14 Feb, 2020
6th PRCI Global Communication Conclave
8th Global Communication Conclave
Facebook APAC chief @12th Global Communication Conclave
COAI voice @ 9th Global Communication Conclave
CEC Sunil Arora @ 13th Global Communication Conclave
This premier network connects PR, Corpcom, Media, Advertising, Marcom and HR professionals, apart from mass communication academia and students; organises at national and regional levels events like conferences, discussions, lectures, practical training programmes, apart from annual global conclaves for sharing experience and facilitate continued exchange of knowledge among professionals.
DEHRADUN, April 27, 2019: Public Relations Council of India (PRCI) today announced the launch of its 32nd Chapter in Dehradun at a ceremony in Doon University Campus.
PRCI, as a matter of policy, has stopped giving bouquets at its events. Instead, we give Green Certificates to our guests planting trees in their names.
NAVI MUMBAI, OCTOBER 13, 2018: Supporting the campaign to scientifically recycle e-waste, Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation has announced its plans to set up a Swachh (Cleanliness) Park to spread awareness about electronic waste that is being increasingly generated by the society.
Salutes Neerja Bhanot Pan Am Trust Women
A report on PRCI’s South Zonal event at Mysuru on Daughter’s Day celebration by Bitha Sadanandan
Social responsibility isn’t a corporate job alone. I was moved by a Wealth Mail sent by my personal finance adviser. One of the top personal finance resolutions for 2019 was – remove 1/4th of your wardrobe and give it to the needy. What a suggestion! And is doable. Most of us who keep buying clothes do not know what do with the old clothes. These keep piling up. There is a limit to which the maid can use them for mopping the floors. Stack them, pack them and give them to charities, NGOs. It creates a feel-good factor when you give something to the needy. Those of us working in corporate are well aware of the CSR. The government has redefined CSR under the new Companies Act and made it mandatory to spend at least 2% of the profits on CSR to benefit the society around the areas where the companies do their business. Some companies do encourage employee CSR and as PR practitioners we do strongly recommend it. One of the popular schemes is ‘picnic with purpose’ on the lines of the NSS voluntary service that one did during one’s college days. Go to nearby villages and attend to their issues; go to schools in backward areas and do some story-telling for children there; show movies with a social message; clean the streets and so on and so forth. We as Indians react to crisis with responsibility. Be it the Mumbai blasts, Kerala floods, Hyderabad explosion – as a society we have reacted with speed and helped those in the grip of crisis. Here, I would like to pause and praise PRCI Kerala team for their exemplary work during the flood ravage. All our team members plunged into action, worked with an NGO in making sure that the displaced families are treated with due honour and dignity. The team actively worked with community kitchens run by an NGO, collected food items from across and coordinated collective efforts. In fact, Kerala was to host the 13th Global Communication Conclave with all gusto, but owing to the natural calamity, we moved the event to Jaipur. But I think now time has come for all of us to think in terms of doing something for the society. Its not about giving it back which means you are paying back your debt. Its about doing your own bit with a sense of responsibility. At PRCI, we would like to call it MSR – My Social Responsibility. Inspired by Mahatma Gandhi’s message ‘Be the Change that you want to see in the world’, we at PRCI, we would like to take a step further and say: I want to be the change. It’s also just not ‘yes, we can’, It’s Yes, I can…and I will. We have adopted MSR as part of our DNA and you will see PRCIans implementing it. One need not take up only charities or helping the needy in crisis. Our governing council chairman BNK has launched www.iamvigilant.com and began involving people around him in a small way. He has taken up the cause f environment. He pointed out to the Navi Mumbai municipal corporation the grave situation arising out of open drains near two schools where thousands of students and parents visit. The civic body quickly acted and finished the drainage work. We firmly believe that such individual efforts will definitely have a collective impact on the society. PRCI campaign #StepOut2Vote is another example of MSR. If each one of us resolve ‘I shall vote’, India will vote. One day, we might have newspapers and TV news channels screaming with headlines: India Votes and not 45% voting in Karnataka or 5% vote in J&K! So remember MSR which does not require 2% allocation. (The author is Chief Mentor & Chairman Emeritus, PRCI, and PR consultant)
It’s all about MSR, not just CSR - By M B Jayaram
The decade of 2010-20 is described variously as Internet-2.0, a decade in which digital technology and media matured Internet emerged as a new eco- system encompassing life, work, leisure-pleasure, businesses, with 4.1 billion users at the end of 2019. In human history no other development had had as comparable total impact on human activity.
