Social media is an important platform for young PR professionals: Jai Kewalramani, Jaibo
Jai Kewalramani, Founder & CEO, Jaibo in conversation with exchange4media shares his views on the PR industry, key drivers of the digital era, future of integrated communication agencies and more
The driving force behind Jaibo, a startup in the cluttered PR industry - Jai Kewalramani, Founder & CEO brings with him vast exposure in the fields of Public Relations, Digital Marketing and Public Affairs. Having worked with a wide array of brands (ranging from startups to multinationals) advising and overseeing their market entry, marketing, growth and CSR strategies while guiding and adapting them for the Indian subcontinent.
A full-time MBA Alumnus (2016-17) from Imperial College London, he brings rare mix of a contemporary approach to business – mindful of rapidly evolving industry environments while remaining deeply aware of and working at the leading edge of current industry paradigms. Kewalramani has been recognised and awarded numerous times as a young professional – including, '30 under 30 PR Professionals (PRmoment)' and '15 Young Professionals to Watch out for' (Mxmindia)
Prior to founding Jaibo, Jai Kewalramani served as Director at India’s largest Public Relations Advisory, Perfect Relations, for over 8 years. In an interaction with Jai Kewalramani, he shares his views on, if the PR industry is losing its essence in a bid to win more likes, key drivers of the digital era and the importance of social media.
As a young PR professional, how do you see the scenario currently in the public relations industry?
The scenario for the public relations industry in India is fairly positive for the foreseeable future. Ofcourse, like any other sector there have been many changes that the industry has had to adapt with. Over the last 10 years, the importance on digital marketing has increased, which is considered as one of the biggest challenges for the PR sector. Digital marketing though, also suffers from its own challenges, most popularly that of authenticity. With fake news becoming a buzzword, I feel the younger generation is gradually making an effort to identify more authentic sources for the information they consume online. As such, the role of a PR agent which encompasses reaching out to these media houses will stand the test of time. There may be less importance given to a print article, given a short shelf life, but brands do definitely share the online version of that same article through their social media. This not only increases brand awareness, but also adds substance from a reputable media publication having written about them. This sense of reader value is still given great importance.
What are the key drivers of the industry in the digital era?
As touched upon in the previous answer, authenticity of information definitely serves as one of the key drivers of the PR industry. An old difference between PR and advertising is that, in PR we use reputable media houses to write about brands rather than reaching out to customers directly to tell our story, as done in advertising. Having a third-party say that company XYZ is great, adds a sense of repute as the company is not blowing it’s own horn. I feel this aspect of reputation management will remain a key driver for the PR sector in the digital era. Ancillary services such as on-ground activations, brand partnerships, crisis communication and public affairs will also play a key role.
How do you see the integration of advertising, marketing and public relations in the form of communication agencies?
To deliver integrated marketing campaigns is the key these days. The amount of effort that goes into the formulation of campaigns is immense - starting from the research stage, moving through the ideation process, to finally creating a campaign that makes sense and works. You must as a marketer be able to maximize your reach through all channels available to you, in synchronicity achieving a non over powering balance.
What is important here is to realize the difference in trade. You should not have one Jill performing all activities. Communication agencies that have separate leaders and teams for each activity of advertising, marketing and PR, will greatly outperform those that don’t. All these fields take years of experience and knowledge to master, and I feel a one-man army would not deliver. It is key to make sure these leaders and teams work well together, complimenting each other’s ideas, rather than imposing limitations. If you’re able to create this sort of harmony within your agency, clients greatly benefit from their work being done under one roof with ease of internal communication. At times, having distinct PR and digital agencies can lead to friction.
How do you foresee the future of integrated communication agencies in the country?
The future is great! I feel the old taboo of giving your work to distinct specialist agencies is lifting. Many clients find it easy to have one point of contact within an agency, that informs them of their marketing overview. There are so many channels available to us today, that it becomes very hard to keep track of the amount of data available, let alone make sense of it.
Why is the social media so quintessential for the millennial generation? How important is it for young PR professionals?
As suggested in the name, social media helps us be social or connect with those around us. It has become quintessential given the ease of use and significance in everyday life. The world is getting smaller and it is because of social media. It not only keeps the youth up-to-date with their peers and surroundings but also global events at large, allowing them to truly be relevant and participate as global citizens.
It is this power of the platform that makes it so important for young PR professionals to have a strong understating of social media functioning and how it can be leveraged to boost PR efforts. In many cases, a well thought out PR and social media strategy can help clients reach their goals, in a much shorter time span than what was traditionally the norm.
Has the PR industry lost its essence in the bid to win maximum views and likes on the stories?
In some sectors, yes and in some sectors, no. In my experience, I have witnessed a client who got 15,000 app downloads in one day from an article in a Hindi news paper, more than what his social media team achieved in 3 months. You have to understand what your clients' work is and what type of communication, through which channel, will support achieving their goals best. A fact that cannot be argued is that brands are definitely increasing their spends on digital, while PR spends witness low or even negative growth.
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