शनिवार, 25 अगस्त 2012

Archive for Public Relations


WCS - India Program workshop for Journalists & offers for Media students

WCS – India Program’s Media and Tiger Conservation camp at PSG College of Arts and Science, Anamalai Tiger Reserve and Parambikulam Tiger Reserve.
Follow up for the second workshop & offers for the first workshop participants






The organising committee of the first meet for Media students of  Tamil Nadu and Puducherry met on Monday, 28 Feb, 2011 at Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) office in G.V.Residency, Coimbatore to analyse the proceedings of the workshop conducted from February 25 -27, 2011.
Prof. Jayaprakash.C.R, Project coordinator of the WCS – India Program workshop for media students and working journalists,  Lakshminarayanan>N, Researcher at WCS, Mohanraj.K, founder of Save Coimbatore Wetlands, Bharathidasan.S, Secretary of Arulagam participated in this meet.
The organising team thanked the disciplined group of 30 media students from Anna University, Chennai (6), Pondicherry Central University (4), SRM Arts and Science, Chennai (2), Madras Christian College (2), D.G.Vaishanv College of Arts and Science (2), Periyar University, Salem (2), Bharathiar University, Coimbatore (1), Karunya University, Coimbatore (1), PSG College of Arts and Science, Coimbatore(4), G.R.D. College of Science, Coimbatore (2), CSI Bishop Appasamy College of Arts and Science, Coimbatore (2) and Hindusthan College of Arts and Science (2).
The team also thanked the sponsors, WCS – India Program, Dr.Ravi Chellam, Country Director – WCS, Dr. Rajah Jayapal Conservation Scientist,  Rangasamy.G, Managing Trustee, PSG Institutions, Dr. Chinnadorai.K, Principal in charge, PSG College of Arts and Science, Shekar Dattatri, Wildlife and Conservation Film maker, Chennai, Dr.Tolstoy.R, Associate Professor, PSG Insitute of Medical Sciences and Research, Mohammed Ali, Member, The Nature Trust, Basavaraju.K, IFS., Field Director, Anamalai Tiger Reserve, Vijayananthan.K, IFS., Wildlife Warden, Parambikulam Tiger Reserve, Dr.Manoharan.V, Forest Veterinary Officer, Coimbatore, Thangaraj Panneerselvam, Forest Range Officer, Ullandy, ATR, Nandu Sundaram, Times of India, Coimbatore for their valuable presentations which enriched and ignited the talented young minds.
Feedback
Feedback obtained from the participants through a framed questionnaire and direct interview revealed the following points:
  • The camp was an eye opener on Tigers, Wildlife, Environment and Conservation.
  • Almost everyone felt that such camps could be conducted for more than 3 days considering its importance.
  • All of them expressed good opinion about the resource persons, food, travel, accommodation , proceedings, media coverage, announcements through internet, media etc.,
  • At least 90 % of them wished to participate in future camps and activities of WCS – India Program.
  • Over 6 of them expressed their willingness to pay for future camps as they found the first camp highly useful.
  • Majority of them felt that session timings should be around an hour with adequate breaks in between.
  • Around 40 % of them felt that the total strength of the participants was high.
  • Majority of them felt that some more time should have been allotted to treks, reducing the seminar, discussion schedule.
  • Group photo
  • Group Photo
  • More pictures to come in the following link of my website from March 2, 2011.
  • http://www.crjayaprakash.com/photography/main.php/Eco-Club/WCS+workshop/WCSGroup.jpg.html
Plans for the next workshop
The next workshop is planned to be conducted in the last week of May on three weekdays for Working Journalists of Tamil Nadu.
Following resource persons names were suggested for the second meet:
Dr. Ullas Karanth, Shekar Dattatri, Theodore Baskaran, Sankararaman, Divya Muddappa, Oppili.V, Mohanraj.N, WWF, Tamil Nadu,  Dr.P.B.Sanjay, Vice Chancellor, Thiruvarur Central University, Dr.Ravindran, Head, Department of Journalism, Dr.Pichaandy.C, Head, Department of Journalism, Dr.Thomas.P.E, Head Department of Journalism, Bharathiar University apart from the heads of ATR, PTR, WCS – India Program and Rajah Jayapal. The names will be finalised after further consultations.
Strength of the participants – 20 working journalists.
A special round table is planned for the last day by inviting at least 10 active environment NGO’s in Tamil Nadu. This will help the media in getting sensitised even about the local issues in Tiger conservation.
Offer for the first camp participants
The 30 media students who participated in the first camp are requested to submit Posters about the camp they attended by March 7, so that they shall be handed over the Field Director of ATR on March 9, when WCS – Indian Program’s another project – training the field staff gets inaugurated. Top 10  best poster designers will be recognised with surprising offers.
Publications on Tiger conservation, wildlife, nature, environment etc., in mainstream media, in house magazines, research journals by media students will be awarded with  Rs.5,000 worth prizes. 
Even documentaries and short films, impressive posters on these subjects will be considered for the above reward. The deadline for publication and submission to the Project coordinator is May 15, 2011.
Nilgiri Wildlife and Environment Association (NWEA) is conducting the annual Wildlife estimate in Nilgiris North, South and Gudalur Forest Divisions from March 4 -7, 2011. Four participants from the first camp will be offered a place in the Census program. Interested students need to submit their request in this blog’s comment box by Thursday, March, 3, 11 AM.
All the participants are requested to register their comments again in this blog so that it reaches the acitve netizens and nature enthusiasts in an effective and efficient manner.
SUGGESTIONS WELCOME!
Thank You
C.R.Jayaprakash.

Climate Champions meet

British Council in association with Nilgiri Documentation Centre of Kotagiri has organised an International Climate Champions meet at Nilgiris from January 23 -30, 2010.
The important declarations from this event are:
  • Strict enforcement on Laws and Policies.
  • Progressive tax to be paid by tour operators which will go for Conservation.
  • Introduction of proper Waste Management and drainage system.
  • Encourage organic farming.
  • Accelerate phased removal of exotic and invasive species.
  • Seperate governing body for Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve.
  • Integrated approach between Govt - Locals and NGO’s.
  • Integrated land management.
  • Adapt proper Sylvicultural practices.
  • Firm laws on tourism. Shared responsibility between tourists and locals.
  • Conserve native species and restore natural habitat.
30 Champions from 10 countries were invited as participants. Me and three of my students, Suresh Kumar.G, Pavel, Deepak.V from my Eco Club Media Department of PSG College of Arts and Science were invited to take care of the Media Relations and Mass Communication works.
We did Newsletters and Photography for the organisers apart from helping for Publicity and News in the National and Local Media.
Few of our works are show caused in images. Please analyse the work and comment on the performance.
Your Comment will help us to serve better for a greener tomorrow.
The News Letter (Please copy and paste the link in your browser)

http://www.crjayaprakash.com/photography/main.php/Eco-Club/British_Council_Climate_Champs/Climate_Change_Champions3.jpg.html
A lighter moment
http://www.crjayaprakash.com/photography/main.php/Eco-Club/British_Council_Climate_Champs/Cool_blues_on_Greeen_drink.html