Statistics related to this eco- system are mind boggling-as you could see from the following:
China, followed by India, leads in the number of Internet users (1.2 billion) out of over 4 billion Internet users world- wide. The Internet -influenced sales touched$ 3.45 trillion in 2019.
The online Advertising expenditure was $205 billion, exceeding $192 billion of TV ad spend globally in 2017.
The number of blogposts published every day exceeds 4 million.ge Some 500 million tweets are sent daily. Google expectedly gets most Internet traffic, as over 500 billion google searches are made every day.
Since the British Physicist Tim Bernard Lee registered his website in 1991- the first one, the number now has reached a little less than two billion. Very interestingly, majority of internet traffic is generated by ‘bots’; humans account for 48 percent.
Enter iPhone: The Internet revolution reached unprecedented scales after the arrival of the iPhone in 2007. It upended the music industry and traditional media. The number of mobile Internet users crossed 3.7 billion in 2018. Nearly 62 percent of e- commerce (valued at $ 2.37 trillion) will be through the mobile phones by 2021.
With a base of 300 million users, Twitter has become a news source, increasingly being used for direct political communication.US President Donald Trump has set a new trend in this area, using Twitter for major policy announcements (source; hosting ).
It was a decade when a new acronym - FAANGs- representing Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, Google (Alphabet) dominated. Their rise and ability to crunch and decipher Big Data and related Analytics, threw up troubling questions. This was so especially after the Facebook - Cambridge Analytics scandal of 2018.The scandal involved unauthorized harvesting of personal data of millions of Facebook user profiles and using such data for micro-targeting messages for political purposes. This exacerbated the concerns about privacy and security. More than 90.000 websites are hacked every day.
It was a decade of abundance of ‘ apps’: The Google AppStore alone as of December 2019, offered a choice of nearly 3 million apps. Apple claimed that its AppStore generated $155 billion in revenue for its app developers ( Apple itself took 15 to 30 percent of this revenue).Every brand and most marketers began hosting apps which enabled them to harvest data about app users. No day passes without reports of user data shared with credit cards and sellers of all kinds being hacked.
VR, AR, AI era: It was a decade in which VR, AR and AI assumed new avatars. It was also the decade where individual privacy issues and debate about government regulations surged, so also debate about fake news, post- Truth came into public space.
The profession of communication, media businesses, businesses got totally transformed by the of cascade of technological innovations. Media, News, Journalism, PR, Marketing Communication, Media and Audience Research, Teaching of related field and preparing communication professional for the ever newer digital age are all in a continuous learning and adapting mode.
It is wisely said that in order to understand and master the new eco-system one needs brains and AI. The coming decade will be focusing more and more on interactions between human intelligence and computers. Many academia abroad are offering programmes for equipping people with skills in this expanding field. At the ordinary people level, such interaction may be taking place daily with Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, Google Home, Cortana (Microsoft) ,mostly for fun. Further, such interaction would only grow with ‘IoT’ becoming more ubiquitous. Another consequence is machines first learn about the users’ behavior and the user would be under the delusion he is controlling the device. But soon he would realize (may not realize also) that the machine is influencing user behaviours in inexplicable ways. At present there are about 7 billion internet connected devices(2019). If they talk to each other (with IoT) even once, the data generated will be enormous. The Gartner research predicts that the number of internet connected devices could exceed 20 billion before the end of 2020.
As and when 5G technology is deployed the number of connected devices, and machines would grow exponentially.
