PR Next

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Archive for July, 2009

PR Next July 2009 Issue

Posted by prnext on July 20, 2009

elcome back, my sincere apologies for the delay in bringing out this issue. Again we have some thing new to share with you this month. Thanks to the Cannes PR Lions awards, we have got a good collection of case-studies on some of the best PR campaigns in the world, which we would be featuring one every month. We have also started a section on understanding specialized PR functions, like technology, lifestyle, healthcare etc., This month we are featuring Technology Practice, authored by Donica Trivedi.
Our regulars include an interview with Arcopol Chaudhuri, an ex journalist on his shift to PR by Poornima Iyer, In our section, Meet the Media, Sumantika Choudhary brings to us an exclusive interview with Sourina Bose, Asst. Producer, Tara Newz. Richa Seth helps us to solve the ROI mystery, while Anuradha Kelkar explains the importance of CEO writing his own blog.
Last month, we had started a section on Account Wins, but unfortunately, inspite of having so many agency folks in our forum, none informed us about the wins within their own agency. Guys please support, this is an industry forum, without each one of us contributing, this initiative will not last long.
I intend to start two new sections, but only if people come forward to volunteer for the task. One is Hot Seat (Profiling of CEOs of top PR Agencies) and the other on Corp Comm. (Interview of a Corp Comm Head of a reputed company). Both the interviews will be in a narrative format. If any one would like to volunteer to own the section please mail me at pr.vikram@gmail.com

Welcome back, my sincere apologies for the delay in bringing out this issue. Again we have some thing new to share with you this month. Thanks to the Cannes PR Lions awards, we have got a good collection of case-studies on some of the best PR campaigns in the world, which we would be featuring one every month. We have also started a section on understanding specialized PR functions, like technology, lifestyle, healthcare etc., This month we are featuring Technology Practice, authored by Donica Trivedi.

Our regulars include an interview with Arcopol Chaudhuri, an ex journalist on his shift to PR by Poornima Iyer, In our section, Meet the Media, Sumantika Choudhary brings to us an exclusive interview with Sourina Bose, Asst. Producer, Tara Newz. Richa Seth helps us to solve the ROI mystery, while Anuradha Kelkar explains the importance of CEO writing his own blog.

Last month, we had started a section on Account Wins, but unfortunately, inspite of having so many agency folks in our forum, none informed us about the wins within their own agency. Guys please support, this is an industry forum, without each one of us contributing, this initiative will not last long.

I intend to start two new sections, but only if people come forward to volunteer for the task. One is Hot Seat (Profiling of CEOs of top PR Agencies) and the other on Corp Comm. (Interview of a Corp Comm Head of a reputed company). Both the interviews will be in a narrative format. If any one would like to volunteer to own the section please mail me at pr.vikram@gmail.com

Download pdf: PR Next July 2009 c

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Posted in July 2009 | Leave a Comment »

Technology PR – A Different Animal?

Posted by prnext on July 20, 2009

Like their computer programmer and engineer counterparts, Tech PR specialists command big bucks in remuneration. What is there about this segment of our discipline? Is it a whole new ball game? Or do traditional skills still apply? Donica Trivedi gives some insight.

“I can’t take it. It is so damn difficult and confusing”, is a common feeling shared by majority of the newcomers in the technology practice of PR. At times it does become difficult when it’s a jump from lifestyle/celebrity PR or any other specialization to technology PR. Obviously it involves a risk, which clients and journalists confirm it by asking and expecting you to know anything and everything about TECHNOLOGY.
Speaking to these intellectual (pun intended) journalists often sends shivers down the spine. An executive who’s only heard of  desktop, keyboard, Microsoft office, Google etc in technology is left confused and feeling foolish with words like routers, servers, desktop management, search engine marketing etc. This alien language will make one look out for a dictionary to check for the correct spelling followed by meaning of the word and then its applications.
Often the biggest problem newcomers’ face is that the moment they try and understands what cloud computing is there’s a new term everybody’s talking about: cloud management. You take efforts to understand infrastructure management space when suddenly the client starts talking about application management. (phewww! Often remembering these terms are more difficult then their businesses).
As per my conversation with experienced people in the technology industry, earlier majority of IT companies that went for PR agencies or in house PR executives were listed. These companies either spoke about their financials or products which hardly made any sense to the common man’s reading. News about these companies made sense to only techies or people tracing these companies.
Thus IT in its nascent stage was not vastly covered or at least it did not have specialised supplements and pages as it does today.  Also one notable change noticed is that PR executives at junior level today are well informed in terms of the industry and their clients in specific. Earlier PR was more of exchanging information/news with journalists; today it is more of communicating the right and required information not just to the journalists but also to the analysts and business partners/alliances.
The merits of technology PR is that it teaches you a lot about the industry and its functioning as a whole. The only demerit as per my knowledge is that one needs to keep oneself constantly updated on the constant innovations in the industry as with every passing day the existing technology seems to become obsolete.
Technology PR has similar way of functioning like any other sector except for the fact that here one needs to learn the tech terms along with the forthcoming terminologies. The “FUD factor” – fear, uncertainty, and doubt – is very high in the IT world. The reason? While low tech products may witness slowly evolving innovations, high tech minds bring radically new products into the marketplace. As a result, tech products are frequently launched – and launched quickly – in uncharted territory.
PR pros should not write their press releases or media notes, with a technically savvy boss in mind, but to speak to the level of the audience they need to reach. The techsters and public relations people share many common goals. But they also have different approaches. While techies believe in massive information dumps, PR pros strive to communicate with a message in mind.
Most press releases sent out by tech PR pros are always heavy on the jargon, making them perfect for the CEO, but useless to the media. My advice is, if you can’t contribute, don’t distribute. But does that mean, “You have to be a technology expert? No. However, you have to know what you’re talking about.”
Despite the disparities, some things remain constant for public relations practitioners no matter the industry. But remember always “basics come first.” PR pros in tech practice or an agency or working for any technology companies, like their colleagues in other industries, need to be in the room when decisions are made and fulfill their long-held role to “serve as devil’s advocate.”
In a nutshell, performing the public relations function for technology companies is different in the areas of time and words. Still, PR pros must not neglect their basic roots, and apply basic PR skills to whatever industry they represent.