Opinion Leaders

OPINION LEADERS
Definition:
Opinion leaders are those who are able, in a given situation, to exert personal influence. They are the ones to whom others look for advice and information.
The term “opinion leader” is perhaps unfortunate because it tends to connote people of high status who make major decisions for the rest of us. Opinion leadership is a relative concept, and the opinion leader may not be much more influential than his followers. Opinion leaders can informally and subtly affect the behavior of others either positively or negatively. If they like a product or service or anything else, they can help to assure its success: if they do not like it, they can contribute to its failure. It all depends on the verbal and/or visual communication that flows between them and others whom they influence.
Opinion leadership is important and is found in all levels of society. Every status level and every group will have opinion leaders, with the flow of influence being generally horizontal within them. However, the fact that opinion leaders are found in all strata of society does not necessarily mean that they are equally effective or important to the marketer at each social level. In fact, personal influence appears to be more operative and to have greater importance and effectiveness at higher-income and status levels. Such opinion leaders may have an important impact on marketers.
Who are opinion leaders?
Personal influence of opinion leaders is quite significant; marketers are obviously interested in trying to reach such individuals.
Characteristics:
Numerous studies have been conducted attempting to identify opinion leader characteristics.
Opinion leaders have approximately the same social-class position as non-leaders, although they may have higher social status within the class. This does not mean that personal influence does not flow different class lines, but it is likely to be of a visual nature rather than verbal.
Opinion leaders have greater exposure to mass media that are relevant to their area of interest. Exposure to relevant mass media provides them with information useful in enhancing their leadership potential.
Opinion leaders have greater interest and knowledge of the area of influence than do non-leaders. It is closely related to their greater media exposure. Knowledge is not a prerequisite for opinion leader influence. Much influence takes place by those who are ignorant of the topic of conversation.
Opinion leaders are more gregarious than non-leaders are. This is logical but they must interact with those whom they influence. Thus opinion leaders are generally more sociable or companionable.
Opinion leaders have more innovativeness than do non-leaders. This does not mean, however, that they are innovators. In fact, innovators and opinion leaders have been found in several studies to have differing characteristics and lifestyles. The opinion leader however may be characterized more as an “editor” of fashions, who defines and endorses appropriate standards.
Opinion leaders are also more familiar with and loyal to group standards and values than are non-leaders. This refers to the fact that opinion leaders are vested with leadership authority by group members, and in order to maintain this position, the individual has to reflect underlying norms and values for that area of consumption leadership.
Opinion leaders also appear to exhibit the personality trait of public individuation, which is a state in which they feel differentiated to some degree from other people and choose to act differently from them. People who are individuated could be expected to show high confidence, self-esteem, ability to with stand criticism and rejection, and the need to be unique. Opinion leaders differentiate themselves by having greater knowledge and interest in particular issue than opinion seekers. Moreover opinion leaders demonstrate a willingness to stand out or be different in a group situation by disseminating information through word-of-mouth communication.
General opinion leaders:
The question of weather generalized opinion leaders for a wide variety of products or issues as opposed to specialized opinion leaders for each product has been the subject of much debate. Although research is often conflicting, it appears that there is moderate opinion leadership overlap across product categories; that is, general opinion leaders do appear to exist to some extent. One of the questions seems to be the interest patterns of opinion leaders, with highest overlap existing among product categories involving similar interests.
The existence of generalized opinion leaders, or more precisely, opinion leadership overlap, does not mean, however, that such individuals are opinion leaders for all product categories.
Situational opinion leaders:
In the absence of a standardized, clear-cut opinion leader profile applying across all products, and were influencers and influences seem to be so much alike, how is the opinion leader distinguished from those who follow? It has been suggested that influence is related to the following factors:
The personification of certain values (who one is). Thus, individuals who closely represent or personify group values are likely to be opinion leaders.
Competence (what one knows). An individual who is very knowledgeable about some topic valued by the group will probably be influential.
Strategic social location (whom one knows inside and out side the group). An individual who is available and active in the interpersonal communication process in her sorority will have a better chance for a leadership position.
Thus, influence takes place because opinion leaders personify group norms, exhibit competence, and are accessible with active communication between themselves and others.
Because such leadership is situational and does not have a consistent pattern of characteristics across products, marketers might investigate the three characteristics cited above with regard to those who consume particular goods or services. In this way, they may uncover specific patterns which could then guide marketing strategies.
Why opinion leaders attempt to influence others:
Consumers, generally, do not speak about products or services unless they expect to derive some kind of satisfaction from the activity. Opinion leaders engage in word-of-mouth communication about products or services for reasons
Product-involvement:
Use of a product or service may create a tension that may need to be reduced by way of talk, recommendation, and enthusiasm to provide relief.
Self-involvement:
In this case, the emphasis is more on ways the influencer can gratify certain emotional needs. This can be achieved with the following goals:
Gaining attention
Showing connoisseurship
Feeling like a pioneer
Having inside information
Suggesting status
Spreading the gospel
Seeking confirmation
Asserting superiority
Other involvement:
The need to “give” something to the listener, to share one’s happiness with the influence, or to express care, love, or friendship.
Message-involvement:
Talking may also be stimulated by great interest in the messages used to present the product.
The involvement level of consumers, therefore, is a critically important dimension of their behavior as opinion leaders and as innovators. The concept of enduring involvement is important to understanding opinion leader behavior. Research indicates that enduring involvement motivates opinion leadership which, in turn, results in information sharing and innovative behavior.
Submitted by
S. SHIVANI, October, 2009
II MSC APPLIED PSYCHOLOGY