From the perspective of communication and news, AI application has become a necessity. For instance, financial media like the Reuters, the Wall Street Journal have pressed into service AI for preparing routine stories about company performance. Some routine sports and weather-related stories are written by AI. The Microsoft developed Ai-enabled Xioaice used as a TV news anchor mixes AI with emotions. Such AI enabled chatbots have the capacity to spot fake news. When media employ AI for a variety of support tasks, PR will necessarily have to look at AI positively as well. The PR profession would be better off proactively. Ai in PR becomes an essential toll in understanding the stakeholders concerns and perceptions enlarged through sharing on online platforms. It becomes a great tool for sending direct, relevant and timely messages to specific audiences, the same way advertising entices customers, expanding the market for the brands. While routine tasks are performed by Ai enabled technology, Ai used as an input for creative aspects of PR makes it more purposive. Creating relevant messages is aided by dig data analytics, making PR evidence based profession. Facebook, for example, is famous for using AI for filtering advertisements. The PR firms have begun using AI for setting up automated social platforms and marketing Analytics as their core strength. Look at what Siri, or Alexa and their competitors are doing. They are able to collect, understand the emotions, sentiment and tone of conversations and could relate them to brands. Ai-led Analytics has facilitated programmatic buy of media. A day has arrived when PR firms in pitching for business have to demonstrate their Ai savviness. It goes to impress the client with the agency’s efficiency. Put in another way, essentially PR practitioners are in-between the brand, meaning the producers, service providers and consumers. When technology is being enthusiastically embraced by both the entities, the PR practitioners can only benefit by adopting the available technology.
Brand Reputation: This PRCI Conclave at Bengaluru under the umbrella theme of PR Beyond 2020 is putting the lens on PR profession as the guardians of brand reputation. This critical profile of PR is generally less explored, while PR role in crisis management is well recognized and more exhaustively studied. Generally, both the agency and the client tend to put a greater value on brand promotion and marketing efforts. Rarely PR’s quiet but significant contribution to reputation risk management is measured and put a value in the same way its contribution to marketing is measured. Having worked in the Indian federal government, in social and rural communication and brand marketing for decades, research and teaching, I can cite with confidence that the PR antenna contributed on innumerable occasions in averting a crisis by anticipating a brewing storm. In popular language, this vital task is known as BSHF (before shit hits the fan). I am sure many among the Conclave attendees would be able to recount from their experience having of worked against BSHF.
Assuming the responsibility of brand reputation guardianship is a onerous one. It is many sided, hence it is intense as well. The data and information flowing through the social stream is a double-edged sword. While it helps in building and preserving brand reputation, it also exposes the brand to unexpected risks. A single negative word that slips through this vast network can spread like wildfire in no time. There are two aspects to Reputation management. Assessment of risks and counter measures for avoiding such risks. Another is damage control.
For instance, in the current fears about Carona virus that seems to have originated from Wuhan province in China, a bus load of passengers were attacked in Ukraine recently. The story was that the bus passengers had been evacuated from Wuhan and had been brought to Ukraine. A social media rumour that some of the passengers were suffering from the virus had led to a protest and attack on the bus passengers. Perhaps the authorities had not made the public aware that the evacuees had spent the mandatory 14 days quarantine and there were no virus positive cases. Further, the bus was taking them to a place for further quarantine. The Ukraine authorities tried their best to quell the rumours with clarifications. But the damage had been done.
Once such a storm breaks out, damage control is both difficult and costly. In such a situation the best strategy PR must adopt is to follow the Google promoted EAT policy-the information provided must be based on expertise, it should be authoritative and trustworthy. The credibility issue become super most.
Often the investment made for monitoring the online and offline conversations among stakeholders for spotting unusual patterns would be very valuable. The value of regular monitoring of such data is boring and seems to be a waste of resources. The same is the case with the intelligence agencies that try to ferret out unusual online conversations until a few snatches lead them to a terror plot. The data and information flowing through the networks is huge and Ai assisted analytics for both reputation risk assessment and damage control do serve such purposes well.
The story of Jeff Bezos and his firm Amazon as the globe’s biggest marketplace is very familiar. Often Amazon patrons rely on consumer ratings for choosing a product and the seller. There is a less known story about Jeff Bezos. One of his associates (quoted by BBC feature recently) has said that the Amazon founder is customer obsessed. In pursuit of this obsession he founded a data company. Today the big daddies of Internet and creators of apps are all after big data about their consumers. They try various methods to entice you into their net and keep you in their net as long as possible. The personal data we share is being monetized. The trading of data almost given free is captured in books like the Surveillance Capitalism, Attention Economy. The brands and their reputation are wealth creators in this new capitalism. PR practitioners as reputation guardians have a very important role in this new economy.
