Indian PR Forum to draft a ‘Code of Conduct’ and Guidelines for Indian PR Professionals

After several instances of PR professionals being mocked by journalists for their unprofessional behavior while dealing with media, Indian PR Forum (IPRF), India’s largest online forum of PR Professionals, has taken up an initiative to draft a ‘Code of Conduct & Guidelines’. This is aimed to bring in more professionalism in the Indian PR Professionals’ approach towards media and other stakeholders.

The guidelines will involve as many behavioural and ethical aspects, which will also include some Do’s & Don’ts while dealing with media. In order to make these guidelines holistic, the forum is inviting suggestions from PR professionals working at all levels across India

PR Professionals can send in their suggestions on indianprforum@gmail.com before 10th June, 2013.  Thereafter the suggestions will be collated and studied by industry experts who will subsequently draft the Indian PR Industry’s Code of Conduct & set behavioural guidelines. This Code of Conduct will then be put up on various forums for review and feedback.

In addition to this, the forum also plans to start an education drive across India to inform and train / budding professionals about the expected code of conduct in their day-to-day functioning.

Public Relations as an industry need to set up standards of professional behavior outlining the principles and guidelines that will define professionalism and trust in this community. IPRF as a forum has over 3000+ members has taken a step towards crafting a framework for ‘Code of Conduct for PR professionals,’ which will help the sector to be more professional and respected amongst the media and society in general

Background: Recently a senior journalist posted a very unpleasant status on her Facebook Profile, against a PR professional for following up with her for an event during odd hours. This provoked reactions from the PR fraternity and the forum took up the responsibility to create a code of conduct that should be adopted by PR Pros in their day-to-day dealings with media and other stakeholders. This was not the first time that a PR Professional was ridiculed by certain section of media; some journalists have even gone to an extent of black listing an entire agency and have openly criticized PR professionals in their newspapers, on their personal blogs and social media platforms. The fact that this is happening more often than ever before, and in many instances PR Professionals themselves are responsible for evoking such reaction from media, a professional code of conduct is now a must for the sector.

The primary reason for such regular media bashing of PR pros is credited to the huge gap in training young professionals before they are put on a task of pitching to the media. Without clear understanding of the way media functions, and proper guidelines on how they should communicate with media, young professionals often commit mistakes, which are then generalized and impressed onto the entire PR community. Hence, Indian PR Forum has taken up the cause to educate newbies of the PR industry on the right conduct and professional behaviour expected from them.

Indian PR Forum is India’s largest online forum of Public Relations and Corporate Communications professionals, started in April 2007 with a noble intention of bringing all PR, Corporate & Marketing Communications under one platform. The forum shares information/insights/learning’s and has topical discussions and debates on an ongoing basis.

To join the forum you will have to just drop an email at indianprforum@gmail.com. You will receive a confirmation email and approving the same; which will make you a member of the forum. You could also join IPRF on other platforms as well such as below:

ü  Main Google Group: https://groups.google.co.in/group/indian-pr-forum

ü  Blog: www.indianprforum.wordpress.com

ü  LinkedIn Group: http://www.linkedin.com/groups?gid=98596&trk=hb_side_g

ü  Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/indianprforum

ü  Twitter: @iprf: Interesting Tweets on Marketing, PR, Social Media and more…

For more information, please connect with:

Vikram Kharvi

Founder – Indian PR Forum

Mobile: 09930143550

Email: pr.vikram@gmail.com

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Public Relations and Pseudo Events

 
Daniel Boorstin came up with the term called pseudo events. The historian Daniel J. Boorstin came up with the term “pseudo-event” in his work “The Image”, first published in 1961. A pseudo-event, Boorstin wrote, is “not spontaneous … but planned, planted, or incited”–an event whose “occurrence is arranged for the convenience of the reporting or reproducing media,” and whose “relation to the underlying reality of the situation is ambiguous.” source : questia.com

  In an example which illustrates what Boorstin meant :

“The owners of a hotel, in an illustration offered by Edward L. Bernays in his pioneer Crystallizing Public Opinion[1923], consult a public relations counsel. They ask how to increase their hotel’s prestige and so improve their business.