Political Communication

How to handle the Media in a political perspective?
BJP, a national political party of India follows 6 mantras,
Be AVAILABLE
Be WELL PREPARED
Be JUDICIOUS in deciding to whom to give how much time
Be POLITE but FIRM when required
Be WELL GROOMED.
Pictures speak louder than words -Hence give preference to Electronic Media over Press.
Excerpts from The Media Workshop for BJP leaders at Bhopal, MP on 27, March, 2009. By Sushma Swaraj.
Source: The Hindu Business Line, 28, April, 2009, P 4, Coimbatore.

MultiMedia News Release (MNR)

The modern PR tool in this digital era…
A write -up in The Hindu BusinessLine, BrandLine on 23 April, 2009.
Getting social, going viral
The multimedia news release is a recent innovation in marketing and corporate communication solutions, and uses the Internet to fuel its spread..

Sravanthi Challapalli

There’s a new kid on the communications block, and it’s called a multimedia news release (MNR). A relatively new entrant to India, the MNR is an integrated communication solution tool that brings video, audio, text, logos, photos, hyperli nks and related documents into a compact and easy-to-use HTML format.
An innovative device that came into being about five years ago, it has been gathering steam the world over in the last three years. PR Newswire, which claims it’s the first to devise an MNR, has made around 75 of them so far worldwide. The company is a specialist solutions provider in the sphere of corporate communications, public relations, financial PR and investor relations. Its India office has made about 10 MNRs in the last two or three financial quarters. PR Newswire distributes the MNR to news wire services and the Internet, reaching over 5,000 Web sites as well as the PR Newswire for Journalists site with over 110,000 registered journalists. “The MNR’s appeal lies in its ability to be manoeuvred. With audio and visual features, links and downloadable content, it’s a 360-degree tool. It’s completely social network-compliant. It allows you to ask more informed and intelligent questions when you’re making a decision,” says Indranil Ghosh, Sales Director - India, PR Newswire.
The MNR delivers across online publications, search engines, blog engines, social bookmarking tools and is claimed to be completely Web 2.0-compliant. Each MNR is tagged for various blog aggregators and social bookmarking sites such as Delicious, Technorati, Digg, Google, Yahoo, Reddit and Newsvine. Also included is a ‘Forward to a friend’ e-mail option for viral marketing. This enables the MNR to feature in all the leading blog engines.
Ghosh claims the MNR has been extremely well-received, with clients including the Tatas, CNBC-TV18, Strategic Foresight Group, MCX, Singapore Mercantile Exchange and in.com.
According to him, it suits a variety of applications – marketing and brand communication, corporate communication, corporate social responsibility initiatives, financial results, general corporate news, CEO speeches and addresses, HR applications, internal communications, partner, vendor and channel communications.
Percept Picture Co.
“Diverse companies are using it to their advantage,” says Ghosh, adding that it cuts across B2B and B2C requirements. For instance, PR Newswire issued an MNR for Percept Picture Company on its movies, Firaaq and Kanchivaram, featuring at the Toronto International Film Festival 2008 and had clips from those movies that viewers could watch. When Sify launched its new e-mail service called World In Your Inbox (WIYI), the MNR had a video of an announcer taking the viewers through the various elements of the mail, a virtual tour of the mail facility, and of course, a widget by which one could register for the service.
Says David Appaswamy, Chief Communications Officer of Sify, the first company in India to use this service: “It’s a very powerful thing. It arouses interest as it represents a current trend, especially in the Western world - most people aren’t reading for very long today, they are consuming information that’s a combination of text and video. Registration for the WIYI went up very sharply and dramatically soon after the MNR was sent out.” He says that while it’s much more expensive than an ordinary press release, Sify plumped for it as its business goals were global.
Also, the innovation “perfectly reflected Sify.com that is really a media business – text, video, pictures, interactive”, he adds, saying that in the Sify MNR case, having a personable, young woman announce the mail’s features was akin to watching a peppy, young, contemporary and energetic VJ.
The price range for an MNR in India has ranged from Rs 2.5 lakh to Rs 10 lakh so far. “It packs so much inside one communication, is cohesive and more fruitful. It’s value for money,” says Ghosh. While it’s not really a patentable solution (as it can have various adaptations), PR Newswire has a proprietary technology applications which is used to make and distribute MNRs. The $225-million (Rs 1,128-crore) PR Newswire is the only company in India which offers such a service at the moment. It operates in 16 countries in four continents and caters to over 170 countries in 40 languages in any media format, type and target base.
PR Newswire also provides data to the marketer on how many times the MNR was viewed, how many and what kind of downloads were made, from which portals viewers approached it, how many linked to it and where, how many journalists in its contact media databases looked at it and who wrote about it. Its attraction also lies in the fact that its footprint can be tracked, especially in tough times such as these when marketers want to know where every penny is going and expect it to deliver, and in that it’s much cheaper than making a TV commercial.
Says Samantha Proctor, Director of Marketing Communications (Europe, Middle East and Africa), PR Newswire: “Social media has exploded and the MNR feeds into that. MNRs are a lot more commonplace in the US but we launched it in Europe just last year. It is growing to be a significant revenue stream. It is now quite small but is growing rapidly and could be the main service in the next few years.”

