Kapil Rampal, CEO -, Creative Crest
Media relations is one of the most important roles handled by a PR company. The other roles that we've handled successfully include management communication, crisis management, industry relations, financial relations and research. The industry is still young; we will see a growth in agencies with individual specialization.
Media relations is one of the most important roles handled by a PR company. The other roles that we've handled successfully include management communication, crisis management, industry relations, financial relations and research. The industry is still young; we will see a growth in agencies with individual specialization.Kapil Rampal has been heading Creative Crest for the past three years, prior to which he was a consultant with Liveworld, Inc. where he managed PR campaigns for leading Fortune 500 companies and transnational corporations.
In a conversation with Jasmeen Dugal, Kapil Rampal, CEO - Creative Crest, discusses how PR will stretch to individual specialization in a few years, how Creative Crest differentiates themselves when they go out to pitch for clients and how unethical methods can only achieve short-term interest. Q. What is the USP of Creative Crest? Our USP is performance. We have devised proprietary methodologies for regular performance evaluation and appraisal. Our agency consistently achieves and exceeds various performance parameters. In case a client is not satisfied by our performance in any given period, we give him the liberty not to pay us for our services.
Q. How does PR compete with other below-the-line marketing activities? PR is not a competition to any marketing activity. It supports and enhances the effectiveness of every marketing and communication activity. In time to come, it will become an essential ingredient of all marketing activities.
Q. Do you think handling corporate communications or PR for a small and mid-sized client is more challenging than handling a large client? A small and mid-sized client is a greater challenge. A larger client usually has a brand recall in media. Small and mid-sized clients often require a lot more groundwork. They have definite goals from PR and require you to perform consistently.
The scope of activities and geographical locations targeted in the case of small and medium clients may also differ from large clients. For such clients, the agency needs to be more pro-active and consistently come up with unique PR strategies that give regular dividends.
Q. What are the ideal attributes for a good PR professional? A good PR professional should have PR acumen. That's the most important attribute. The other desirable attributes are sound communication skills using any medium, relationship management skills and stress management. The PR profession can be extremely stressful and PR professionals are required to perform well under stress.
Q. In India, is the role of PR going to remain in media relations or it will stretch to individual specialization? Media relations are one of the most important roles handled by a PR company. The other roles that we have handled successfully include management communication (internal and external), crisis management, industry relations, financial relations and research. The industry is still young. In future we will see a growth in agencies with individual specialization.
Q. How do you measure the results of a PR campaign? We have a set of internal benchmarking tools that help clients benchmark the effectiveness of a campaign and evaluate their return-on-investment (ROI).
Q. Do initiatives like the PRCAI PR summit help? If yes, how? Yes, surely. The best part of the summit was that it brought various PR professionals on a single platform. The industry does not have a central governing body or an association, unlike other service industries. There is no common forum in which PR professionals can interact and share their experiences. PRCAI PR summit was a step in the right direction. In the US, the PR Society of America (PRSA) organizes many activities where professionals from all across the country get to interact with each other.
Q. Tell us about the campaigns you are currently handling. Is there anything in the pipeline? There are many different campaigns on for a variety of clients. We are handling campaigns of business houses, NGOs, government bodies, educational institutions, political parties, media houses, entertainment celebrities, sports personas and others. Almost everyday, we work on a new campaign.
Q. How do you differentiate yourselves when you go out to pitch for clients? Our point of differentiation is performance. In an industry where some agencies are giving a bad reputation by under-performing, we have kept a consistent performance record. We have one of the highest client retention records in the industry. Our work speaks for itself. A lot of our business is generated by positive recommendations given by our current clients.
Creative Crest has tie-ups with some leading International agencies, which help us to regularly enhance our level of services. For clients requiring specialized services, we have developed relationships that bring us specialized expertise in those areas. And we are members of many International PR agency networks and industry associations, instead of limiting ourselves to just one network.
Q. How do you deal with conflicting interests between a client and a PR firm? There are no conflicting interests between a client and a PR firm. The client knows best about his business and communication, and using PR is just one part of the overall activities of a client. Any PR firm needs to identify the business goals of a client and need to become a catalyst towards achieving those goals. Over a period of time, a harmony develops between the client and the PR firm, and both of them work together. PR becomes a part of the overall business process of a client.
Q. Is Ethics in PR followed in true spirit? Ethics is the core of our firm and the PR business. Media relations in the most commonly identifiable function of a PR firm where there is a perception of lack of ethics. Any publication is interested in topical news. PR agencies need to identify and work on ways of offering news-value to a publication with a reference to our client. There is no other way of getting leverage.
Unethical methods can get only a temporary short-term interest, which does not last. If a client tries to get positive coverage by giving lavish gifts, it will not do any good for him in the long run. Nobody in media compromises on their position and stature for minor pecuniary benefits. Unethical practices are detrimental for the client, the agency and the whole media industry.
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