There have been thousands of Kings and Queens across history but why do we in general remember only a few like Julius Caesar, Cleopatra, Nefertiti, Alexander, Akbar, Maharana Pratap, Ashoka, Chattrapati Shivaji Maharaj? There have been thousands of artists across history but why do we remember only a few like Leonardo Da Vinci, Tansen, Michael Angelo, and William Shakespeare?
The major answer is hidden in Public Relations. Either they were themselves a great PR minds or had close associates and advisors who knew the magic of opinion making, cultural influence, public policy, using mass media communication tools and understanding the profiling needs. For example, the notable philosopher Aristotle was the teacher and mentor of Alexander the Great. Ashoka had prime access to Acharya Chanakya’s notes and frameworks as he was the privileged grandson of Chandragupta Maurya who was established by the strict training of Kautilya; who is an institution of PR, Strategy, Economics and Literature even after centuries.
That in no way means that there were no other good or better Kings, Queens, Scientists, Scholars or Artists that existed in history across geographies. Unfortunately, due to a lack of PR knowledge, they lost their legacy and existence or high chances are they were victims of propaganda.
Thomas Edison was a great PR mind as he used to acquire patents and register in his name. The inventors lost their legacy to Edison’s PR strategy.
In the recent past, if we observe, we know a few names like Steve Jobs, Albert Einstein, Mahatma Gandhi, Michael Jackson, Adolf Hitler (in a negative sense), and Marilyn Monroe among a few more. They definitely harnessed the power of Public Relations and had an extraordinary publicist team and media presence. Hitler mentioned in his autobiography Mein Kampf the importance of propaganda.
Storytelling is an Art and Public Relations is a creative social science of storytelling. Stories keep a brand alive.
National PR Day in India is celebrated on 21st April. The first All India Public Relations Conference was held in Delhi on April 21, 1968. Public Relations Society of India (PRSI) is to be majorly credited to recognise this day for PR professionals and they adopted the Code of Ethics.
Now in 2023, Public Relations has a major significance and challenge. The media landscape has changed. The attitude and mindsets have changed. Client expectations have changed. The socio-economic fabric has changed. Content creation and consumption approach have changed. One major challenge that has remained constant is the need to place a message in the media and influence the target audience.
The number and size of print publications have reduced due to the growth of social media and digital platforms. Due to increase in digital platforms and ease of access to media, identifying distinguished story pegs for clients is a challenge. Stakeholders are smart in identifying loopholes and fabricated stories. If the key messaging is not uniform by the concerned opinion makers and influencers of the organisation or event, it may create a crisis. Due to the rise of social media, crisis situations for brands and CXOs have also risen for varying reasons.
For PR, it is difficult to build a bridge for the expectations of media representative and the client requirements organically, as media has multiple options for a similar story or content.
WhatsApp has eased the flow of information and communication since the last decade. LinkedIn has connected people with similar interests and also allowed exploring into the insights and content. Platforms like Skribe provide paid access to journalist data. Commercialised systems like Concept BIU, Blue Bytes have eased media monitoring activities. Branded content and spotlight options have given opportunity for marketing promotional tool with a PR layer.
PR consultancies and professionals need to be more creative and focused than ever before. They need to upgrade their skills bi-annually to keep up to the industry and market standards. The top management’s attitude towards the workforce need to improve in many cases to survive.
It is a matter of pride that many foreign PR Consultancies have set a base in India. Many foreign organisations and startups rely on Indian PR Consultancies and firms to run their image and reputation plans. As per a report by PRCAI, Public Relation’s expenditure of annual marketing budgets noted growth from 10% to 17% in 4 years.
The views and opinions published here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher.