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Interview with Kamalika Bhhatacharya of Minglebox.com

Posted by prnext on September 6, 2009

kamallikaIn this month’s column of ‘Meet the Media’, Richa Seth introduces us to Kamalika, Bhhatacharya, Sr. Content Associate, Minglebox.com. Read on to understand her view on PR profession

  1. Could you please update us with your career journey?

I started my career with The Statesman, Kolkata as a reporter in 2006, then became a sub editor cum reporter working with features department. Thereafter worked for a magazine called Mentor which caters to the school principals and the education fraternity. Currently working with Minglebox.com – the no.1 educational website in India as a Sr. content associate. I also write feature articles for the education supplement of The Statesman.

  1. What methods do you use to generate/find stories?

Use direct contacts, field reporting and follow up on current stories. Of course leads from PR contacts does add value in generating stories.

  1. What are your views about the PR fraternity?

I believe the PR executives are of great support to all media. PR executives provide a lot of useful information and come up with new and innovative story themes which can be very useful to the media. They are of immense help to reach out various companies and their spokesperson in a much easier way.

  1. How useful / helpful are they to you as a source of information?

As mentioned earlier they are very useful as they provide new and innovative story themes, which can churn out great stories. They are of immense help to reach out various companies and their spokesperson in a much easier way.

  1. What is it that you expect when interacting with a PR professional? Is that fulfilled?

I expect the professionals to communicate correct and complete information about their client and also not push for coverage without the news providing value to the readers. It is somewhat fulfilled but still needs to be worked upon.

  1. What are the most preferred method, mode and time to get in touch with you?

Email is the best way always…

  1. What is the most annoying thing that PR professionals do when pitching to the journalist?

Sometimes PR professionals push to much and keep following up for stories that does not merit coverage.

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

PR professionals should keep the journalists posted on all events before time. They should also introduce and provide complete information about their clients to the journalist of the concerned beat, so that the journalist can get back when doing any industry story or wants to do a feature story.

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Posted in Interview, Meet the Media, September 2009 | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Interview with Prof. K.S. Ramachandra Rao of SSIM

Posted by prnext on September 6, 2009

ramachandraraoRajesjwai Iyer, brings to us an exclusive interview with Prof. K.S. Ramachandra Rao, Director, Placements & Promotion, Siva Sivani Institute of Management, Secunderabad. Prof Rao shares with us his views on the PR industry and how PR helped in positioning SSIM amongst its target audience

1. How do you think PR is important for organizational growth? Comparing your previous experiences, what made your institution crack with PR as a tool to create the Right Buzz?

PR is important for any organization. PR means not just Public relations but being the public domain in terms of visibility, transparency, publicity etc. It can be achieved through a professional set up with PR departments in any organization. If the organization is not big enough, it can be entrusted to a professional PR agency that is expected to devise a long term strategy for better branding, better visibility to reach out to the right targeted audience. It also helps the stake holders to know more about the company in terms of its market news.

As far as Siva Sivani Institute of Management (SSIM) is concerned, it provides management education along with other forms of higher study for working executives. It focuses on imparting high quality education to serve the corporates to produce the right talent. PR has helped SSIM in creating visibility amongst the students and corporates. It has helped us in conveying the right key messages across to our target audiences. We have successfully been able to enroll dedicated students in our institute and at the same time we also have renowned companies willing to offer placements to our students in their company at high packages.

2. What according to you is more successful using internal PR professionals or hiring external PR services?

It is not the question of internal or external professionals. It depends on the quality and competency of the people concerned who are doing this job. The external agency can provide the advantage of their exposure and expertise. And on the other had there are organizations that depend on their internal talent as they nurture them over a period of time.

3. How do you rate PR practice?

PR as a professional has evolved immensely. It has now become an essential marketing tool for every organization. There are various budding professional PR agencies as many organizations are on a look out for communication their key messages to the right target audience.
4. What is your foresight on industry’s growth?

As mentioned earlier there is huge scope of growth for the PR industry. However the industry lacks dedicated and talented professionals who would be keen to be a part of this industry. This profession requires good communication skills, industry knowledge, hard work, sincerity and dedication. One can pursue some of the technical skills from a few management institutes who are engaged in having specialized courses for PR.

5. As an educational institiution how much value do you think PR has added to your business and brand?

As mentioned earlier, PR has immensely helped us to position ourselves amongst the top management schools in the country. We have taken several initiatives to do gain this positioning. Compared to few years back, SSIM today is one of the reputed institutes of management education nationally.

Posted in Interview, September 2009 | Tagged: , , , | 1 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.

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Meet the Media – Shishir Joshi, Mid-Day

Posted by prnext on June 16, 2009

Vibhuti Agarwal in an in an exclusive interview with Shishir joshi, Ex Editor with Mid  Day, explores a journalists’ opinion about role play of PR in journalism

1. What are your views about the PR fraternity?

It is a highly misinterpreted group of professionals. One because of an absence of understanding by the editorial in an organization, two, by their (pr fraternity) own undoing and three, by absence of adequate training/mentoring at the foundation and mid career level.

2. How useful / helpful are they to you as a source of information?

It is almost like a parallel arm of any news organization. A journalist can work faster and more smartly, if he learns to organize his PR networking appropriately. Similarly, a PR professional can get his/her story across ON MERIT if he/she starts understanding how a news organization functions, networks better and starts thinking like a journalist.

