The Public Relations practice in India, is a very unclear term. For most people, PR means the entity who will ‘get’ your name mentioned in the media, ‘get’ you that publicity, ‘get’ you that exposure. It is as crass as it sounds.
The function of a Public Relations Practitioner goes much beyond what the above definition entails. I’ve often been frustrated at the limited definition/understanding of PR in India. There are a handful of people outside the industry who understand the frustrations and the tribulations of a PR Specialist. But that’s only fair. I do not entirely understand what a draughtsman’s job entails.
A PR practitioner is responsible for building your brand. We are sort of like doctors. We can tell you what is good and what is bad for you. But what you do with it once you are out of the doctor’s office is entirely up to you.
Many brands with great potential have suffered simply because they refused to listen to their PR partner [I have had a few adamant people who came across like they knew better!] I say partner, and I cannot emphasize this enough, they are not one of your vendor! Entities who refused to view their PR Consultants as their partner and viewed them as someone who executes a pre-written, perhaps outdated plan, one which has been recycled over and over and over, each time with a dose of the usual primary spices which make them taste a bit different.
A PR practitioner is most in touch with the current trends, simply because they are in touch with the people who are writing about the current trends, perhaps even creating the trends. They are in touch with the various segments and know what is upcoming and what is done within the market. And since they know your brand, they are also aware of what the best way to position you, close to your aspirations.
A PR person must be a partner to your brand, not just a consultant and definitely not a coverage-generating machine. The dossier at the end of the month might indicate an ROI to a multiplier of hundreds, but much of the benefits out of a PR exercise are INTANGIBLE.
Your first brand ambassador is the PR. The second brand ambassador is the media. Believe it or not, your own employees come next! Even if a reporter is not writing about you, if they know of you in a good way (and sometimes bad), they are talking about you. They will remember you in all relevant situations. A reporter’s job and a PR practitioner’s job never ends. It runs around the clock. They inhale your vision like you have and carry it with them everywhere they go. Which is why they know where you stand and where you need to stand and how to get there.
At least a good PR person does. (See how we say PR person.. Would you say a techie person? Or a Medical Person? Testament to the point above!)
Often, reality intervenes and you might not always be able to execute everything you would like to. In those situations, we try to figure out the best workarounds, as your PR partners.
The first change we wish in the PR scene in India is the way the PR Consultant is perceived – as a PR partner to your vision and not just as an executioner(sic).
About The Author:
Roshan Mohan is the Founder-Director of Pepper Interactive Communications, fondly known as Pepper PR. He has 12 years of experience in the field of communications, event management and corporate
training / team building and has worked with several top brands across sectors in India.