I’ve never worked in pure play or traditional PR and have always had it as a part of my overarching mandate in all the roles I’ve had. I feel disadvantaged to some extent that I never got to be a part of any PR consultancy as I know on close quarters how exciting and also exhausting life in a consultancy can be. There’s so much to do and learn and so many superhighways to navigate from clients to events to media, it sure seems like quite the handful.
Having worked with some phenomenal PR teams and partners, it would be an understatement to say that life as a client was good and fulfilling. I had a simple mandate with the PR teams, let’s experiment on one side and let’s do the regular drill on the other and mix it up well enough. This was done so we would never get bored with run of the mill content or conversations we curated and created.
In my experience, what always worked well was to run the teams through a full-blown business and organisational induction which would mean they got a bird’s eye view of what it entailed to be a part of the business and how the processes ran and worked. It also would help to plan strategy-based business goals by involving the teams right from the word go and have them part of the plan discussions rather than bring them in later just for the tactical requirements. Strategic discussions should include all layers, as a good mix of experience, backgrounds and age groups in order to yield better ideas and outcomes.
If I had to pen down some of the primary things, I’d like to equip my PR teams with, they would include:
Understanding what the business and competitive landscape is and what the challenges there have been, from an outsider’s perspective, and a thorough research on the brand and business itself with recommendations specific to focus on these challenges.
When you invest in understanding your client and how you can empower his business to do better, you automatically create more value.
Creativity and experimentation
While this is cliché, it’s a game changer when teams can go with creative ideas to a brand to help put itself out there to garner more interest and hence drive better business results.
Oftentimes, there isn’t enough homework done or conversations that happen that can generate great ideas as either the client is happy running a standard mandate and relies on the team to do just that or the teams are happy to play the bread and butter game and don’t want to invest effort in the jam-making process. This leads to a standard mandate execution program and is a missed opportunity for the brand and the team to explore newer avenues.
A lot of times, it’s good to say no and be honest about the brand or the product and tell a client if something would work or not. If there’s an existing insight on a plan, it is always good to share the reality and act as a sounding board. It’s also good to have a plan-b in case something fails and good to have all potential crisis situations to have been thought through as part of the planning process.
Each organisation has a mechanism of working and a value system that the brand will have as part of its identity that can be leveraged for forging better relationships. Tapping into that and using that as part of managing the client can go a long way in sustaining relationships with brands.
An entrepreneurial bend of mind
When someone has the ability to understand business and looks at their role as an entrepreneur, you get a lot of investment from them and they also take ownership and responsibility and pride in what they do. This is a great quality to possess as it can really take a regular role to a state of interest and involvement that can only come from someone who plays what they do really close to their chest.
Better Writing Skills
While this is basic and as basic as it gets, if the writing skills are below par then no other skill can compensate for this one…
So, raising my glass to the best in the space! May they be at their best and bring out the best!