“I can’t take it. It is so damn difficult and confusing”, is a common feeling shared by majority of the newcomers in the technology practice of PR. At times it does become difficult when it’s a jump from lifestyle/celebrity PR or any other specialization to technology PR. Obviously it involves a risk, which clients and journalists confirm it by asking and expecting you to know anything and everything about TECHNOLOGY.

Speaking to these intellectual (pun intended) journalists often sends shivers down the spine. An executive who’s only heard of  desktop, keyboard, Microsoft office, Google etc in technology is left confused and feeling foolish with words like routers, servers, desktop management, search engine marketing etc. This alien language will make one look out for a dictionary to check for the correct spelling followed by meaning of the word and then its applications.

Often the biggest problem newcomers’ face is that the moment they try and understands what cloud computing is there’s a new term everybody’s talking about: cloud management. You take efforts to understand infrastructure management space when suddenly the client starts talking about application management. (phewww! Often remembering these terms are more difficult then their businesses).

As per my conversation with experienced people in the technology industry, earlier majority of IT companies that went for PR agencies or in house PR executives were listed. These companies either spoke about their financials or products which hardly made any sense to the common man’s reading. News about these companies made sense to only techies or people tracing these companies.

Thus IT in its nascent stage was not vastly covered or at least it did not have specialised supplements and pages as it does today.  Also one notable change noticed is that PR executives at junior level today are well informed in terms of the industry and their clients in specific. Earlier PR was more of exchanging information/news with journalists; today it is more of communicating the right and required information not just to the journalists but also to the analysts and business partners/alliances.

The merits of technology PR is that it teaches you a lot about the industry and its functioning as a whole. The only demerit as per my knowledge is that one needs to keep oneself constantly updated on the constant innovations in the industry as with every passing day the existing technology seems to become obsolete.

Technology PR has similar way of functioning like any other sector except for the fact that here one needs to learn the tech terms along with the forthcoming terminologies. The “FUD factor” – fear, uncertainty, and doubt – is very high in the IT world. The reason? While low tech products may witness slowly evolving innovations, high tech minds bring radically new products into the marketplace. As a result, tech products are frequently launched – and launched quickly – in uncharted territory.

PR pros should not write their press releases or media notes, with a technically savvy boss in mind, but to speak to the level of the audience they need to reach. The techsters and public relations people share many common goals. But they also have different approaches. While techies believe in massive information dumps, PR pros strive to communicate with a message in mind.

Most press releases sent out by tech PR pros are always heavy on the jargon, making them perfect for the CEO, but useless to the media. My advice is, if you can’t contribute, don’t distribute. But does that mean, “You have to be a technology expert? No. However, you have to know what you’re talking about.”

Despite the disparities, some things remain constant for public relations practitioners no matter the industry. But remember always “basics come first.” PR pros in tech practice or an agency or working for any technology companies, like their colleagues in other industries, need to be in the room when decisions are made and fulfill their long-held role to “serve as devil’s advocate.”

In a nutshell, performing the public relations function for technology companies is different in the areas of time and words. Still, PR pros must not neglect their basic roots, and apply basic PR skills to whatever industry they represent.

Posted in Sector Talk | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Case Study – ‘Best job in the world’ campaign winner of the inaugural PR award at Cannes 2009

Posted by prnext on July 20, 2009

Challenge:
Tourism Queensland of Australia, required an innovative and truly global campaign to raise the awareness of the Islands of the Great Barrier Reef and reflect the brand’s positioning concept  ‘Life Above’.
Objectives:
The agency (MS & L) had to reach ‘Global Experience Seekers’ on a mass scale, drive them to a branded website and expose them to the unique beauty and experiences available on the Islands of the Great Barrier Reef.
Brief Given:
Awareness objectives were to be measured by achieving global news coverage, web traffic, and reaching a goal of 14,000 video applications across 8 key international markets. The target audience was defined as ‘Global Experience Seekers’. These people were primarily targeted across key markets that have a higher propensity to travel to Australia  UK, USA, Europe, Japan, New Zealand, India, China, Korea. Existing research from Tourism Queensland and Tourism Australia, plus learning from key international markets, informed the definition of the target audience and the strategy of how to reach them.
The Situation:
The Best Job in the World’ campaign was created for Tourism Queensland, a government industry body designed to promote Queensland as a tourist destination throughout the world. When tourists plan an island holiday, destinations such as Hawaii, the Maldives and the Caribbean Islands immediately spring to mind. Although the Great Barrier Reef is a world-heritage listed natural wonder, the islands of the region are relatively unknown.
With a budget of $US1.2M to execute a global marketing campaign, there was need to create something newsworthy around the brand and rely on free mass-media coverage and social media to achieve our goals.
The Strategy and Execution:
The communications strategy was quite different from a traditional tourism campaign. The agency created ‘the Best Job in the World’ and opened applications to anyone anywhere around the world. The best thing about the generously-paid position was its location, the Islands of the Great Barrier Reef. Classified ads, job listings and small banner ads were strategically placed in key markets. Each market was provided with media releases, story lines, photography and access to core destination footage. Additionally, each market developed local ideas and media opportunities. The project scope incorporated set stages for further PR and media opportunities throughout the 12-month campaign. For example, the release of a short-list of 50 applicants provided the opportunity to drive greater awareness and exposure through targeted media releases. For each of these stages, content was planned and then adapted to suit each market and the actual project outcomes at the time.
Outcome:
No single tourism campaign (and potentially no single campaign) has ever had such a significant global reach across the spectrum of media and generated such a high volume and highly impassioned response from consumers. Global news coverage included CNN stories, BBC documentaries, TIME magazine articles and everything in between. Media coverage has been estimated at over $US100M from a campaign budget of $US1.2M.
34,684 applicants from 201 countries created 610 hours of video content which passionately promoted Tourism Queensland’s product.
– Over 450,000 votes for the Wild Card applicant.
– In 56 days islandreefjob.com had 6,849,504 visits, 47,548,514 page views with an average of 8.62 minutes spent on the site.
– A Google search for “best job in the world island” achieves about 52,500,000 listings, 231,355 blogs and 4,360 news stories.