Public Relations

Public relations (PR) is the practice of managing the flow of information between an organization and its publics.
Public relations - often referred to as PR - gains an organization or individual exposure to their audiences using topics of public interest and news items that do not require direct payment. Because public relations places exposure in credible third-party outlets, it offers a third-party legitimacy that advertising does not have. Common activities include speaking at conferences, winning industry awards, working with the press, and employee communication.
PR can be used to build rapport with employees, customers, investors, voters, or the general public. Almost any organization that has a stake in how it is portrayed in the public arena employs some level of public relations. A number of specialties exist within the field of public relations, such as Investor Relations or Labor Relations.
                                       
Definition
Today, “Public Relations is a set of management, supervisory, and technical functions that foster an organization’s ability to strategically listen to, appreciate, and respond to those persons whose mutually beneficial relationships with the organization are necessary if it is to achieve its missions and values.”  Essentially it is a management function that focuses on two-way communication and fostering of mutually beneficial relationships between an organization and its publics.

Agency & Corporate PR
For PR practitioners and decision-makers the difference between agency and corporate PR teams is a fundamental dividing line for the profession.
The Industry Today
Blogs have lower over-head costs than traditional media and are often said to provide better news coverage and analysis. Blogs are increasingly sprouting to replace traditional media with a more sustainable low-cost business model and are gaining more of a following.The advent of social media is the most pre-eminent trend in PR today. Social media releases, search engine optimization, content publishing, and the introduction of podcasts and video are other burgeoning trends.
With the booming Indian economy, it will become ever more important for Indian businesses to keep their products in the minds of their customers and to stimulate demand. Public Relations Agencies perform this function for businesses. Marketing is one of the cornerstones of a successful business, and PR is an essential element of marketing
Components Of  PR
• Define your objective
• Research your publics
• Modify your objective to reach goals that research shows are attainable
• Decide your strategy
• Set up your themes symbols and appeals
• Blueprint an effective organization to carry out the activity
• Chart your plan for both timings and tactics
• Carry out your tactics
                     
