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 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 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:

ü  Blog:

ü  LinkedIn Group:

ü  Facebook Page:

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



Davos Voices: Industry Leaders Assess PR Lessons From World Economic Forum

Arun Sudhaman  28 Jan 2013

This year’s World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos was low on soaring rhetoric, reflecting the austere economic climate and sheer variety of complex issues that continue to confront the planet. A drop in glitz and glamour, however, should not obscure the importance of the debates among the global elite at the snow-clad summit. Many of these forums, featuring leaders from the worlds of business, government and NGOs, are now conducted in the language of public relations, a trend we examined last year. As Ketchum CEO Rob Flaherty puts it below, Davos increasingly feels like a communications conference, “one with with a really, really big budget.”

Flaherty is just one of many PR industry leaders that now make the annual pilgrimage to the Swiss Alps. Six of them write for the Holmes Report below, outlining the critical lessons that communicators should take away from this year’s event.

A demure Davos
Matthew J. Harrington, chief operating officer, Edelman

The tone of the 2013 World Economic Forum can best be described as “subdued” – far less troubled than it was two years ago as protests in Egypt broke out, and less nerve-wracked than last year in early days of European economic turbulence. Instead, there is an emerging view that we have entered a “new normal,” a time when returning to past boom days is unlikely, and so we must, as they say in Britain, “keep calm and carry on.”

This environment presents significant opportunity for public relations. At a time of underlying cynicism and even resignation, organizations must clearly and consistently articulate their sense of purpose to all stakeholders in order to build trust and, in turn, get any job done. Edelman’s 2013 Trust Barometer, released at the Forum this week, outlined that although trust in business, government, media and NGOs went up, trust in leadership –CEOs and elected officials – went down. As a result, leaders need our counsel to help restore trust in order to advance the interests of their businesses or nations.

Social media was viewed as vital to rebuilding this trust and improving conversation between leaders, citizens, employees and all stakeholders. Any sense from prior meetings that social media was an “optional sport” had wholly disappeared.

The importance of internal communications was another key theme, as was the critical role storytelling serves in conveying strategy and aligning shared interests. When thinking about future opportunities, Africa was a highlight—specifically nations including Ghana, Nigeria and South Africa that are experiencing growth and emerging consumer markets. Asia broadly, and China specifically, continued to be in the spotlight.

In sum, there were few big headlines from this year’s meeting. But this didn’t trouble me as perhaps it indicates some lessons have been learned about the folly of making deeps swings from irrational exuberance to doom and gloom. The new normal lies somewhere in the middle.

Resilience and perseverance

Don Baer, worldwide chair and CEO, Burson-Marsteller
The overall mood at Davos 2013 was one of sober optimism: A consensus that the economy will continue to improve, but with serious anxiety about whether growth is sustainable. As one of our clients, the CEO of a Fortune 200 company, told me at Davos, his board is judging his performance on only two factors – resilience and perseverance. That simultaneous ability to adapt while staying the course in the face of rapid change is a good summary of the lessons for the public relations and communications sector emerging from this year’s World Economic Forum.

In the face of this uncertainty, it was clear last week in discussions with clients and other world leaders that we have to continue to go well beyond the traditional blocking and tackling of public relations to prove our value. As one of them said at Davos, clients “want a thought partner, a catalyst to consider outside viewpoints and strategic, creative thinking while, at the same time, someone who will jump in and help deliver meaningful results.” As has been the case over the last several years, the marketplace that world leaders at Davos say is emerging will continue to demand more and more of us – which is exactly what makes our work so exciting.

The transforming power of communities
Kathy Bloomgarden, CEO, Ruder Finn
I felt that 2013 was one of the best WEF sessions of the past several years. What stood out for me – and what’s relevant to us as communications professionals – was the focus on how information flows impact us. The airing of thoughts on the mounting power of communities and the social channels that sustain and empower them provided significant insights.


The question of leadership was a popular topic, as was how to manage companies in an era of uncertainty to achieve what was called in one session “enterprise resilience.”  Columbia Business School Professor Sheena Iyengar deepened the discussion in asking how you develop strong leadership in today’s large global companies. She went on to define the concept of dialogue networks, based on the fact that organizations are comprised of human networks. A great corporate leader today interacts and gains insights from many networks within the company. A leader has to gain an understanding of the differences in the narratives. In these discussions, a common ground of shared values emerges which has the ability to unite employees. Data analysis of conversations within companies, illustrate levels of collaboration and how to connect people in problem solving, sharing ideas, driving new product development.

Leadership needs to go outside usual systems, to get at the common goals and to most effectively reach people. In answering the much asked question of who do you trust, Atsutoshi Nishida Chairman of the Board of Toshiba commented if you don’t trust your employees you will not get anywhere. Multinationals are comprised of geographic communities, diverse professional functions, those with widely differing business responsibilities. It’s clear that internal communications across the enterprise is vital today, and that trust needs to be built bottom up and top down, with a sustained conversation that generates engagement. 


Cautious optimism
Olivier Fleurot, CEO, MSLGroup
In 2012 the general mood in Davos was rather gloomy: all eyes were on the Eurozone crisis. But last week, the mood shifted to cautious optimism, thanks to strong initiatives taken by Mario Draghi at the ECB and the work done by Michel Barnier on banking union and supervision. Behind closed doors, you heard that neither Greece, nor Italy were off the hook. Then, Britain’s David Cameron announced his intention to organize a referendum on Europe, which was not well received: now Britain and Europe face years of uncertainty and investors hate uncertainty. It was no surprise that Angela Merkel spoke of a more integrated, federation-type system, much like the German one. 


There was a riveting session on China’s global agenda: is the new regime going to be more assertive as a global political power or will it focus mainly on boosting a slowing domestic economy? Africa was for once discussed as a continent of potential growth and less as a source of trouble, despite the war in Mali.

Women started to speak up in this male-dominated forum. Represented by Christine Lagarde, Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook and Drew Faust, president of Harvard University, amongst many others, they challenged their male peers to do much more for women’s empowerment in politics and business. The WEF must be congratulated for encouraging such a debate and setting a one-woman-in-five quota for strategic business partners attending, to help ensure greater gender diversity.


Several sessions focused on how companies should review their values, beyond shareholder value. There was a clear understanding that governments alone are unable to solve global challenges such as climate change, poverty, and major diseases – and that companies must step up to the plate. Only by creating a sense of shared purpose and values, embedding them in their strategy, and then aligning incentives to reflect the needs of all their stakeholders can companies enjoy sustainable development and attract the young talent they badly need to navigate a much more complex world. 

 The Young Global Leaders forum – a next-generation leadership community that is mission-led and principle-driven showed “old” leaders new ways to create shared value. A very good session overall: the WEF is often criticised, but the networking and the highly valuable discussions one can have in four days with people from all continents, have no equivalent.


The unstoppable march of transparency
Rob Flaherty, senior partner and CEO, Ketchum
The sessions at Davos this year were so relevant to our business that at times it felt like we were attending a communications conference — one with with a really, really big budget.

Of course there were speeches by heads of state and geopolitical leaders, including Cameron, Merkel, Medvedev, Lagarde, Kissinger and others. There were many sessions on the financial crisis and social issues. All of these are insightful for our business.

But many other aspects of the snow-shrouded gathering were even more relevant. First, the meeting was a laboratory to witness the unstoppable march of transparency fueled by Twitter and other platforms. My first blog post last week celebrated the unfettered tweeting in every session and was titled, “The World Economic Fishbowl.” 

A whole curriculum of sessions were spot-on for communicators. Here are insights from three:

From Tabloid to Tablet: “Journalists are not in the content business,” asserted Jeff Jarvis, author, journalist and creator of BuzzMachine. “Content just fills things up (like a bucket). We need to re-think our role. We should be achieving relevance by adding value to the conversation already out there.” In the PR and communications business we love to say we create content. It’s better to think of our role as performing a service, adding value and achieving relevance.

The Social Technology Context: “In China, social platforms like Weibo are creating an arms race between control and freedom,” said Chan Yuenying, a professor at the University of Hong Kong. “The government does not appreciate the disruptive power of social media.” The fact that the courageous former journalist said that was striking enough. To see it tweeted by attendees to the world was even more striking. In the same session, Joe Schoendorf of Accel Partners, the equity firm behind Facebook, said, “The term ‘social’ is about to go away like the title ‘vice president of electricity’ did a hundred years ago.”

Online Power: This session, which included Arianna Huffington and Jimmy Wales, included this advice, once again from Jeff Jarvis: “Don’t try to create a movement. Give a nascent movement ‘elegant organization.’ Which can be as simple as establishing the hashtag for an event or other forms of helping a community to connect.” Great advice for the many of us who are asked to mobilize a movement.


Digital wildfires
Caroline Wunnerlich, EVP and regional director EMEA, Fleishman-Hillard
‘Digital Wildfires’ was the title of a session I attended on the last morning of Davos. It addressed the issue of how misinformation in the digital sphere can flare up and lead to social unrest and even geopolitical conflict. The debate focused on the problem of anonymity online, and how far social media should, or could, be regulated. But the conclusion was clear: social media cannot be effectively controlled, and so the online community needs to respond critically, and society itself must adjust to become its own self-correcting mechanism.

This theme had been echoed in an earlier lunchtime roundtable entitled ‘From Tabloid to Tablet’ chaired by Stephen Adler, President and Editor-in-Chief of Reuters. While the commercial outlook for print media remains uncertain, it was clear that in the digital age quality journalism from premium publications such as the FT and New York Times is being looked to for verified facts, judgment and analysis. In the flood of online sources, leading media have a key role to play in generating transparent and trusted news coverage.


Here we are back to the themes of transparency and trust that pervaded much of this year’s WEF. Whether in the speeches of David Cameron or Christine Lagarde, whether in the panel debates on digital infrastructure and data protection or on the role of banks in the real economy, the ‘T’ words came up again and again. They were joined by a notable third ‘T’: Twitter. It was a subject of much conversation that the WEF was struggling to reconcile the traditional Chatham House rules of the conference with the legions of participants who were this year busily tweeting from the Magic Mountain. And so it is that digital communications have not just changed our industry, they are changing the face of global debate.

Twitter Benefits for your Business

20 Benefits of using Twitter for Business

Twitter is the perfect platform to keep you updated with the latest happenings in your industry, market or domain.  You would be able to trace what people are talking about, the buzz of the industry, trends, and insights to build your business.  Twitter helps you to stay connected with the world in real-time.

Twitter has more beneficial to business over FaceBook, LinkedIn, blogs and other social networking sites. One of the reasons Twitter is so popular is due to its flexibility to support many other existing technologies and business strategies.  The benefits of using twitter for business listed below would be leveraged by most of the businesses that are active on the social media platforms.  Twitter would give you a priceless way to share your content and get connected with the world.

Benefits of using Twitter for Business

  1. Increase your online presence & build a global network of contacts for your domain
  2. The aim of all social media site is to engage with your target audience
  3. It’s a perfect social media platform to engage your customers and with twitter communities
  4. Reputation Management: Helps you to create and maintain your online reputation through quality tweets and engagement
  5. Brand awareness: It can bring the awareness of your brand globally since 51% of Twitter users follow various brands against just 16% in other social media networks
  6. You would be supported by your network when you are looking for answers; besides you would get new opinions and thoughts from like-minded people in your industry
  7. You can gain competitive advantage and knowledge from your audience by watching, listening to them on your timelines. Listening to tweets can identify market trends
  8. A perfect platform to promote your blog or website content
  9. Directing your tweets to the landing pages help to bring more traffic to your website and enhances conversions
  10. It connects you in a new way to existing members of your network on other networking sites
  11. It helps you to keep an eye on your competitor and on the competitive market at all time
  12. It can be used as a forum. Ask a question and someone will surely return back with an answer to guide you further
  13. You can share your expertise and knowledge globally
  14. Present your promotions on twitter.  Promote your deal of the day to the world through twitter
  15. Most effective word of the mouth marketing where your audience are global rather than local
  16. It helps you to collect feedback from your customers and help them serve better with the right customer service
  17. Following a company/brand on Twitter will keep you informed about what’s going on and upcoming with them
  18. The good thing about twitter is it always keeps you posted with the latest links and updates in your domain
  19. The content on the tweets make your life a little bit easier by giving newer ideas about business and market insights
  20. Following someone you know very little about, would return you getting to know them better

Nikhil Kashyap

Survey says… PR firms (still) the no.1 source for journalists

Interesting and heartening read…

US survey says… PR firms (still) the No. 1 source for journalists

By Kevin Allen
A new poll suggests that journalists are increasingly relying on social media for their sources, but it’s still not as influential as PR.

Oriella PR Network polled nearly 500 journalists, and learned that 47 percent are using Twitter (up from 33 percent a year ago) and 35 percent are using Facebook as a source (up from 25 percent a year ago). 

Still, social media isn’t the first thing they’re going to—only 4 percent said they use Twitter, Facebook, or blogs as their first source in researching a story. 

The No. 1 resource that journalists in this study are using for sourcing was PR agencies, with a whopping 62 percent. 

As for the first port of call when researching a news or feature story? PR again! Nearly 22 percent of respondents say their initial stop is a press release. 

One striking stat in the article suggests that journalists are working harder: 


Almost half (45 percent) admitted they have to produce more content and a third (34 percent) work longer hours. However, despite this added pressure, 44 percent of the respondents said they enjoyed their job more, compared with 34 percent in 2010 and just 27 percent in 2009. 

So, keep those press releases coming—apparently they’re still working on many of my colleagues. And don’t be surprised when the number of journalists going to social media first increases to the 70 percent range by this time next year.

Aarif Malik
Mumbai. INDIA.
Cell: +91 9833934002

Midday story on PR

Midday story on PR

Hoodwinking reporters?

As months pass by, public relations executives from across the world are coming up with innovative ways to feed their version of ‘finger-licking-news’ to reporters. We have seen those who directly pitch stories, others who demand stories, but the latest way, this new breed of PR ‘professionals’ have employed is certainly shocking. 

First they praise your story for the day, ‘like’ all of your status messages (even when your status message reads ‘blah’) on social networking sites, drop comments like ‘oh so cute’ on all your facebook photos ” and just when you start scratching your head wondering where you know this person from ” they go for the kill. A badly written press release hits your mailbox and your office direct line and mobile phone does not stop ringing ” each time the same question. When you are about to pull your hair off and tell the PR off, you stop and think ” they have achieved what they set out to do, grab your attention for a longer time than you would have given them otherwise. 

Yet another interesting way many PR professionals have taken to is calling your boss, before the press releases reaches you. Not only does this make you look like a reporter who is unavailable to the outside world (because otherwise why would you call the editor-in-chief for a frivolous event?), but also makes your superiors think there could be a possible story in it (again, why otherwise would the PR try to reach the editor of the newspaper for such a small event). 

Love them or hate them, they have built an often-helpful bridge between journalists and the outside world. While sometimes the bridge gets you across with good quotes delivered before the clock screams ‘deadline’, the other times, you wish you had burnt the bridge down.

Last two weeks these new ways of trying to hoodwink reporters have been the hot topic of discussion at the Press Club. A reporter recalled an incident where a PR professional first got involved in the reporter’s personal life, became friends and from then on started expecting newsprint favours in return. Another reporter quickly quipped ‘Oh I give them the same sugary treatment they are known for and yet manage to keep them at an arms distance’. Even before he completed his statement, a photographer stood up from the next table and said ‘If an event has some potential, then it will sell itself.’ I would have applauded his statement, had it been the early 1980s. Are the PR professionals listening?
Vikas Kumar
+91 9811054648

Do PR agencies need to promote themselves

Dear members,

PR agencies promote brands and products of other people. PR helps to create awareness by means of promotional activities. But the question that comes to my mind right now is that do PR agencies need to promote themselves. I am asking this because I have received requests from some agencies (may be new into the business) asking for Google advertisements, Facebook ads and ads in other media which I actually found a bit surprising. So my question is, is there any necessity for PR agencies to promote themselves either by advertising or marketing? in case if there is a necessity should they advertise or do marketing for the same ? 
Rajat B

The wise man speaks because he has something to say, the fool because he has to say something