PRAXIS2022: Adapting to futureproof Public Relations

Futureproofing anything assumes we know the future, highlighted Rohit Bansal, Group Head, Corporate Communications, Reliance Industries as he kicked off his discussion on “Futureproofing of Public Relations”.

Public Relations, as we know it, is all about storytelling. While today’s PR professionals are tech-savvy, with an eye on trends, the profession still concentrates on shaping the message, earning the trust of the target audience and, at the some time, always staying focused on how a brand is perceived in the marketplace.

Why is the future of PR uncertain? In this context, he zeroed in on Charles Darwin who had said  –  “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent; it is the one most adaptable to change.” So, ‘adapting’ is the secret mantra.

But, are you adaptive enough? Sometimes the ideation of the future is coloured by what you want to hear. Futureproofing involves learning on the go, and adapting on the go. What is your adaptability? It could well be – to learn languages fastest. The ability to catch up fast is a winning angle. The other way is to see a leader enhance your stakeholder value and to futureproof your life.

“In our Group, everybody is aligned to achieve your goal and that is what a CEO should do,” he shared and then wondered – What if you got it wrong in a space mission? You may land up in Jupiter!! 

It’s important to ponder – What if your values are different from the main set? Here the question came up – do you have any outliers? Treating or altering the outlier/extreme values in authentic observations does not happen to be a standard operating procedure. However, it is essential to understand their impact, so that one can have a comprehensive picture. If they start pulling in different directions, what would happen? 

Futureproofing in PR – it’s important to have people who will take over the micro area. Here he shared the example of Tesla, whose CEO Elon Musk, had been referred to as “the extreme micromanager” by CNBC. While this was minutely researched in conversations with current and former Tesla employees, Musk was described as a polarizing figure who inspires but micromanages to an extreme.

Is your company adaptive enough to have micro leaders to take charge according to the need of the hour?  Today, the need for leadership development has never been more critical. A range of companies realise that to survive in today’s volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous environment, they need leadership skills and organisational capabilities very different from what helped them succeed in the past. Is the real role of leadership to take charge? So, it seems that it’s all about “shared leadership” he pointed out.

In fact, these might futureproof your life. An important takeaway he pinpointed was – “The smartest ideas may not be for leaders but for outliers; keep space in your head to start questioning”, he advised. 

To grow an enterprise into something that has size, depth, staying power and value is tough and actually needs intense planning and persistence. Therefore, the ability to innovate in leadership is essential; and focusing and getting a fix on the mission statement is hugely important too. 

And, even if you don’t know the future, PR is here to stay, was his final say.

The views and opinions published here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher.

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Shree Lahiri
Shree is the Senior Editor at Reputation Today and hopes to move from one focus area to another in the editions that will be released this year. Having worked in Corporate Communications teams, she has experience of advertising, public relations, investor and employee communications, after which she moved to the other side – journalism. She enjoys writing and believes the power of the pen is indeed mighty. Covering the entertainment beat and the media business, she has been involved in a wide range of activities that have thrown open storytelling opportunities.

She can be reached at: @shree_la on twitter

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