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

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

Public Relations: A Career Choice

I was thinking about issues to write in PR education when this question struck me “How do people make the choice of pursuing a career in public relations?” Is it accidental or a well thought off option? If it is accidental then how was the experience of entering this profession? If it is by choice, do you regret it? Or you are happy and comfortable in this profession and would love to grow in this job.

These questions popped into my head, as this is something I ask a candidate planning to join this course. Sometimes I have been told by these candidates that we have had public relations as a subject and advertising as a specialisation while pursuing their graduation, so I would like to do this course. Or there will be some working professionals saying that it helps in promotion so they would like to do this course. Or yet others, simply decided to plunge into a new field. Like I have had candidates, who have done a graduation in Economics and who would like to join Public Relations at the Master level.

So these choices are tough. Either if you have simply come to into this profession either with a journalist, marketing, administration background without any academic knowledge in this subject or you are a student with or without previous knowledge of this subject in his/her graduation or post-graduation tenure.

But I am sure all of you would agree this is one subject which is still gaining recognition, at least in India, and it is definitely not something you dreamt of becoming, when you were a child. Cannot blame you, you didn’t know, that it existed or what it was.

So I am sure whatever the reason of the plunge into this profession it would be great to share your experience in this field whether as a student or as a practitioner as to how has your journey has been? Would you like to add your bit to make this journey for you and for others a better one? So that hopefully a child tomorrow may dream of becoming a public relations practitioner, the way h/she dreams of being in other professions.

Would love to know your views.

Discussion on ‘Attitude’ – Sum up + Solution

hi all

Discussion on ‘attitude’

Few days back, I wrote an article  on “Attitude is the stumbling block for PR professionals’ in prpoint and Indian PR Forum groups, in support of the discussion generated by Vikram Kharvi, Moderator of Indian PR Forum.  My article is available in the following link.
This generated a lot of response from the members in both prpoint and Indian PR Forum groups.  Many members, including the new gen professionals, agreed with me on the attitudinal challenges.  Some of them brought out nicely the reasons behind such situation.  It was an interesting and useful discussion.
Sum-up of the views
This ‘attitude’ discussion generated a lot of interest among all the members.  Many of them were following closely the responses  in both the groups.  Some of the senior level and junior level professionals contacted me over phone and also over mail personally to share their views.  They also brought some insight on this.
From all the discussions in the group and private conversations, I could sum up the feedback as follows:
1.  New gen professionals are yet to understand the seriousness and  importance of the need for updating the knowledge, in the growing competition.
2.  When the juniors approach the seniors for some guidance, the seniors do not give them adequate attention and knowledge support.  Since the so called ‘seniors’ are also youngsters, they too lack knowledge and they do not take initiative to update their own knowledge.
3.  At the entry level, new professionals join the industry, straight from the college.  The need of the profession and the academic input do not match.  The young people are put straight to the job to handle the customers.  Even the enthusiastic youngsters get demotivated.  They suggest some refresher training programme on fundamentals like writing of press releases, media relations, handling of customers are to be given.
4.  There are not much opportunities available for interaction with industry seniors.
5.  Industry PR bodies are not taking adequate initiative to focus on the micro level knowledge improvement.  They focus only on Annual Conferences which involve cock-tail and awards.  They are not functioning like international bodies like PRSA, CIPR, IABC.
A light at the end of the  tunnel
Last month, I was invited by Mr Madan, Mg. Director of Adfactors PR to visit his new facilities at Mumbai and to address his colleagues.  Adfactors PR have now moved to a huge and spacious new hi-tech facilities.  At that time, Mr Madan came out that his new  Conference hall (Lower Parel West in Mumbai) could be used by the industry professionals for meetings and seminars.   I had the great honour of being the first person to deliver a talk to the professionals in that hall.
After this ‘attitude’ discussion, I once again talked to Mr Madan to re-confirm whether he could offer his well equipped Conference hall for the industry professionals.  He confirmed this and asked me to announce also.
This Conference hall can accommodate around 70 persons.  I also called up now Mr Vikram Kharvi, whether he could take up the initiative at Mumbai to organise interaction sessions every month or every fortnight at a convenient time.
Many talented and experienced professionals are available in Mumbai.  Mr Vikram Kharvi can be supported by three or four members.  They can plan interaction sessions with experts.  All the communication professionals can participate.  MrVikram can coordinate with Mr Madan’s office for booking the conference hall.
Volunteers invited
If 3 or 4 members support and take up the responsibility, then we can start the journey hunting for knowledge.  Those who are interested to be the part of this organising team can kindly contact Mr Vikram Kharvi over mobile 9930143550.
There is no expenditure involved.  Since many members felt that opportunities are not available, we thought of finding a solution, so that the members can get the benefit at no cost.
Probably this will be the first new joint initiative by two major online groups prpoint group and Indian PR Forum Group to synergise the positive energy.   From Chennai, I will extend my remote support to this initiative.
If some other Corporates or Agencies offer similar venue support in other centres, we can start a similar initiative in other centres too.
Let us make a good beginning and review after 3 or 4 months.
Srinivasan

Indian PR Agency Ready Reckoner

Dear All,

Indian PR Forum, India’s largest forum for PR professional has taken lead to create a ready reckoner of Indian PR agencies functioning in India. This initiative will make the client’s job easier to identify the agency of their choice and generate RFPs for all agencies across India. Request you to kindly fill in the details as per the attached format and send it to indianprforum@gmail.com (Format can also be downloaded from this link https://docs.google.com/document/d/1EGUzmt6pJEWhRA_xGcHrQI1-o48KOuw7iAyQkzj5bMQ/edit). Forms can be filled in by all agencies and freelancers practicing across India.