3. What is it that you expect when interacting with a PR professional?

a. Do your homework. Do it well.

b. Network. Not just in times of crisis. This is your bread and butter.

c. Understand the working and life of a journalist. And the organization.

d. Play the role of an interface between the client and journalist.

e. Do not mislead/over promise either of the two.

f. Do not resort to unethical means (bribes) to get your story across. Even if asked for. A story should appear/and should be passed to an organization, ON MERIT.

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

I think if points mentioned in question three are followed, life would be simpler. Having said that, yes, it is always, or often the contention of the PR executive that journalists do not treat them well or are too arrogant.

My advice is, let us CHANGE first. Then we have a right to point a finger at others. Also, signing of, I would request PR professionals to remain updated with names and people movements.

I still get calls from executives (of eminent PR firms) telling me they have sent a mail on my Aaj Tak mail id (an organization I left in 2007 and subsequently I spent sixteen months with Mid Day).

Hence, to sum up, and hoping at least all those who read this piece. I am no longer with Mid Day as the Group Editorial Director.

I have taken up teaching. Have set up a Journalism Mentorship programme for students and can be reached on shishirj@journalismmentor.in. The link is www.journalismmentor.in

Posted in Interview, June 2009 | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Interview with Siva Ramamoorthy, Group Director-Marketing, Tejas Networks

Posted by prnext on June 16, 2009

Anusuya Mitra in an exclusive interview with Mr. Siva Ramamoorthy, Group Director Marketing, Tejas Networks shares with us his thoughts about the importance of PR in marketing mix

1) What according to you is PR and where is this industry in India headed?

PR provides a set of tools and reach for organizations to reach out to a broader audience and a broader set of stakeholders. With the age of Social Networking, we live in an age of co creation of knowledge and products. Companies are seeking to work much more closely with external stakeholders than ever before. PR plays a key role in providing the brand cover or the pull that enables a company to work well with its external stake holders.

The PR industry in India is headed for a very rapid growth. Apart from macro economic reasons such as the relative fast pace growth of the Indian economy, the growth in quality press along with growth in both horizontal multi segmented coverage as well as growth in specific vertical coverage is a key driver for the industry.

2) How important do you think is PR for any organization? Comment on the role of PR for Tejas Networks?

PR is a strategic lever for any organization and one of the vital elements of its branding strategy and integrated marketing campaigns. Quality PR enables an organization to reach out to its stake holders: the public, future employees, customers, opinion makers and thought leaders.

Tejas Networks is unique in being a IP based product company out of India. Hence, the rarity factor is high and it becomes particularly important to reach out to a larger audience and articulate the value not just of Tejas Networks and our products and services but also the importance of IP / innovation and creating large value chains and IP based ecosystems from India.

3) What is the ideal percentage of PR in the marketing mix? PR vs. advertising: please comment.

There is no ideal percentage of the various elements in a marketing mix. However, one essential ingredient of all programs in a marketing mix is consistency and uniformity. In building a brand, nourishing a brand and growing a brand, a very essential element is consistent uniform messaging and touch points which espouses the values which your company stands for.

An integrated marketing campaign has a variety of programs – both internally and externally facing. PR is an essential glue which fits in and horizontally supports many of these programs by providing the broad air cover that is needed for these to be successful.

With the advent of the Internet, the world of advertising has changed significantly. With tools such as blogs and postings in news groups, viral marketing has become a very large element of reaching out to customers. As such the lines between earlier tools such as PR, Advertising, Promotions have all blurred. However, I firmly believe the essential value propositions remain the same: Consistency, Uniformity, Innovation. Depth and breadth of reach are the key elements in such as a reach out strategy.

4) Out of marketing and PR, which would you say has more impact/output in promoting the messaging/branding of the company?

We are in the world of marketing in a Web 2.0 world which is very much an integrated marketing approach. Companies are being very fast in creating their new products and services and are inviting their customers to participate more and more in co creating products and services. Companies are using a variety of tools – Branding, PR, Corporate Communications, Internet Advertising, Viral Marketing, Social Networks, Product Launches – and integrating all their communications through all these tools to deliver a consistent and homogeneous message.

5) What are your expectations from PR?

I would expect PR to play a vital role in enabling a company’s messaging and uniqueness to be heard. Smarter companies are seeking to work more and more closely with customers than ever before. A look around various industries will reveal several Web ecosystems around a company in many industries – Sun Silk Gang of Girls, Kraft first taste, Red Bull – apart from the usual suspects in the computing industry. PR is obviously a very vital tool for a company to make such external links happen.

6) Challenges of PR as a profession?

As a career, PR is very challenging. To begin with, you would need to understand a very wide variety of people with very different information backgrounds. You would need to be able to relate to such a broad range of very smart people. Every company has uniqueness in corporate messaging, and it’s vital to understand that in great depth and provide a trusted advisor relationship with your customers. As a trusted advisor/consultant, you will play a key role in developing the companies PR approach, its strategy and do’s and don’t’s.

PR is a very exciting profession as it lets you meet a very broad set of people and learn. In our industry, life long learning is key and PR as a career provides you the opportunities to do so.

Posted in Interview, June 2009 | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »