#RTOC 2: Madan Bahal on the future

Learning has no limitations – it is possible in the most difficult times, and in fact challenges only increase the scope of learning. The online conclave organised by Reputation Today has proved this right by facilitating for the communications fraternity a platform to learn and grow continuously in these extraordinary times.

Continuing this initiative, the second edition to #RTConclave was organised on 1st April, 2020 in the form of a fireside chat with Madan Bahal, Managing Director, Adfactors PR and he was in conversation with Minol Ajekar, Head – Corporate Communication, CSR & Business Operations, Puravankara Limited and Amith Prabhu, Founding Dean, School of COmmunication & REputation.

The world is battling against an unprecedented crisis with COVID-19 impacting more than 120 countries. The pandemic has left no country untouched and no human being safe. In such a situation, the job of a communication professional is paramount. Counsel is an important part of Public Relations and the situation demands hyperactive and hypersensitive counselling. Focusing on the current scenario, the session focused on ‘Facing the Future with Empathy and Resolve.’ The hour long chat had various valuable insights and the following points summarise some of them:

  • Highlighting the changing risk paradigm for businesses Mr. Bahal mentioned three kinds of crises, two visible and the third underlying but equally important:
  1. Health Crisis
  2. Economic Crisis
  3. Leadership Crisis

Emphasising on the third crisis, he said, “It is time for all the constituents of society primarily businesses and consultants to demonstrate leadership. We have to stand tall and lead by example. In every decision that we take there should be a filter of empathy and compassion regardless of the economic cost.”

  • One key advice for the CCOs and CMOs: “Public relation and Corporate Communication is 10% communication and 90% behaviour. Realise that you are under intense scrutiny, which means any hint of insensitivity or opportunism from the corporate behaviour can be a potential risk to the corporate reputation.”
  • While answering an audience question, Mr. Bahal touched upon an important subject which is the Cash Crisis this Pandemic can result in. Planning cash is crucial especially for the small firms as the next four months might see a disruption in the cash value chain and can pose a risk to their survival.
  • Addressing the importance of internal communication Mr. Bahal highlighted three focus points for corporates:
  1. Assuring job security
  2. Prioritising health of their employees
  3. Handling the economic crisis

Concluding the session, Mr. Bahal said that the PR professionals are the strongest and as consultants we have to be sane and thoughtful. Sense of responsibility is the key; the constant realisation of the responsibilities will make sure we stand strong in these challenging times. Keeping in mind the unprecedented situation and uncertainty of what the future holds, he said “hope for the best and plan for the worst.”

Sakshi Jain
Sakshi Jain is a part of the Class of 2020 of PG Programme in PR and Corporate Communications at SCoRe, Mumbai. She completed her winter internship with Adfactors PR, Mumbai.

Prior to joining SCoRe, she graduated as a BA degree in Mass Communication from Prestige Institute of Management and Research, Indore, and completed a two month internship with Aim High Consulting, Bengaluru. Her interest in the field of communication and Public Relations comes from her love for reading, writing and meeting new people. She is always keen on learning new things. Apart from that she is in love with food, dance and cinema.

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