We will host this ready reckoner on our Blogs: www.indianprforum.wordpress.com / www.vikypedia.in /www.indianmarketingmantras.com

 

Also we will reach out to various international clients planning to foray into India and looking for PR partners.

Indian PR Forum is India’s largest and most active forum of PR professionals across India with over 2500 members on the Google Groups platform and over 2300 on the LinkedIn Groups.

We will update this information every 6 months in the month of July and January every year. This info will also form basis for future information sharing, interview and news updates for our soon be launched newsletter– PR Next.

Download Form: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1EGUzmt6pJEWhRA_xGcHrQI1-o48KOuw7iAyQkzj5bMQ/edit

Indian PR Agency Tracker.docx
18K   View   Download
Vikram Kharvi pr.vikram@gmail.com
Jun 20 (5 days ago)

to indian-pr-forum
Dear IPRF Members,

Please refer to the email shared yesterday on creating a ready reckoner for our PR sector, which will give details of all the agencies and freelancers operating in India. This will be hosted on all our web properties and can be a handy guide for clients based in Indian and abroad for sending out RFPs. This will be a good source of information for all if the drive of collecting data is successful.
Please forward to the responsible persons in the agency and ask them to send us the filled form atindianprforum@gmail.com
Each one’s help in making this initiative will be highly appreciated.
Best Regards,
Vikram


Best Regards,

Vikram Kharvi
Reputation Management Consultant

Mobile: 9930143550  |  Email: pr.vikram@gmail.com

www.vikramkharvi.com
Blog: www.vikypedia.in   |   Twitter   |   LinkedIn   |   Facebook  |   Indian PR Forum

Subscribe to updates on Vikypedia.in by Email  |  in Facebook  | at Linkedin

(An authoritative source on PR & social media scenario in India)

The Dark side of the ‘Numbers Game’ in PR- —— Have you ever been there!?

Hi All,
As a part of my daily routine,of my highly stressed and  PRish life of dealing with clients and media,  I dedicate a few minutes  of everyday to read about people, media-oriented news, articles that will help me to enhance my client servicing skills, while at the same time mold me into a PR consultant of the “future”.
I read blogs by digital experts, media gurus, journalist friends, client-authored blogs, etc. During one such reading session, I came across one of the most beautiful yet “difficult-to answer” question raised by a PR expert. The fact that, I have known this expert for quite some time on a personal and professional front, was  one of the reasons, I went on to the blog… but the reason why I stayed and read the entire blog post—– the question that hounds most of the PR community, especially the newbies….
HOW CAN THE NUMBER OF PEOPLE ATTENDING A PRESS CONFERENCE  DECIDE ITS SUCCESS?? HOW DO I MEASURE, IF MY CONFERENCE WAS PERCEIVED BY AS USEFUL AND HELPFUL BY MEDIA?
The answer is that- It can’t be measured…. as PR by definition means “bonds/influential relationships formed over a period of time, to an extent, where people stand by you- No matter what, believe you and  you truly “out-behave” the competition.
No one has answers to this…… This blog attempts to define the “nightmarish experience”, every PR person has to go through….

The Dark side of the ‘Numbers Game’ in PR

Happy reading!
Regards,
D
(PR newbie eager to learn the tricks of the trade!)

Public Relations in India – Evolving but Confused

India is still a very young and developing PR market as compared to the other developed economies in the world, brimming with a talent pool of fairly young professionals. About 40-50 thousand professionals work in this sector either in PR agencies or form a part of the internal communications team. The demand for PR professionals is increasing with every passing day as many foreign companies are looking at India as an important profit center and even domestic companies are now waking up to the importance of reputation and positive brand communications. Many international PR firms have made beeline into the country and domestic PR firms are expanding & growing or merging with international PR brand.

On the other hand, while there is demand for PR services in India, the reputation of the reputation management profession is heavily tarnished. It is not in the list of top 10 choicest professions for youngsters. Media do not respect PR pros and the feeling is mutual in most cases though both are vital to each other.  Strategies do come out from the caps of top notch agency leads but die out before delivering any significant media visibility. Proactive PR is an ugly looking animal who we don’t even want to touch and are happy doing glorified post man’s job of conveying client initiatives to the media.

Have we ever wondered that, are we ready to take on the humongous growth that will soon enter India benefiting the Indian PR sector, will the clients trust us to manage their reputation or there will be a birth of new set of businesses who will walk away with opportunities meant for us, like it happened with Social Media business? The problem probably lies at the bottom of the pyramid – our own young trainees or junior executives who frontend the client and even the media.

I would like to know from the senior members of the team what training they actually offer to the new joinees.

  • Do we do anything beyond an induction process, which can last from 1-2 days?
  • How are they trained on gaining the understanding on the client and the sector the client operates in? Are there any internal checks on gaging their knowledge on the sector and the client?
  • Do we teach them how to research or simply leave them to the God Google and assume that they will learn to work around with keywords
  • Before pitching to the journalist are they trained enough to know the media; the journalist they are pitching to on what kind of stories they cover (not the beat but the journo’s focus of writing stories?)
  • Do we invest enough time in helping them identify a story and train them how they create a theme out of the idea and pitch it appropriately to the appropriate journalists?
  • Do we train them on identifying accurate target audience; understand the demographics of the diversified Indian market, and different consumer behavior across states?

I can safely say that only handful of agencies must be having some processes to address some or only few points mentioned above. The moment the trainee joins in, probably the first task given to them is to disseminate a press release and follow-up on the same. Three drastic damages can result from this

1) Before even starting the relationship with the media, the trainee in most cases spoils it and the perception stays in the particular journalist’s mind for the rest of his career as a joke.

2) The brand of the agency is miss represented and

3) Finally the spillover happens on the entire sector’s perception i.e. all PR guys are idiots.

Please don’t think that I am putting the entire blame on our youngsters, not at all, they are rarely at fault. It is the fault of the way we operate and do business, the way we choose talent and nurture them.

Let’s analyze why this happens:

  1.  Agencies in most cases are under paid and hence the concept of dedicated resource, who will invest time in researching and ideation, is very rare.
  2. Every Account Manager (the most important link between the client and the agency) is over stressed, managing on average 3-4 accounts, which obviously leaves hardly any time for them to train their juniors. Also they themselves have been promoted to the position of an Account Manager after spending 3-4 years in the business without actually being trained on the fundamentals.
  3. People above Account Managers, most of the time are busy running behind new business and better opportunities.
  4.  Everyone is only interested in one thing – COVERAGE, how you manage to get it is nobody’s problem

The problem may be even more deep rooted, lets mull over the following points

How are PR professionals recruited or brought into the system?

  1.  Ex- Journalists – Why – because they seem to have nose for the news, can understand story opportunities and may have already some connections with the media. They typically join at a level of Sr. Account Executive or Manager. Majority of today’s senior PR pros have come from this route, most have been successful barring few, who could not manage the pressure of client servicing.
  2. The second group is of graduates, with some PR qualification – Diploma or the most recent Degree in Mass Communications. 40% of trainee to Sr. Executive level comprises of people coming through this route. It is here that the sector need to work together in enhancing the quality of talent

a.       We all know what is taught at the PR institutes or mass communications courses is far different from what happens practically

b.      Mass Communications Degree courses are not specifically designed for PR professionals, most join to enter Advertising or Journalism and very few are really interested in choosing PR as a profession.

c.       Advertising is the most preferred option even if it offers lesser starting pay than the PR firms

d.      Students who opt for PR have a very superficial understanding of the profession, which soon gets shattered immediately after they join work

e.      The sector is not attractive enough for marketing management graduates, for the perceptions that exists in the outside world or probably because the sector cannot meet their expectations in terms of pay packets.

The point I am trying to bring forward is that we don’t get the cream of the talent for our sector and whatever we get, we let them rot and leave them to learn and earn on their own.

All this above in turn impacts the credibility of the sector. We are supposed to be the consultants for the clients and advise them on how he can improve and safeguard their reputation, but do we have professionals to meet the client’s expectations. We are consciously trapped in the vicious circle i.e. we cannot establish our importance and credibility and hence we cannot demand higher retainer fees, so we cannot afford better talent with aptitude and knowledge to understand consumers & market and hence lower level of client satisfaction.

And why are we not doing much to change the situation?

Because, we are comfortable with our typical “Chalta Hai” attitude. The business is running and is also growing thanks to the current economy. If few clients are unhappy, there are many who are living with it and few are not even concerned to know where their money is going. If few of them leave, new ones will come. Who really cares or should care other than the agency owners as each individual employee’s average tenure at the agency is maximum 3 years. So let it continue the way it is.

I know I have angered many and few may even agree but what happens with that? Will we change?

Share your views….

Best Regards,

Vikram Kharvi
Reputation Management Consultant

Mobile: 9930143550  |  Email: pr.vikram@gmail.com

www.vikramkharvi.com
Blogs: www.vikypedia.in | www.indianmarketingmantras.com  |   Twitter   |   LinkedIn   |   Facebook  |   Indian PR Forum

Subscribe to updates on Vikypedia.in by Email  |  in Facebook  | at Linkedin

(An authoritative source on PR & social media scenario in India)

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Media Analysis and Evaluation

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In a 1966 lecture at the Kaufman Art Gallery in New York City, McLuhan said, “The medium is the massage, not the message. It really works us over; it really takes hold and massages the population in a savage way.” … Continue reading