Methods, tools and tactics

Public relations and publicity are not synonymous but many PR campaigns include provisions for publicity. Publicity is the spreading of information to gain public awareness for a product, person, service, cause or organization, and can be seen as a result of effective PR planning.
Publics targeting
A fundamental technique used in public relations is to identify the target audience, and to tailor every message to appeal to that audience. It can be a general, nationwide or worldwide audience, but it is more often a segment of a population. Marketers often refer to economy-driven “demographics,” recent political audiences include “soccer moms” and “NASCAR dads.” There is also a psychographic grouping based on fitness level, eating preferences, “adrenaline junkies,”etc…

lobby groups
Lobby groups are established to influence government policy, corporate policy, or public opinion. These groups claim to represent a particular interest. When a lobby group hides its true purpose and support base it is known as a front group.
Spin
The techniques of “spin” include Selectively presenting facts and quotes that support one’s position (cherry picking), the so-called “non-denial denial,” Phrasing in a way that assumes unproven truths, euphemisms for drawing attention away from items considered distasteful, and ambiguity in public statements.
Spin doctor
Skilled practitioners of spin are sometimes called “spin doctors”, though probably not to their faces unless it is said facetiously. It is the PR equivalent of calling a writer a “hack”. Eg,  UK often described as a “spin doctor” is Alastair Campbell, who was involved with Tony Blair’s public relations between 1994 and 2003.
Meet and Greet
Many businesses and organizations will use a Meet and Greet as a method of introducing two or more parties to each other in a comfortable setting. These will generally involve some sort of incentive, usually food catered from restaurants, to encourage employees or members to participate
                    
Directions Of  Information Exchange
Good public relations and good business requires more than one way communication.communication horizontally or among publics as well as from the top down and bottom up is essential for harmonious production of products or services.
Reasons:Downward communication(manager to employees)
? To explain the duties of a job and how to do them
? To provide a reason for doing a job and to explain how the job fits with other jobs
? To communicate an organisation’s policies,procedures and practices
? To give employees feedback about their performance
? To provide employee to perform well
Upward communication(employee to supervisor)
? Feedback for managers about employee’s attitude
? Suggestion for improving job procedure
? Feedback about the effectiveness of downward communication
? Ability of employees to achieve company goals
? Requests for assistance and supplies
? Timely expressions of employee grievances
? Stimulation of employee involvement.
As business and political relations become increasingly international,public relations firms are increasingly called on to practice in a variety of cultures.elctronic PR means of the internet and satellite helps deliver messages globally to communicate with a variety of publics,but an understanding of each public’s culture is necessary to create a valuable message.
                                                         
                                          SUBMITTED BY:
                                            N.VANITHA
                                            07MND016
                                  II MSc (Food & Nutrition), IC, @008

Corporate Communication

“Integrate corporate communications with business enterprise
Chennai: Corporate communications should be integrated with the core of business enterprise rather than being just an add-on, said Susan King, vice-president of External Affairs and director of Special Initiatives and Strategy, Carnegie Corporation, New York, on Friday.
Corporate communications was all about relationship management, especially in rapidly shifting media environment where mainstream media was being challenged by the advent of the Internet, she said, during a talk on ‘Role of Corporate Communications in a Changing Media and Economic Scene,’ organised by the Madras Management Association.

Three core areas

The three main aspects of being a corporate communicator were engaging the public, building partnerships and creating a buzz.
While public engagement included communication during crises, it was important to engage a spokesman who knew the rules of the game and not refrain from commenting when the occasion warranted an intelligent intervention.
Two truisms
Two truisms for the corporate manager were: the business of business is in its communication and avoiding a vacuum: “If you don’t tell the story, someone else will and you may not like the story they tell.”
Public internet communications such as blogs should be engaged effectively and partnerships should be built around socially responsible activities.
Building brands
The power of images was important for building brands. “The corporate communicator should find new ways of engaging the audience as the brand should be protected at all costs,” Ms. King said.
The game of information had changed and it was important to address the field of public relations as a strategic tool, Srinivasan K Swamy, past president of the MMA and chairman and managing director, RK Swamy BBDO, said. Corporate relations had to be done in a proactive and transparent manner with a long-term view, he added.
Source: The Hindu, Page 7, Coimbatore, 18-08-07.

