Being Effective means Being Disruptive

In my opinion two sets of people exist in this world – first, the planners and second the disruptors. The planners are quite clear on what they want to do with their lives. They believe in planning almost every small aspect of their lives and try to live their plan. The people from the second category are the creative, bold and ‘disruptive’ types. They challenge the status-quo. I would like to believe that an effective PR person necessarily needs to fall into the second category – be creative, be bold and most importantly be disruptive (in the positive sense).

How often does a PR person with strong media relations fail to sell the story to the journalist?

How often does a PR person with exceptional writing skills fail to capture the ‘real’ essence of the communique?

It happens a lot many times and ironically it happens to the best of us. This is simply because as PR professionals we prefer to keep repeating practices that have worked well in the past. But, a simple Ctrl C + Ctrl V approach (copy and paste) is no longer an effective Communications Plan!

Innovation is essential to every business to retain clients and win newer ones. The communications business is no different. Ultimately one needs to answer the question what’s new. While many would like to believe that a tried and tested method is a proven success story, I would like to differ here. Who knows if the road less travelled or not travelled at all may indeed lead to brighter opportunities.

Undoubtedly, innovation causes disruption. It makes one want to think beyond the obvious and even beyond one’s own realm of comfort.  What does it mean to our profession?

Being effective as a disruptive PR practitioner would involve being insatiably curious, being creative and being able to agree to disagree, too. Some of these may appear anti-PR skills, but why stop from being bold and re-visiting basics?

Well, some may still want to argue and challenge the need for such skills. Rightfully so!

But, being creative and innovative gives birth to new approaches towards addressing challenges and opportunities. For example, if the client is a non-consumer facing one with demands of media presence, the most common approach is to send bulk emails to journalists, pitching the story. Most often, the response would be in negative. Instead if the PR practitioner looks at digital PR or language press as an alternative, it might work, because there is less of a space-content constraint in these mediums.

Being disagreeable makes one deliver the best for the client as one is beginning to work from outside his/her comfort zone. The idea is to move out of the cliched approaches to PR and start looking for new solutions.

Much has already been proved on the merit of being curious. This trait has triggered a thousand discoveries and is an undisputed imperative to being effective. In our profession this is most certainly the need of the hour. It brings out new thinking and newer forms of effective delivery. Coupled with the ability to embrace change, this skill opens new avenues for ‘wider and more-fruitful’ stakeholder engagement.

One could still argue that merely possessing these qualities may not equate to being efficient or successful. While, these traits serve as catalysts, one clear ingredient for success is the right attitude. An effective PR person needs to focus on developing this with rigor as it is the bedrock of creativity, innovation and efficiency. Attitude controls everything one does. Interestingly, one can control one’s attitude.  Developing the right attitude with disruptive thinking may indeed give our profession the much-improved face-lift and newness.

The views expressed here are that of the author and do not necessarily reflect that of Reputation Today.

Bhavna Singh
Director, Communications at Organisation of Pharmaceutical Producers of India (OPPI)
At OPPI Bhavna works on multi- stakeholder advocacy & communications programmes including Government, regulatory authorities, the pharma industry and the media. Her online campaigns; patient communication and comprehensive industry led publications have won recognitions both in India and globally.

A recipient of many awards, Bhavna was most recently named among the 40 under Forty- Class of 207 by Reputation Today. OPPI’s 50 years commemorative publication – 'The Colour of White' received the Asia Pacific Communications Awards, 2017, under the publication category. Bhavna has also been recognised by World Global Diversity & Inclusion Congress and World HRD Congress as Global Diversity & Inclusion Leader -2017 and is a winner of BAM Award for using Innovative Media Vehicles in healthcare Communications- 2017.

Her key competencies include Brand Communications & Public Relations. She takes to writing as an important medium for communicating her thoughts. Gender diversity is an issue that she feels strongly about and has written and spoken about this at various public platforms.

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