PR was aligned to data; Data was playing an important role. That’s why if you see many times the agency is asked to do a release and at times a big press conference, bloggers meet and influencer engagement is required because data is helping product managers to define their product strategy and sales strategy. That’s the reason all brands have specific data analytics tools for their business which helps them to prepare their Communication strategy.

Going forward, PR and communication professionals will need to have number knowledge - specifically, data-driven information. An informed PR and editorial strategy backed with data points helps with brand insights, search queries and tells brands and agencies the kind of content that the audience is looking for. Social media data lets us know what content the audience is talking about and engaging with.

While curating content, data is everywhere, it’s on us how we use it and package it. Data can help in creating visual content that can be helpful and useful both online and offline. Infographics, data-based creatives and data-driven communication and storytelling are what the audience is looking for and is the future. Short content with factual data is going to be the key – this is the new world of 24 hours’ stories on Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter Fleet. Optimising the content and performance management of Data and content shared will be really critical for getting ROI for your campaign.

Success Metrics is what brands will be looking forward to, this will be the first step on agreeing that what will be success metrics before any campaign, launch or event. Plan in Progress will not help either Brands or Communication professionals. Success metrics will be the goal for Brand person and communication professionals.

First and last important point is follow-up for any business, check and measure will be a key KPI for any communications professional. What gets measured gets improved. Data being the key driver, it is on the PR and communication professionals on how we handle the data effectively by adding creativity with the data to craft stories in an innovative way.

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