Having worked in the filed for nearly 50 years-in the federal government and outside, in social and rural marketing and brand communication, it is my view that the contribution of PR as a reputation guardian is less explored and articulated. On the otherhand both the practitioners and the clients seem to emphasize the contribution PR can make in brand, image building and PR in damage control mode. While the latter aspect is subjected to different model of measurement of PR efforts and tactics, measuring the contribution of PR in reputation risk assessment and management and putting a value on it is less known. From my personal experience I can count innumerable occasions when warnings given about a brewing storm posing a risk to the reputation of the government, its leaders had gone to save the day. This was long before the arrival of the Internet and during its baby years. I am sure the distinguished participants in the Bengaluru Conclave have their bank of such stories. We hope to hear such stories where PR played the role of a guard dog. How to put a value on the rarely visible fire warning system in contrast to a fire engine is a vexing and unanswered question. This is like the highly visible investigators of a single terror attack getting all the media attention in contrast to the quiet, unrecognized sleuth who tips off about a terror plots that is foiled and not seen or reported.
The short point is that the newer technologies have opened new vistas for PR as the guard dog; they also have increased the vulnerability of brands and their reputation by subjecting them to unprecedented scrutiny. The Mapping of the risk profile of the brand by leveraging the evolving digital technology has become a priority.
PR Beyond 2020 - Rewind for Fast Forward By S NARENDRA (Former Information adviser to PM/PIO Govt of India)
Public sentiment is everything. With public sentiment, nothing can fail; without it, nothing can succeed. – Abraham Lincoln. With that being said, public relations has drastically changed over the years, but through all this, the definition has remained unchanged. Public relations, literally means to establish and maintain a positive relationship with the public by constantly communicating with them. It is all about looking after the organization’s reputation, and maintaining a good will. Successful public relations has to do with recognizing amazing ideas and how much value they hold. In order for businesses or brands to generate good press, they have to come up with fresh new concepts on a regular basis to launch their products and build up hype among the public for the same. Many analyses that have been conducted have shown that raw ideas of high quality have generated and increased sales. Moreover, people who are good at coming up with PR ideas aren’t just naturally creative, but they are on the constant run of analyzing the media. They look out for the current trends in the media, and try to make connections with them. Public Relation professionals are said to be naturally creative and effective communicators. They are well versed with the ongoing media affairs and the trending digital culture. Being in the public relations department is all about the chaos; the constant effort to maintain your organization’s image as a whole, to manage crisis on a bad news day, to spend time writing press releases, and so much more. To call public relations a mundane job would be very harsh, unless you’ve been forced to choose it as your career; if you are someone who enjoys working in the PR department, it definitely isn’t a routine job, because you don’t know what to expect out of those press releases, or maintaining the public image of the organization, you have to be prepared for anything and everything that the media throws at you. You have to be on your toes all the time, because unexpected things happen anytime. However, at times it can get quite tiresome and hectic, and lead to increasing rates of attrition. To mitigate attrition, firstly you need to find a balance with compensations. Every office has their own set of uniqueness. Different group of employees expect different benefits. Hence, some would prefer professional development training, while there are others who want networking opportunities. Focusing on the benefits that actually empower your employees quality of life will help in boosting the employees’ morale to work harder. Secondly, the next best option is to ask your employees what will keep them happy and loyal to the organization. It’s always good to arrange a formal or informal discussion with your employees, so that they can share their set of problems in a more individual setting. Looking for people who are fit for the role of handling public relations is quite a task, although it is to be noted that there definitely isn’t a shortage of talent in India, because many talented individuals tend to get neglected due to the lack of awareness and knowledge in regards with the scope and existence of PR as a career option, and not forgetting the taboo of working as a PR professional. The rise in the number of mass media colleges in India – Mumbai Metropolitan region alone has 100 plus institutions - is a positive sign as they are trying to incorporate new programs, such as interning at agencies in different cities, having a study tour abroad and attending workshops with international faculty; hence many talented individuals now get a platform to hone their skills and gain knowledge which was not the scene when we entered this profession almost three decades back. All in all, public relations is something that needs to be dealt with utmost care, because the goodwill and the public image of the organization is at stake in the hands of the PR professionals. (The author is Additional General Manager -corporate communication- at NTPC Ltd)