Public Relations in India

A wake-up call for the PR industry
N. Chandramouli
Blue Lotus Communications

If you know someone who working in the PR industry, you’ll be familiar with the sudden acute shortage of people that the industry is facing. And that’s a good thing and also a bad thing. Economic theory suggests that high demand is a good thing because it demonstrates a growth in the sector, but it’s a bad thing because the industry is scrambling over the few good people there are, leading to exorbitant salaries and, therefore, a significantly stretched profitability.
The organised PR industry is just over a dozen years old in India and, in these years, PR has evolved slowly to become a critical tool for Indian businesses. Currently valued at between Rs 175 crore and Rs 200 crore, the industry is estimated to be growing at a robust pace of approximately 40-45 per cent per annum.
N. Chandramouli
Estimates show that the top 15-20 PR agencies in the country contribute up to 60-70 per cent of the total sector turnover; another 35-40 agencies form the middle segment, while the remaining 1,000-1,100 agencies are mostly one-man shops set up by ex-journalists/ex-professionals. The total number of professionals working in the PR industry is estimated to be between 10,000 and 11,000; 25-30 per cent of these work with the top 20 agencies.
The Indian PR market is burgeoning into a force to reckon with, and the world’s focus on India, and India’s focus on the world, will make the communication imperative impossible to ignore.
Real challenge
The biggest issue that faces any public relations agency that’s on a fast-growth track is a steady flow of talent that can ‘Hit-The-Street-Running’ (HTSR). Unofficial estimates show that the PR industry in India will double by 2010, absorbing about 10,000 to 12,000 new professionals. On the supply side, there exist about 30 good-to-average institutes across the country, which offer specialised courses in public relations, and churn out about 1,500 professionals each year.
With a shortage of good people already being witnessed by the industry, it is estimated that the demand-supply gap will increase significantly within just a few years. If salary costs become prohibitive because of this, PR businesses are bound to suffer, leading to a decimation of PR agencies and stagnation of the sector.
Mature perspective
Most other high-growth industry sectors, which were peaking at their maturity curve, took cognisance of this demand-supply gap of professionals and took steps to ensure that the industry and academia joined hands to create innovative avenues for professionals to enter their sector. If a similar move is not taken up in PR soon, the sector is bound to suffer immensely.
I was talking to the head of a large international public relations agency, urging him to look at the concept of the industry getting together to create a programme that would help in creating better functional professionals for the industry. Initially excited about the idea, he took the investment proposal to his regional office in Singapore, which shot it down, saying education was not a core focus of their business.
Education is not the core focus of any of our businesses. But we all have to invest in education to create more professionals and better professionals for the PR industry. Whether it is money or time, unless everybody understands the urgent need and acts on it, the industry will suffer collectively.
Academia’s contribution
More significant is the fact that the students who pass out of the existing institutions are just not equipped to be a good fit with the industry. Academia and the industry need to initiate a very serious discussion on how to make this talent better suited to the PR industry’s needs and design an academic course that will create real HTSR talent.
HTSR talent should be in a state of readiness to accept the challenges of the organisation almost immediately on joining, so as to be able to extract peak productive value from even raw talent. I know it sounds impossible, but if academia puts its will behind such a project, the curriculum can begin to include the industry’s needs from day one.
Not only must the talent be functionally ready in the theory and practical aspects of communications, it must also have a specialisation in the final semesters that allows it to choose its functional area of expertise.
Let’s raise the bar a bit further. The talent must also come with existing relationships with the media, where the institution can play a vital role in teaching the students to practically ’sell’ a story to the media.
Those from the industry who think this would be a good idea, please raise your hands!! There are plenty going up, I can assure you.
Vision for leadership
The blueprint for success for any PR agency on the fast-growth track can only be continuous creation, acquisition and sharing of knowledge and ensuring that the requisite HTSR talent is acquired and retained as an essential prerequisite for leadership.
It is imperative, therefore, that academia engages the industry and gets a more ‘real’ feel of how it can make its students a better fit for the industry. Jaago academia jaago!
(The writer is CEO of the Mumbai based Blue Lotus Communications. You can write to him at mouli@bluelotuspr.com)
© 2007 agencyfaqs

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