Challenge:

Tourism Queensland of Australia, required an innovative and truly global campaign to raise the awareness of the Islands of the Great Barrier Reef and reflect the brand’s positioning concept  ‘Life Above’.

Objectives:

The agency (MS & L) had to reach ‘Global Experience Seekers’ on a mass scale, drive them to a branded website and expose them to the unique beauty and experiences available on the Islands of the Great Barrier Reef.

Brief Given:

Awareness objectives were to be measured by achieving global news coverage, web traffic, and reaching a goal of 14,000 video applications across 8 key international markets. The target audience was defined as ‘Global Experience Seekers’. These people were primarily targeted across key markets that have a higher propensity to travel to Australia  UK, USA, Europe, Japan, New Zealand, India, China, Korea. Existing research from Tourism Queensland and Tourism Australia, plus learning from key international markets, informed the definition of the target audience and the strategy of how to reach them.

The Situation:

The Best Job in the World’ campaign was created for Tourism Queensland, a government industry body designed to promote Queensland as a tourist destination throughout the world. When tourists plan an island holiday, destinations such as Hawaii, the Maldives and the Caribbean Islands immediately spring to mind. Although the Great Barrier Reef is a world-heritage listed natural wonder, the islands of the region are relatively unknown.

With a budget of $US1.2M to execute a global marketing campaign, there was need to create something newsworthy around the brand and rely on free mass-media coverage and social media to achieve our goals.

The Strategy and Execution:

The communications strategy was quite different from a traditional tourism campaign. The agency created ‘the Best Job in the World’ and opened applications to anyone anywhere around the world. The best thing about the generously-paid position was its location, the Islands of the Great Barrier Reef. Classified ads, job listings and small banner ads were strategically placed in key markets. Each market was provided with media releases, story lines, photography and access to core destination footage. Additionally, each market developed local ideas and media opportunities. The project scope incorporated set stages for further PR and media opportunities throughout the 12-month campaign. For example, the release of a short-list of 50 applicants provided the opportunity to drive greater awareness and exposure through targeted media releases. For each of these stages, content was planned and then adapted to suit each market and the actual project outcomes at the time.

Outcome:

No single tourism campaign (and potentially no single campaign) has ever had such a significant global reach across the spectrum of media and generated such a high volume and highly impassioned response from consumers. Global news coverage included CNN stories, BBC documentaries, TIME magazine articles and everything in between. Media coverage has been estimated at over $US100M from a campaign budget of $US1.2M.

34,684 applicants from 201 countries created 610 hours of video content which passionately promoted Tourism Queensland’s product.

– Over 450,000 votes for the Wild Card applicant.

– In 56 days islandreefjob.com had 6,849,504 visits, 47,548,514 page views with an average of 8.62 minutes spent on the site.

– A Google search for “best job in the world island” achieves about 52,500,000 listings, 231,355 blogs and 4,360 news stories.

Posted in Case Study | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

The CEO Diaries

Posted by prnext on July 20, 2009

s I write this article, I recall something my favourite professor told me back at college. He said, every company out there making truckloads of money and appearing irresistibly out of reach was started by someone who had a dream… and the guts to make that dream come true. He said that each company has an identity just like any of us.  It holds true certain values and beliefs and certain goals that it wants to achieve. It has a look, a feel and something by which people identify it. Each company has a story to tell. This story can either go unheard because nobody decides to tell it or it can go down in history as one of the finest examples of how to run a business.  So who do you think should be made responsible for this? Damn right, the CEO.
The point I’m trying to make here is that CEOs of all companies should have blogs of their own. Let me give you an example. The moment you say the word ‘Apple’ visions of a bitten apple, sleek white products and i-pods come to mind. But how many of us know the connection between the Apple logo and the Bible? Or the fact that I-pods are actually a creation of regular Internet users like you and me who wished to carry their music with them?  These little secrets actually form the core of what the company stands for and can best be shared by the CEO.
A CEOs blog reveals his thought process and the rationale behind making decisions that have probably helped change the face of technology forever. Also, in an age where rumours can quickly spread and tarnish the reputation of a company in hours, a strong word straight from the horse’s mouth can quickly help dispel all rumours. Usually the CEO is seen as someone out of reach, someone who can only be spoken to in case of terribly urgent work. A blog can be a great way of exposing a more informal, personal side that will endear the leader to the employees and make them believe that they can have a conversation with him.
So what should a CEOs blog consist of? As an employee who still has a long way to go before reaching the CEO’s inner circle, I would enjoy it if my boss had a blog on which he shared his personal, unbiased insights on the business he is running, the competition he fears and his next big project. I would love to know about the mistakes, big goof ups he committed and what he learnt from them. Sharing personal information like the books he likes to read and the music he listens to would help give great insights into the kind of person he is.
I would like to see a list of the blogs he reads and follows regularly because obviously, if something is good enough to impress him, it must be pretty great. I would like to be able to respond to his posts and articles without having a moderator to block my comments. The CEO’s blog must share useful links and photos, as that definitely piques the readers interest. A bonus point would be if a personal hobby is shared as well. This lets us readers know that there is more to the CEO than just work.
Having said this, it’s a fact that CEOs, especially of Indian companies do not have a significant presence on the social media. Narayana Murthy, Anil Ambani, Adi Godrej or even people like ManMohan Singh and APJ Abdul Kalam have a vast amount of experience and expertise which would be great to know about should they decide to share it. A lot of challenges faced by people like Murthy or Kalam are unique and probably difficult for us to imagine in today’s world. There is a lot about the Indian way of doing business that is peculiar and interesting to observe especially for the outsider. If such experience is documented online regularly a billion people over the world will get an insight into some of this county’s greatest minds. So perhaps its time for our CEO’s to take a serious look at blogging and present a more savvy, tech friendly and personal picture of corporate India to the world.