PR, a mundane job? By Ravindran.K
In India, agriculture is not just an ancient mother occupation but the basis of modern business and market prosperity. It has also been the foundation on which PSA or public service communication in the fields of Health, mother and child care, and others developed. The Grow More Food campaign begun in the early years of independence required the refashioning of the war time ‘publicity and propaganda ‘machinery like the radio, documentary film division, PIB into development communication vehicles. Understanding the importance of face to face communication with farmers and the rural people, the five year plan publicity directorate was started in the I&B ministry. The ‘Takkavi loan movement (though it became notorious for misuse, later), for minor irrigation and the need for transferring farm technology from lab to land, the early demonstration farms, the training and visits scheme for farmers became part of the Farm Extension units of the agriculture departments. The 1960s witnessed some of the worst droughts leading to enormous food shortages. The country became heavily dependent upon concessional food aid from the US. It was the period of ‘ship -to -mouth’, meaning the food supply to ration shops was dependent upon the arrival of food shipments at ports. The development of agriculture became the top political and economic priority for two reasons. The political communication of the times, like prime minister Lal Bahadur Shastri’s famous slogan: ‘grow two grains where one grew before’ resonated with the message of high yielding varieties of wheat, rice and other crops. In order to gain political endorsement of these high yielding varieties, the then agriculture, food, irrigation, community development, cooperation minister C. Subramaniam converted the enormous lawns of his Delhi ministerial bungalow for growing the high yielding variety of wheat, developed by Norman Borlaugh. He would invite legislators to this urban wheat farm demonstrate its effectiveness. I was lucky to have been with the agriculture ministry in those days as the assistant campaign officer, later posted to Bihar to work as the communication officer of the Bihar Famine Relief Committee headed by Jayapraksh Narain. The river Kosi command area development in north Bihar had registered its green revolution way back in 1967-68, in the same way the irrigated areas of undivided Punjab had recorded. Posted to Karnataka in early 1970s, I was made a member of the state government’s team implementing the new schemes for small farmers,dry land development, Dairy, and other so-called subsidiary occupations, as part of prime minister Indira Gandhi’s anti-poverty programmes. At first hand I was able to observe the lab to land public service communication as a communicator participant. The radio AIR played a stellar role in the green revolution saga. Driven by the commitment of a senior AIR official Krishnamurthy and the farm extension units personnel, the Radio Rural Forums were set up in most in strategic rural areas. The farmers were encouraged to gather around the radio beaming farming related programmes in which real farmers exchanged their experience and sought answers from agri experts for their queries. The AIR farm units Outside Broadcast (OB) team would go out to record the discussions taking place among the farmers groups and selectively rebroadcast them for the benefit of RRForums. The era also saw a radio revolution as the government subsidised the sale of medium wave transistor sets for Rs 70 or less, becoming really a mass media. The effectiveness of RRFs was such that when the farmers in south India grew a high yielding variety of rice, applied chemical fertilisers, pesticides as per the advice coming though the Radio, they called the rice variety as Radio Rice. The concurrent communication research that went with this movement was very impactful. In fact, the name of American academic Prof. Everett Rogers is worth mentioning here. It was his research among farmers in US that gave us the phrase ‘early Innovators’ or early adopters of new technology who help in the spread of new practices that go to change social norms. This research was widely used in designing health related communication. In fact, he came to India and personally conducted research in ‘social marketing’ of family planning methods including the use of condoms. There is an urgent need for the communication lessons learnt in achieving food self sufficiency (now we are significant exporters rice and wheat) in India should be reactivated and brought into play now for assisting the farmers for coping with the challenges of climate change. The farmers are required to adjust to climate change from season to season; drought prone areas are getting wet, while wet areas are going dry. The hot, dry days in a year are increasing raising the risk factors for farmers. The farm technologies that are being developed for dealing with freak weather have to reach the farmer more promptly. (The author is a former Govt of India spokesperson and ex-adviser to PMs)
Communication for Agriculture. By S NARENDRA