Every month I spend an hour at the office of a PR firm in one of the metro cities interacting with employees on All things PR, starting out with my professional growth story. At the end of the session there are numerous questions from the young professionals and it amazes me how little are these men and women exposed to in terms of understanding Public Relations; the focus on customer, the domain knowledge of the industry sector they work in and the commitment they have to themselves.
I think a person does not have the right to be in the Public Relations profession if he or she is not reading at least four books on Public Relations every year and writing a regular blog, of which one a month focuses on the profession. Reading enhances knowledge and writing improves a very important skill. Most Public Relations professionals I talk to do not do either. This is the first and easiest step to leadership and earning client respect. I’m certain the case is the same on the client side as well but about that we shall write on another day and time.
If Public Relations professionals do not continuously work on improving their writing skills and enhancing domain knowledge how will they earn the trust and respect of key stakeholders including media persons. Sweet talking and smart dressing will not always save the day. In fact, a lot of PR professionals assume Public Relations is about smart dressing and sweet talking.
How many of us working on a listed company as client keep a daily tab on the client’s share price, market cap, employee count and such key numbers? How many of us working on brands have accurate information in real time about the various SKUs the brand offers, their retail price, the competing brands and other key details? This happens when we take ownership and get our skin into the game. This is neither taught nor enforced. This has to be imbibed.
The future of reputation management in India can be bright but it all depends on the talent that is getting into the profession. Brightness can turn into bleakness. People with little or no experience are starting PR firms with a vision of selling out in few years. In the process they are doing a disservice to the profession. This attitude is dangerous and needs to change. Reputation Management is no child’s play and its future is at the crossroads. We have it in us to make a positive change for future generations. If not today, then when?