Reinvent Public Relations

We are all amid an unprecedented time. It’s especially tough for those in Public Relations because now is when the need for communications is heightened and the pressure is immense. Moreover, everything needs to be done from the confines of the home by using bare minimum tools. I asked friends to share what they see the way forward and gathered many thoughts. I have distilled them to arrive at eight concepts that will help in steering us in the post lockdown era for the next several months. You may read the responses here.

Here is what needs to be done:

Respond differently – do not assume things are the same or almost similar to how they were before March 24th. A lot has changed and a lot more will. Things will never be the same again in most aspects of our life. So, when a brand needs something, respond with thought, respond with precision and respond with scenarios mapped well. I call this responding differently. 

Empathy first – Compassion and understanding will need to be generously sprinkled. The first step is to listen more and offer to hear each other in better ways than we have done previously. If you work in-house, then be there for the team and for those at the PR firm or other service provider companies.

Imagine possibilities – There is no better time to explore innovation and creativity. Everything is on an equal footing. Use this time to build new constructs, write that well-researched white paper, create that tool to manage content conversations. We will never get an opportunity like this to explore new ways of  doing Public Relations.

New ways of doing PR (4Cs) – I am convinced based on years of research that Public Relations is the coming together of great content, shared with connections, with a crisis plan in place based on sound counsel. With digital, the sky is the limit. Use the power of vidoes, create crisis playbooks, learn new ways of serving content. Stand out when things normalise. 

Very high focus – This is the time to stay focussed. Focus comes from clarity and conviction. It is easy to get distracted by being at home. But, take it from me. It is also very easy to stay at home and be focussed. All we need to do is prioritise, compartmentalise and approach tasks systematically. The notebook and pen will still be your best ally in this quest.

Exceptional execution – It will all boil down to how well we execute the plans we make today when things started functioning again. Clients and bosses will have limited resources and will expect greater results to make up for the lost time. Everything will boil down to execution. Do you have it in you to excel in that area?

Now is the time to HOLD – This is the tough one. Hold on to the dreams, hold on to that plan, hold on to your savings, hold on to each other. Hang in there. This phase will pass. Start preparing for deleting some of the things you intended to do this year. There will be a brighter tomorrow. That is how humanity has thrived for thousands of years. 

Trust building is key – Trust in many institutions is bound to break in trying times like these. We, as PR professionals also double up as harmony creators. We will have a huge responsibility to build trusting relationships in the future. If we focus well now and later, to execute exceptionally well when the time comes, we will be in a good space. Keep the faith. 

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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Amith Prabhu
Amith Prabhu is the Founder of the PRomise Foundation which organises PRAXIS, India’s annual summit of reputation management professionals.

He is also the Founding Dean of the School of Communications & Reputation (SCoRe).

He can be reached at @amithpr on twitter.

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