As I write this article, I recall something my favourite professor told me back at college. He said, every company out there making truckloads of money and appearing irresistibly out of reach was started by someone who had a dream… and the guts to make that dream come true. He said that each company has an identity just like any of us.  It holds true certain values and beliefs and certain goals that it wants to achieve. It has a look, a feel and something by which people identify it. Each company has a story to tell. This story can either go unheard because nobody decides to tell it or it can go down in history as one of the finest examples of how to run a business.  So who do you think should be made responsible for this? Damn right, the CEO.

The point I’m trying to make here is that CEOs of all companies should have blogs of their own. Let me give you an example. The moment you say the word ‘Apple’ visions of a bitten apple, sleek white products and i-pods come to mind. But how many of us know the connection between the Apple logo and the Bible? Or the fact that I-pods are actually a creation of regular Internet users like you and me who wished to carry their music with them? These little secrets actually form the core of what the company stands for and can best be shared by the CEO.

A CEOs blog reveals his thought process and the rationale behind making decisions that have probably helped change the face of technology forever. Also, in an age where rumours can quickly spread and tarnish the reputation of a company in hours, a strong word straight from the horse’s mouth can quickly help dispel all rumours. Usually the CEO is seen as someone out of reach, someone who can only be spoken to in case of terribly urgent work. A blog can be a great way of exposing a more informal, personal side that will endear the leader to the employees and make them believe that they can have a conversation with him.

So what should a CEOs blog consist of? As an employee who still has a long way to go before reaching the CEO’s inner circle, I would enjoy it if my boss had a blog on which he shared his personal, unbiased insights on the business he is running, the competition he fears and his next big project. I would love to know about the mistakes, big goof ups he committed and what he learnt from them. Sharing personal information like the books he likes to read and the music he listens to would help give great insights into the kind of person he is.

I would like to see a list of the blogs he reads and follows regularly because obviously, if something is good enough to impress him, it must be pretty great. I would like to be able to respond to his posts and articles without having a moderator to block my comments. The CEO’s blog must share useful links and photos, as that definitely piques the readers interest. A bonus point would be if a personal hobby is shared as well. This lets us readers know that there is more to the CEO than just work.

Having said this, it’s a fact that CEOs, especially of Indian companies do not have a significant presence on the social media. Narayana Murthy, Anil Ambani, Adi Godrej or even people like ManMohan Singh and APJ Abdul Kalam have a vast amount of experience and expertise which would be great to know about should they decide to share it. A lot of challenges faced by people like Murthy or Kalam are unique and probably difficult for us to imagine in today’s world. There is a lot about the Indian way of doing business that is peculiar and interesting to observe especially for the outsider. If such experience is documented online regularly a billion people over the world will get an insight into some of this county’s greatest minds. So perhaps its time for our CEO’s to take a serious look at blogging and present a more savvy, tech friendly and personal picture of corporate India to the world.

Posted in Tech-A-Byte | Leave a Comment »

Measuring your efforts

Posted by prnext on July 20, 2009

hile I was pondering over what I could possibly write for the forthcoming issue of PR Next, a colleague recently raised the issue of “ROI.” That’s not a nouveau way of spelling “Roy,” but “Return on Investment.” It’s a particularly sticky wicket for us folks in public relations because, as Vikram had brought it out in his last article, public relations is plagued by a lack of respect that finds its roots in (1) the fact that you don’t need a license to practice PR, (2) PR’s poor and often inaccurate depiction in mass media/TV/movies and (3) nobody knows quite what PR is (A press release? Phone sales? An abbreviation for Puerto Rico?)
Depending upon the corporate culture your typical PR professional finds him/herself, trying to prove the value of public relations can be a challenge. There are those who try to equate PR to advertising as in measuring off the column inches of a story placed in a newspaper or magazine, or measuring the time of a TV news segment, then determining the equivalent cost if it were a paid advertising spot and saying, “This story would have cost you Rs. 5,00,000 if it were an ad,” you get the idea.
There are a myriad of problems with this approach. One, you can’t control editorial content like you can in an ad, so if you get a story placed for a client, is the ENTIRE story just about your client? There can be just a small mention or simply a quote in a 400 CC article. And what if what is said isn’t all that complimentary?
I took these questions to a noted industry veteran, who said that determining ROI should not be something that the PR person contemplates after completing the promotional campaign, getting the news story placed, etc. ROI should be predicated upon what your initial goals were for your client in the first place, as the strategy and tactics you implement should be tailored to support those objectives so that ROI is actually something pretty easy to measure, not something that involves either algorithms or advanced theory to work.
For example, perhaps you’ve secured a story about your client on the front page of The Economic Times. If your client’s goal for this effort was to increase their marketshare by 50%, chances are this single placement isn’t going to do it. However, if the client’s goal was to simply “raise our profile,” then getting this placement (and following up by securing reprints which could then be shared with the customers, supporters and other key target publics) would seem an appropriate step in the right direction.
He also mentioned that the other thing to keep in mind is that public relations are NOT just media relations. Sometimes it’s a counseling function that might involve working with Human Resources, Risk Management, Sales, etc., about sensitive issues that could have an enormous bearing on the image and profitability of your client organization. This sort of work is often not given the credit it is deserves because it often doesn’t result in anything immediately tangible. In other words, if you are teaching someone to drive and you point out a pothole so the driver misses it, well…nothing happened, did it? Your client is still driving and expected to be doing just that. Of course, if you DIDN’T point out the pothole and now your client has a broken mudguard, that’s a “return on investment”, you do NOT want.
I wonder if it is so easy to understand as he explained it to me and more importantly to implement, though I personally agree that going forward we will have to align our activities with clients’ business goals in-order to deliver results that makes a real impact on the bottom line of the company.
To sum it up, I feel the best way to determine your value as a PR practitioner is going to depend on how much RESEARCH (the foundation of good PR) you did in preparing your PR campaign to isolate measurable, perceptible, agreed-upon-with-the-client goals and objectives so you can say, yes, we were successful, we did achieve what our client wanted.
What’s your view… Do let me know on richa.seth30@gmail.com

