In 2014, Indian PR Forum (IPRF), did the first tweet chat with the hashtag #PR4PR, which received a massive response from industry colleagues. But we were wrong, PR is effective when the message is propagated externally. However the term ‘PR for PR’ continued to get discussed in various industry forums and seminars by multiple industry leaders, but again something was missing. The PR for PR was primarily happening within the PR fraternity and was rarely reaching the external stakeholders.
In most companies, corporate communications is not an independent function and are part of the overall marketing team. Corporate communications heads report to the marketing heads, barring few large corporates where communications is an independent function with the self-sufficient team.
Hence for us, the external audience will be marketing heads and CXOs for business; and graduate students for talent. While most have heard of public relations, corporate communications etc., they are not really aware of the working of the function in its true sense and the benefits it brings to the organization.
Marketing heads and CXOs enter the corporate world after completing their post-graduation either from business schools or from the engineering streams. In marketing courses, there is not more than one lecture on public relations and none in the rest of the streams. This is one of the primary reasons, corporate communicators and the consultancy side professionals are subjected to fulfil unreasonable expectations from their reporting bosses. Not their fault, because our world is not that easy for outsiders to understand, they don’t know what is possible and what is out of our reach.
On the talent end, currently, the sourcing happens through multiple institutes based across India and lateral hiring from the media sector. However, if we need to up our game then we need a mix of talent from multiple streams and students from non-mass-communications courses, who have no idea how PR works and its position in the corporate world.
We will have to collectively do this as an industry and reach out to the right set of external stakeholders, explaining the worth of public relations in meeting the business objectives of any institution. We will have to work with higher education authorities to make corporate communication as an important element of the marketing mix. Industry leaders can talk at various b-school and share live cases. Increase engagement with the CXO community and work along with them to shape the future of the industry.
We all agree to the fact that the industry needs to do its own PR when the term public relations is loosely used in unrelated events. We get agitated for some time and get back to work as we do with any disturbing social events. If we desire change, we need to act, we will have to start the process of doing PR for PR.
Just for a refresh, please have a look at the infographic of the tweet-chat we had done in 2014, check the list of top tweeters, these are the same guys who are still active and pushing the industry towards brighter tomorrow.