‘Intellectual re-orientation of communication has been a key innovation during pandemic’

At the 11th edition of PR & corporate communication virtual summit, thought leaders deliberated on the 3Ps of communications, Pandemic Perseverance and PR

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Updated: Feb 18, 2021 9:12 AM
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At the recently held 11th edition of PR & Corporate Communication Virtual Summit, stalwarts from the PR and corporate communications industry convened to deliberate on topics concerning the industry. A panel discussion on ‘3Ps of Communications –Pandemic Perseverance and PR: How communication plays a vital role in crisis’ witnessed participation of industry thought leaders.

The panelists for the session were Dilip Yadav, Founding Partner, First Partners; Udit Pathak, Director, Media Mantra;  Deepshika Dharmraj, Chief Executive Officer, Genesis BCW; Deepak Jolly, Founder & Director, Consocia Advisory;  Aman Gupta, Managing Director, SPAG Asia; Dr. Rajiv Chibber, Vice President, External Affairs Sahajanand Medical Technologies along with session chair Tarunjeet Rattan, Founder, PRPOI.

“A good crisis is an opportunity for a PR team to prove its perseverance and success,” said Rattan to kickstart the panel discussion. She threw the discussion open by asking how crisis management, a key pillar in PR, transforms a team’s position at the brand table?

Dharmraj began by saying, “The role of PR in the industry is undeniable. We have matured as PR professionals. We should be able to provide the right counsel to the clients at times of crises.” She also advised to look holistically at all the stakeholders who are associated with the crises and not only focus on the end customer.

While we are covering 3 Ps, People is the fourth P that I would add to it. How do you manage your team (agency and client) during a crisis? asked Rattan. Pathak informed, “We gave more power to people. We realised that our employees, i.e. PR professionals had a lot of potential and are budding future leaders.”

Rattan then asked about the best strategic approach to handle a crisis to the co-panelists. According to Chibber, “We put the people first, then came the policies and then came the whole programmatic side of communication. “

Gupta from SPAG Asia put the spotlight on the issue of widespread dissemination of fake information and rumours during the pandemic. He said, “One of the things that emerged was the misinformation and rumours. The WHO has come up with technology to manage and mitigate any crisis emerging from the misinformation in real time. WHO came up with a whole different department to mitigate fake news crises called infodemiology. We were fortunate to develop the whole ecosystem for India and South Asia along with WHO.”

Talking about innovations taken place in the PR industry in order to handle crises, Yadav pointed on the intellectual re-orientation of communication with clients of the PR professionals during the pandemic.  He said, “There was a need of credible sources for reliable information during the pandemic and top leadership from the company became credible spokespersons. Leadership communication is one of the key innovations that has evolved during the course of the pandemic.”

“Adoption of digital along with data and analytics and the idea of purpose driven communication has taken centre stage,” added Dharmraj.

In the hou- long panel discussion, Deepak Jolly stressed on the quintessential point of employment and skill enhancement. According to him, companies should think of generating more employment and have a futuristic business strategy to tackle any form of crisis that arrives.

The session chair then quizzed the panelists on how intricately are policy making, government advocacy and brand crisis communication linked and at what point does a PR team need to activate it.

Gupta advised to work with stakeholders at multiple layers. He explained that to keep the multiple stakeholders together, the PR strategy has to be very well defined and well-practiced.”

“Be short and precise in communication. Make sure you hold your horses during crisis. We need to pre-train people for a crisis”, added Jolly.

Rattan concluded the discussion by asking panelists lessons from all the crisis management in 2020 that will be taken for the future.

“While there was crisis on the client's side, but at the same time, we were also at crisis as an industry. Managing that crisis has also been a great learning. We have evolved as an industry,” said Pathak.

Yadav concluded the discussion by adding, “Preparedness is the answer for crisis. Learn from other’s mistake and not repeat. Be strong with the brand story and background.”

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