While I was pondering over what I could possibly write for the forthcoming issue of PR Next, a colleague recently raised the issue of “ROI.” That’s not a nouveau way of spelling “Roy,” but “Return on Investment.” It’s a particularly sticky wicket for us folks in public relations because, as Vikram had brought it out in his last article, public relations is plagued by a lack of respect that finds its roots in

(1) the fact that you don’t need a license to practice PR,

(2) PR’s poor and often inaccurate depiction in mass media/TV/movies and

(3) nobody knows quite what PR is (A press release? Phone sales? An abbreviation for Puerto Rico?)

Depending upon the corporate culture your typical PR professional finds him/herself, trying to prove the value of public relations can be a challenge. There are those who try to equate PR to advertising as in measuring off the column inches of a story placed in a newspaper or magazine, or measuring the time of a TV news segment, then determining the equivalent cost if it were a paid advertising spot and saying, “This story would have cost you Rs. 5,00,000 if it were an ad,” you get the idea.

There are a myriad of problems with this approach. One, you can’t control editorial content like you can in an ad, so if you get a story placed for a client, is the ENTIRE story just about your client? There can be just a small mention or simply a quote in a 400 CC article. And what if what is said isn’t all that complimentary?

I took these questions to a noted industry veteran, who said that determining ROI should not be something that the PR person contemplates after completing the promotional campaign, getting the news story placed, etc. ROI should be predicated upon what your initial goals were for your client in the first place, as the strategy and tactics you implement should be tailored to support those objectives so that ROI is actually something pretty easy to measure, not something that involves either algorithms or advanced theory to work.

For example, perhaps you’ve secured a story about your client on the front page of The Economic Times. If your client’s goal for this effort was to increase their marketshare by 50%, chances are this single placement isn’t going to do it. However, if the client’s goal was to simply “raise our profile,” then getting this placement (and following up by securing reprints which could then be shared with the customers, supporters and other key target publics) would seem an appropriate step in the right direction.

He also mentioned that the other thing to keep in mind is that public relations are NOT just media relations. Sometimes it’s a counseling function that might involve working with Human Resources, Risk Management, Sales, etc., about sensitive issues that could have an enormous bearing on the image and profitability of your client organization. This sort of work is often not given the credit it is deserves because it often doesn’t result in anything immediately tangible. In other words, if you are teaching someone to drive and you point out a pothole so the driver misses it, well…nothing happened, did it? Your client is still driving and expected to be doing just that. Of course, if you DIDN’T point out the pothole and now your client has a broken mudguard, that’s a “return on investment”, you do NOT want.

I wonder if it is so easy to understand as he explained it to me and more importantly to implement, though I personally agree that going forward we will have to align our activities with clients’ business goals in-order to deliver results that makes a real impact on the bottom line of the company.

To sum it up, I feel the best way to determine your value as a PR practitioner is going to depend on how much RESEARCH (the foundation of good PR) you did in preparing your PR campaign to isolate measurable, perceptible, agreed-upon-with-the-client goals and objectives so you can say, yes, we were successful, we did achieve what our client wanted.

What’s your view… Do let me know on richa.seth30@gmail.com

Posted in My Space | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Meet the Media – Sourina Bose, Tara Newz

Posted by prnext on July 20, 2009

Sumantika Choudhary, in an exclusive interview with Sourina Bose,
Asst. Producer, TARA NEWZ explores a journalists’
opinion about role play of PR in journalism

Sumantika Choudhary, in an exclusive interview with Sourina Bose,  Asst. Producer, TARA NEWZ explores a journalists’  opinion about role play of PR in journalism.

How has been your experience with the PR industry?

Of-late PR is doing quite good. It is proving to be very beneficial for the media by helping us to network well with the industry and also helps us churn out good story ideas. I feel that the PR industry needs more young knowledge based individuals who can share their fresh and innovative ideas. One of the most essential requirements from the PR pros is the transparency factor, in order to keep the relationship healthy and strong.

What is it that the PR professionals need to improve on to meet journalists’ expectations and strengthen the professional bond?

It seems to me effective PR isn’t about flogging a ropey product launch. It comes from a deep understanding and mastery of the issues around the industry and business you represent and the ability to express those powerfully and honestly. And that, like good journalism, takes time.

What is your preferred method of contact? What is the best way to pitch a story to you? Email or phone?

The best way to pitch a story is to present the idea to me first over the phone and make me aware that an email will arrive shortly with the details. There needs to be a clear news angle in the release. Journalists don’t respond well to blatant attempts to ‘get a plug’. It also helps if there is a photo opportunity. Flexibility in timing as well as ideas is also favourable.

How to Follow Up a Pitch?

If your information is relevant and time sensitive, it’s okay to follow up. Particularly if you’re offering an exclusive to a journalist and need to know if they’re interested before going to plan B. In this case, it’s also fine to explain the details and your intentions, asking for a response within a reasonable time frame (24 hours is good these days). If your pitch or press release has marginal news value, forget about following up. It’s true, if the journalist is interested, they’ll call you sooner than later.

What is the most annoying thing that PR agents or other individuals do when trying to get publicity with you?