“In less sophisticated times, the answer might have been to hire a new chef, to improve the plumbing, to paint the rooms, or to install a new crystal chandelier in the lobby.

 

“The public relations counsel’s technique is more indirect. He proposes that the management stage a celebration of the hotel’s thirtieth anniversary. A committee is formed, including a prominent banker, a leading society matron, a well-known lawyer, an influential preacher, and aneventis planned [say a banquet] to call attention to the distinguished service the hotel has been rendering the community. The celebration is held, photographs are taken, the occasion is widely reported, and the object is accomplished.”

To this Boorstin explains as he thinks it is a pseudo event. He says,

“Now this occasion is a pseudo-event, and will illustrate all the essential features of pseudo-events.

“This celebration, we can see at the outset, is somewhat — but not entirely — misleading. Presumably the public relations counsel would not have been able to form his committee of prominent citizens if the hotel had not actually been rendering service to the community. On the other hand, if the hotel’s services had been all that important, instigation by public relations counsel might not have been necessary.

 

“Once the celebration has been held, the celebration itself becomes evidence that the hotel really is a distinguished institution. The occasion actually gives the hotel the prestige to which it is pretending.

 

“It is obvious, too, that the value of such a celebration to the owners depends on its being photographed and reported in newspapers, magazines, newsreels, on radio, and over television. It is the report that gives the event its force in the minds of potential customers.”

source: http://www.nku.edu/~turney/prclass/readings/events.html

Press conferences are a common example of pseudo-events.Pseudo-events are staged to attract media attention.The media is informed well in time so they can prepare for reporting on it. “Spontaneous (or “genuine”) events are never, or hardly ever, influenced by the mass media.” It is important to note here that though such events may not be influenced by media they could have news value and be vital for the media to report .

source:http://www.blackwellreference.com/public/tocnode?id=g9781405131995_chunk_g978140513199518_ss36-1

Are we so media dependent that pseudo events seem to be the only way to get attention? what about non-media activities? Can these be added a little more as part of strategic communication, both by corporations and NGOs alike, so that public relations is looked at a little differently? what do you think?

10 Ways To Design The PR Agency Of The Future

The financial, political, technological and media worlds have changed dramatically since the start of the 21st century. The global economic crisis, stagnation in the developed economies and growth in emerging markets, the rise of digital and social communications channels and the fragmentation of mainstream news outlets—these changes have all prompted new threats, and opened up new opportunities, for the public relations business.

But to take advantage of these changes, public relations firms need new business models, new—and more diverse—talent, and new ways of thinking. To put it mildly, a public relations agency designed to meet the major challenges of the 20th century is unlikely to succeed in the 21st.

Yet many of the world’s largest agencies, and a surprising number of midsize firms, continue to operate as if little has changed. Their infrastructure is a legacy from a different age, they have the same practice areas (often conflating actual practices such as corporate communications and product marketing, with industry sectors such as healthcare and technology), the same geographic structures, the same silos that served them (not always well) a decade or more ago.

And many of them have failed to integrate new ideas, new technologies and new media, into the way they do business—often treating changes that ought to disrupt existing models as if they can simply be bolted on to the old model.

Every time they do that, they miss an opportunity to create something genuinely disruptive, and they double down on their investment in traditional, vestigial, thinking—increasing their vulnerability to new firms with new ways of thinking.

Many of the firms in this volume are already acting on some, perhaps many, of the ideas presented here. Some have radically restructured their business using their own ideas of what the future will demand. It’s doubtful whether anyone has all the answers when it comes to creating a new model for the public relations firm, but there are several ideas that all agencies should be exploring or considering.

 

1. Big data at the center

Three years ago, I found myself in Davos—at a conference called Communication on Top—debating the future role of public relations in a shifting world. My own optimistic view was challenged by Marshall Sponder, an expert in web analytics. His major complaint: that PR people did not understand how to use big data; his big prediction: that within a couple of years, every PR agency that wanted to be taken seriously would have a chief data officer, playing a significant role in the leadership of the organization.

To say that progress on this score has been mixed would be extremely generous to the industry as a whole. There has been plenty of evidence that putting data and analytics at the center of communications can be incredibly powerful—the Obama re-election campaign is the most obvious example—but there has been incremental progress at best when it comes to using data to drive marketing and corporate communications more broadly, and only a handful of firms have anyone in a role roughly equivalent to Sponder’s chief data officer role.

2. Insight to drive meaningful creativity

One reason data is important is that it lays the foundation for the kind of insight—into stakeholder attitudes, values, beliefs and actions—that ensure relevance.

For too long, many public relations people—like the baseball scouts in Michael Lewis’s Moneyball who believed that they could identify a good baseball player based on little more than attitude, posture, and physique—have operated on the assumption that their years of experience alone meant that they knew a good PR campaign when they saw it.

But all too often, the ideas they generated were creative just for the sake of it. They resonated with reporters, but not with the wider audiences they were intended to reach. They provided entertainment value but didn’t do anything to influence behavior. They were “great” PR ideas with no business benefit.

Great data alone will not ensure great PR programming. But better data will lead to better insights. And better insights will lead to more creative public relations ideas—ideas that solve real business problems.

3. Understanding the human brain

Edward L Bernays would insist loudly to anyone who would listen that public relations was “applied social science.” That was true in the industry’s early days, when Bernays and others were pioneering a new discipline, and it remains true today.

What has changed is that we have new ways of understanding how the human mind words, how people decide what to believe, how they process information, how they make choices.

Most PR people could benefit from going back and reading Bernays’ classic The Engineering of Consent. But they should also be reading more recent volumes such as The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell, Nudge by Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein, Made to Stick by Chip Heath, or Contagious by Jonah Burger. Or listening to neuroscientists like David Eagleman, who presented at our first Global Public Relations Summit in 2012 and provided numerous insights—some of them quite shocking—into the ways emotional responses can overrule the rational mind, and the unconscious supersede the conscious.

Understanding the latest thinking in this area is essential for anyone hoping to change attitudes and behaviors.

4. Managing reputation is about more than just communicating reputation

There are two necessary preconditions if a company is to have a good reputation (by which we mean a reputation that strengthens the relationship between a company and its key stakeholders, reducing risk and providing greater opportunity). First, it must earn that reputation; then it must communicate what it has done to earn it.

The first of those things is by far the most important; traditionally, public relations firms have spent far more time and energy on the second. There is probably still a very good living to be earned that way—effective communication remains important; but firms that can help their clients earn the right kind of reputation—by helping to shape policy rather than explain it—will deliver and derive far greater value in the future.

This requires an understanding of corporate culture, and corporate values, and how to communicate them so that executives communicate them through their words and—infinitely more important—their deeds; employees believe in them and live them; and external stakeholders understand them and believe that they are authentic.

 

5. Becoming real brand journalists

The public relations industry has always recruited former journalists. But historically, it has demanded that they stop acting like journalists. Their perceived value was their ability to craft stories that their former colleagues would find interesting or appealing.

But that approach ignored their true value. Real brand journalism is not just about telling good stories, it’s about identifying and researching and developing those stories.

By hiring people who think and act like journalists, and encouraging clients to allow these “brand journalists” full access, PR firms can provide tremendous value. A PR person who looks at a client from a true journalistic perspective should be able to unearth both positive news (authentic stories that reinforce the messages a company wants to communicate about itself) and not-so-positive news (helping clients identify areas of reputation risk).

 

Complete Article: http://www.holmesreport.com/featurestories-info/13365/10-Ways-To-Design-The-PR-Agency-Of-The-Future.aspx