Ring to see if I received a press release after it has been sent. It’s best to ring before to tell me to expect it and then if I don’t receive it and I’m interested, I will call you.

Why do think most journalist think of PR, while considering a profession change?

I believe one always likes to try something new professionally as well personally. A journalist is well versed with the job of a PR executive and hence might want to try his hands at PR. Moreover being in the media industry for sometime a journalist also develops a good network with the other journalists. Also one of the most critical things is that being a journalist himself one would understand the kind of stories media would be interested in, hence would pitch in the same manner.

Posted in Meet the Media | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Interview with Arcopol Chaudhuri

Posted by prnext on July 20, 2009

Poornima Iyer brings to us, an exclusive interview with Arcopol Chaudhuri, an ex-journo,
who recently switched over to PR, shares is experience with the PR industry, while he was
on the other side of the table and what he expects when he has decided to change roles

Poornima Iyer brings to us, an exclusive interview with Arcopol Chaudhuri, an ex-journo,  who recently switched over to PR, shares is experience with the PR industry, while he was on the other side of the table and what he expects when he has decided to change roles

1. What was your perception about PR (industry & professionals) during your tenure as a journalist?

I started off in journalism thinking PR folks are partners in the news business. I’d reply to press releases with a ‘Thank you’. But as soon as I joined DNA, from partners most of them turned into annoying pests. Maybe because I cover business news, people were too pushy about their clients. Eventually, I found a balance in my understanding of them and made some great friends, came across awesome pitch notes and some neatly done media interactions. So my perception is, that the PR industry has merit. But only some. What’s spoiling the show is all these consultancies sprouting from every corner, who have absolutely no idea what to do with their clients, have no sense of strategy, and expect any random coverage to be equivalent to PR. Get a life!

2. Why the decision to move over to PR? does this decision bring about any change in your perception towards PR as an industry and the professionals?

1. It was never a decision to move into PR. It was more a decision to join Lintas. And it was the inclination to work on a certain clients I’d wanted to work on, for a long time.

2. My perception about PR changed slowly. We’re in interesting times, wherein information – malicious or not – is being withheld by companies in the pretext of corporate communications/PR. Therefore, its a powerful profession, wherein PR literally gets to play God, unless of course, media stumbles upon the news itself. But sure, PR makes a difference to brands in the most credible way possible, and I want to be a part of the process.

3. Any apprehensions / anxieties that you would like to share

I’ve been told that the first 2 months will be difficult settling in. I’m prepared for it. I have faith and immense respect for the organization I’m joining. My aim will be to make myself as useful as possible to the team in the shortest possible time, and improvise myself over a sustained duration.

4. What are your expectations from the new job that you look forward to take up?

I expect it to be challenging. Journalism is much more of a one-man show (at least print journalism is). PR is a thankless job, involves team-work, tests our people skills, reasoning and negotiation abilities. I expect the new job to show me how good/bad I am at all this, and help me get better.

5. Journalism must have given you a sense of freedom (getting to be expressive & critical) which PR professionals seldom get to be, how do you plan to cope with this loss of freedom to express.

I never entered journalism to be expressive / critical. So there’s no loss of freedom to express. As journalists, we’re expected to report in a fair manner. But all that’s changing now. And most business journalists would agree. The recession has blurred all lines between editorial, ad sales and marketing divisions in a newspaper. You’d be a fool to believe everything written in a newspaper today as fair reporting. Competition is driving editors crazy. I wouldn’t have wanted to be part of such propaganda while wearing the shoes of a journalist. Not what I’d set out for.

6. What are the changes you would want to bring about in the way PR agencies / advisories work? Would you make an effort to ensure that these are implemented in your new work place?

If PR firms are really serious about their clients, they’d better invest in training the folks on the account suitably. Most of the times, the person calling has zilch knowledge about the sector his client operates in, about what beats the journo covers. Account executives must read, read, read as much as they can.

Also media rounds are useless, if you don’t have an agenda. Journos want to meet PR folks waiting at the reception only if they have 1-2 story ideas to discuss. Why come all the way, just to ask, “What stories are you working on?” “Ohh…you’ve become thin!” “What’s your sun-sign?” “Kuch kar do yaar..! Client sar pe baitha hai.” I believe PR folks should restrain themselves from such things and talk sense when they are taking some journalist’s valuable time.

Posted in Interview | Tagged: , | 2 Comments »

Working with a PR Agency

Posted by prnext on July 20, 2009

oday public relations is a fundamental tool for any marketing and communication strategy. It is central to brand and corporate reputation management programmes. In the last few years, too many organizations and their CEOs have learned the hard way that reputation can be a double-edged sword that cuts both ways. The reputation alert has been sounded, and most organizations have realized that corporate reputation stands on the two legs of compliance and public relations.
Unlike in the 1990s when it took a back seat, public relations today is getting a bigger slice of advertising and marketing budgets. This is because ad media costs have sharply increased, the size of media audiences have shrunk, and there is too much advertising clutter, especially on television.
While advertising represents the top-down authority figure selling the product, public relations has historically represented two-way communications. We want to engage our audiences to talk with us to ask questions and to have their say about our products. We want to deal with the audience close up. An ideal article in a newspaper or television or cable discussion from other experts or someone from the general public with another opinion doesn’t negate the positive story, but adds another dimension. It makes the communication genuine and not a message from the town barker.…
Certainly, a skillfully written PR feature article can communicate more product information than an abbreviated 30-second TV commercial.
Thus public relations is now recognized as a legitimate component of the marketing mix. For this reason, managing the news and creating an ambient mood around a product or a company has become an essential marketing strategy.
The goal of marketing PR is not to build a mass of news clippings but to win a market share. Integrating PR with advertising can support a specific marketing objective.
What should a client do to get the most from his PR agency? Here are a few pointers that an organization should adopt in dealing with the PR agencies.
1) Let the agency get its deserved retainer.
If you haggle with your agency over retainer, editorial and events management fees, you are making a big mistake. Agencies have costs, too, and salaries of creative people are not cheap.
A client, who values the importance of corporate reputation, would volunteer to pay extra for the best professional writers and strategic communicators and allow the agency to experiment in search of more creative ways of story-telling.
2) Don’t keep threatening your agency
Many clients have the habit of scaring the agency with intimations that they are always looking for a new agency. This is counterproductive. Agency executives who are terrorized are not in the best position to produce great PR programs.
The ideal client-agency relationship should have “permanence,” and in order to achieve permanence, it must be in the minds of both client and agency from the very beginning.
3) Don’t compete with your own agency
Some company PR managers are insecure backseat drivers. They want to do the writing of news releases and feature articles themselves. Some even go ahead fix media interactions on their own without even letting the agency know. Why? Just to impress the bosses that they are as good, if not better, than the agency. They order the agency to dispatch their news releases “as is,” not aware that there are style-book procedures and limitations. When the editors don’t pick up their brainchild, they make the agency a convenient scapegoat.
The client gets best results when the corporate communications team and the agency executives work as a team. The corporate communications team should put full trust in the professional competence of the agency pros and let them be responsible for creative communications, crisis & issue management and media training.
4) Do not always find faults; but instead help finding a remedy.
Many clients shower the agency with scathing insults if there are few media attendees during a product launch, but never pat the agency on the back when deliverables are exceeded. If you find that the agency has not performed well, you should of course speak your mind, but in a diplomatic way.
5) Brief the PR agency exhaustively.
The more you acquaint your agency with your company and products, policies and procedures, the better job it will do for you.
6) Leave the agency alone to come up with a strategy for you.
PR agencies have well-experienced strategic communicators. Over the years, they have handled various crisis along with the other PR situations and have established strong working relationships with the media. Allow them to do what they are best at.

Today public relations is a fundamental tool for any marketing and communication strategy. It is central to brand and corporate reputation management programmes. In the last few years, too many organizations and their CEOs have learned the hard way that reputation can be a double-edged sword that cuts both ways. The reputation alert has been sounded, and most organizations have realized that corporate reputation stands on the two legs of compliance and public relations.

Unlike in the 1990s when it took a back seat, public relations today is getting a bigger slice of advertising and marketing budgets. This is because ad media costs have sharply increased, the size of media audiences have shrunk, and there is too much advertising clutter, especially on television.

While advertising represents the top-down authority figure selling the product, public relations has historically represented two-way communications. We want to engage our audiences to talk with us to ask questions and to have their say about our products. We want to deal with the audience close up. An ideal article in a newspaper or television or cable discussion from other experts or someone from the general public with another opinion doesn’t negate the positive story, but adds another dimension. It makes the communication genuine and not a message from the town barker.…

Certainly, a skillfully written PR feature article can communicate more product information than an abbreviated 30-second TV commercial.

Thus public relations is now recognized as a legitimate component of the marketing mix. For this reason, managing the news and creating an ambient mood around a product or a company has become an essential marketing strategy.

The goal of marketing PR is not to build a mass of news clippings but to win a market share. Integrating PR with advertising can support a specific marketing objective.

What should a client do to get the most from his PR agency? Here are a few pointers that an organization should adopt in dealing with the PR agencies.

1) Let the agency get its deserved retainer.

If you haggle with your agency over retainer, editorial and events management fees, you are making a big mistake. Agencies have costs, too, and salaries of creative people are not cheap.

A client, who values the importance of corporate reputation, would volunteer to pay extra for the best professional writers and strategic communicators and allow the agency to experiment in search of more creative ways of story-telling.

2) Don’t keep threatening your agency

Many clients have the habit of scaring the agency with intimations that they are always looking for a new agency. This is counterproductive. Agency executives who are terrorized are not in the best position to produce great PR programs.

The ideal client-agency relationship should have “permanence,” and in order to achieve permanence, it must be in the minds of both client and agency from the very beginning.

3) Don’t compete with your own agency

Some company PR managers are insecure backseat drivers. They want to do the writing of news releases and feature articles themselves. Some even go ahead fix media interactions on their own without even letting the agency know. Why? Just to impress the bosses that they are as good, if not better, than the agency. They order the agency to dispatch their news releases “as is,” not aware that there are style-book procedures and limitations. When the editors don’t pick up their brainchild, they make the agency a convenient scapegoat.

The client gets best results when the corporate communications team and the agency executives work as a team. The corporate communications team should put full trust in the professional competence of the agency pros and let them be responsible for creative communications, crisis & issue management and media training.

4) Do not always find faults; but instead help finding a remedy.

Many clients shower the agency with scathing insults if there are few media attendees during a product launch, but never pat the agency on the back when deliverables are exceeded. If you find that the agency has not performed well, you should of course speak your mind, but in a diplomatic way.

5) Brief the PR agency exhaustively.

The more you acquaint your agency with your company and products, policies and procedures, the better job it will do for you.

6) Leave the agency alone to come up with a strategy for you.

PR agencies have well-experienced strategic communicators. Over the years, they have handled various crisis along with the other PR situations and have established strong working relationships with the media. Allow them to do what they are best at.

Posted in PR Insights | Tagged: | 1 Comment »

Media Movements

Posted by prnext on July 20, 2009

Anish Gangar, has left ComputerActive and has moved to Techticherblog
Varun Aggarwal has moved from Express Computer
Arcopol Chaudhari who was handling Advertising & Marketing beat in DNA has moved to join a PR Agency
Siddharth Philip has moved from Business India
Pierre Fitter from Business World has moved to NewsX. At NewX she will cover environment, clean technology and politics.
N Shatrujeet has moved from The Economic Times
Shobha Mathur from New Indian Express (Chennai) has also moved on.
Jasmine Desai has moved from Biztech2.com
P. Mohan Das (COB- Business)- UNI Delhi has retired, Pradeep Kashyap is the new COB
Aniruddh Laskar has moved from Business Standard to Mint
Jayata Sharma, has moved from Infomedia 18 and has joined Netscribes, where she will be handling 2 magazines, Retail Biz and The Machinist.

Anish Gangar, has left ComputerActive and has moved to Techticherblog

Varun Aggarwal has moved from Express Computer

Arcopol Chaudhari who was handling Advertising & Marketing beat in DNA has moved to join a PR Agency

Siddharth Philip has moved from Business India

Pierre Fitter from Business World has moved to NewsX. At NewX she will cover environment, clean technology and politics.

N Shatrujeet has moved from The Economic Times

Shobha Mathur from New Indian Express (Chennai) has also moved on.

Jasmine Desai has moved from Biztech2.com

P. Mohan Das (COB- Business)- UNI Delhi has retired, Pradeep Kashyap is the new COB

Aniruddh Laskar has moved from Business Standard to Mint

Jayata Sharma, has moved from Infomedia 18 and has joined Netscribes, where she will be handling 2 magazines, Retail Biz and The Machinist.

Posted in Media Movements | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Industry Movements

Posted by prnext on July 20, 2009

AMIT CHAUDHERY, NEW MD OF TEXT 100, INDIA
Text 100 appointed Amit Chaudhery as the managing director for Text 100 India. He would report to Rowan Benecke, Text 100 Regional Consultancy Director for APAC. Chaudhery was Head of Communications & Corporate Affairs for Motorla India before making the shift. Chaudhery will be responsible for the overall leadership, strategy and direction of the business in India incorporating Text 100, GRO and sister agency Vox.
INTEGRAL PR’S SHARIF D RANGNEKAR REAPPOINTED AS VP, PROI, FOR ASIA PACIFIC REGION
The Board of Public Relations Organisation International (PROI) has reappointed Sharif D Rangnekar, Director & CEO, Integral PR, as Vice President for the Asia Pacific region for another one-year term. PROI, with 46 partners, is the largest global partnership of independent public relations firms, with combined 2008 fee income in excess of $ 293 million.
REDIFFUSION Y&R PR APPOINTS DIVYA RADHAKRISHNAN
Rediffusion Y&R has appointed Divya Radhakrishnan as the president for Rediffusion Y&R Public Relations. She will report to Mahesh Chauhan, Group CEO, Rediffusion Y&R.
Divya was head, TME, Rediffusion’s media arm, she will continue to hold that position as well. Divya has been with TME since April 2003, with over twenty years of experience in media planning. Earlier, as the head of the Tata AOR and later as TME’s national head of buying and new initiatives, she has been an iconic architect of the TME success story.
RAGHU MENON TAKES CHARGE AS NEW I&B SECRETARY
Raghu Menon has taken charge as the new Secretary of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) from July 6, 2009. Menon, a 1974 batch IAS officer of the Nagaland cadre, takes charge from Tourism Secretary Jawahar Sircar, who had been holding additional charge of MIB following the retirement of Sushma Singh in May this year.
Prior to taking charge as I&B Secretary, Menon was Chairman and Managing Director of National Aviation Company of India Ltd (NACIL).
PRANAB MAJUMDAR JOINS PUDHARI PUBLICATIONS AS CEO
Pranab Majumdar,TOI’s Response and Branch Head, Pune has joine Pudhari Publications, as CEO. Majumdar was with TOI for 21 years. Prior to that he worked with PolyGram International (now known as Universal Music). He had also worked with Amrita Bazar Patrika and Jugantar in Kolkata.

AMIT CHAUDHERY, NEW MD OF TEXT 100, INDIA

Text 100 appointed Amit Chaudhery as the managing director for Text 100 India. He would report to Rowan Benecke, Text 100 Regional Consultancy Director for APAC. Chaudhery was Head of Communications & Corporate Affairs for Motorla India before making the shift. Chaudhery will be responsible for the overall leadership, strategy and direction of the business in India incorporating Text 100, GRO and sister agency Vox.

INTEGRAL PR’S SHARIF D RANGNEKAR REAPPOINTED AS VP, PROI, FOR ASIA PACIFIC REGION

The Board of Public Relations Organisation International (PROI) has reappointed Sharif D Rangnekar, Director & CEO, Integral PR, as Vice President for the Asia Pacific region for another one-year term. PROI, with 46 partners, is the largest global partnership of independent public relations firms, with combined 2008 fee income in excess of $ 293 million.

REDIFFUSION Y&R PR APPOINTS DIVYA RADHAKRISHNAN

Rediffusion Y&R has appointed Divya Radhakrishnan as the president for Rediffusion Y&R Public Relations. She will report to Mahesh Chauhan, Group CEO, Rediffusion Y&R.

Divya was head, TME, Rediffusion’s media arm, she will continue to hold that position as well. Divya has been with TME since April 2003, with over twenty years of experience in media planning. Earlier, as the head of the Tata AOR and later as TME’s national head of buying and new initiatives, she has been an iconic architect of the TME success story.

RAGHU MENON TAKES CHARGE AS NEW I&B SECRETARY

Raghu Menon has taken charge as the new Secretary of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) from July 6, 2009. Menon, a 1974 batch IAS officer of the Nagaland cadre, takes charge from Tourism Secretary Jawahar Sircar, who had been holding additional charge of MIB following the retirement of Sushma Singh in May this year.

Prior to taking charge as I&B Secretary, Menon was Chairman and Managing Director of National Aviation Company of India Ltd (NACIL).

PRANAB MAJUMDAR JOINS PUDHARI PUBLICATIONS AS CEO

Pranab Majumdar,TOI’s Response and Branch Head, Pune has joine Pudhari Publications, as CEO. Majumdar was with TOI for 21 years. Prior to that he worked with PolyGram International (now known as Universal Music). He had also worked with Amrita Bazar Patrika and Jugantar in Kolkata.

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