White Paper: Why it’s an effective tool for your brand

Did you know that the term ‘white paper’ was originally meant for a British government-issued document? Its variant called blue paper or command paper was a more extensive version, and both took their names from the color of their covers.

In the 1990s, it became a tool for B2B content marketing. Especially in the technology industry, they have become increasingly popular for an obvious reason: technology is ever-changing. White papers help distribute a great deal of information and create a very quick and precise way to convey it. It is also a clear indication of intent in the target audience.

White papers are exhaustively researched, sales and marketing documents used to persuade potential customers to learn more about a particular product, service, technology, or methodology.

definition of white paper


Why White Paper?

Everyone expects a return on investment and a well-written white paper is a piece of both art and research that requires a fair investment of time and energy. They can have many long-lasting effects for the business:

  • Educates your target audience: A white paper educates the target audience on a specific topic, such as a problem they may not have even been aware of. This helps to subtly build your sales argument, by linking your product or services to the solution.
  • Generates leads: White paper is a sales document that isn’t overly focused on sales and that is why it is probably the most beneficial type of content asset businesses use. They contain both educational and marketing content precisely written in a formal manner which brings in a lot of potential leads. White papers are generally served as a gated document requiring an email ID to access it. These email IDs can be used to build email lists and obtain leads!
  • Establishes thought leadership: A white paper doesn’t have to always be used for generating leads. This type of content that displays expertise in a certain niche or technology can establish yourself as an authority and thought leader within your industry. And as we all know, people like working with experts. The more you position yourself as a trusted advisor and expert, the sooner your prospects will build a rapport with your brand.
  • Builds legitimacy: The Internet is stuffed with fake and duplicate content. A white paper gives your brand the opportunity to present the original research with visual elements and supportive discussions backed by original data. This builds legitimacy and trust.
  • Building awareness: White paper includes ideas and thoughts based on original research which helps you generate backlinks from other sources who want to use your findings to support their own discussions. It is self-explanatory;  more the positive content around your brand, the more is brand awareness.
  • Acts as a principle document:  This document can act as a dossier of the company’s principles, values, and objectives. From this, you can create small content pieces like blogs, articles, posts, etc.

white paper facts 2020


Business is booming with white papers – a quick fix to the paper-load problem, it is the brochure re-invented and restructured for the digital age. They are worth the hard work for you and your brand. 

Contact us if you need help developing whitepapers and our content experts will be glad to assist. 

Is digital transformation a smooth sail for a country as diverse as India?

The future of Education in India post COVID – a roadmap for educational institutions

the future of education in India

The future of education in India post covid depends on various factors. The PR goals of educational institutions could vary from growth, development, fundraising, or brand enhancement, but one thing is common across various sectors within the industry that all the stakeholders need to work hard to eliminate the redundancies of the past and work on modernization of pedagogical milestones and outcomes. 

Is our education sector future-ready and poised to take on the new challenges? Education in India has decisively moved on from classrooms to homes in the 3 months since the first lockdown.

Since then, the Indian education system is showing a lot of potential for further development. The government directive to raise the current gross enrolment ratio to 30 % by the end of 2020 and the COVID crisis has boosted the growth of distance education in India.

The sunshine sector even during the dark and gloomy days of the lockdown-

The facts are for all to see. India has the world’s largest population — about 500 million, in the age bracket of 5–24 years. The aspiring young Indians looking for earnings-oriented education curriculum has made the nation the second largest market for e-learning after the US.

With more than 10 million users, the sector will cross US$1.96 Billion by 2021 in terms of market size. The FDI inflow in the sector also witnessed an all-time high right before lockdown, and with the unlocking in place, the sector is likely to have a v-shaped recovery.

Roadmap for educational institutions

It is expected that by 2030, a combination of training methodology involving online learning and gamification is expected to grow at 38% YoY. The education industry, comprising of Educational institutions, schools, coaching institutes, training centers, as well as online education portals and ed-tech support companies, need to gear up for the fast-paced growth without losing sight of their primary goal- uninterrupted learning and upskilling of the Indian population.

The steps that can be taken by educational institutions in this direction are

1. Adopt a transformative, fluid, and innovative approach towards higher education- The learning has moved out from classrooms. Students can learn more from real-life practical scenarios and it also makes education more meaningful and rewarding when they can come up with practical solutions to crises or everyday problems.

2. Encourage removal of gender disparity- The education industry can make it their single CSR agenda to reduce/ eliminate the gender-based and social disparity. The initiatives are taken by the education institutions also pave the way for a more balanced societal outlook of the future generations mentored by them.

3. Tap the potential of the vast young population- India could easily be the single largest provider of global talent for all kinds of services. Scientific research, healthcare, education, manufacturing are just some of the sectors where Indians have already made a mark, and the education industry can contribute to this skilled workforce by bringing more globalized pedagogy into the system.

The future of education in India post COVID and its PR goals could vary from growth, development, fundraising, or brand enhancement, but one thing is common across various sectors within the industry that all the stakeholders need to work hard to eliminate the redundancies of the past and work on modernization of pedagogical milestones and outcomes.

An effective internal and external communications strategy shall help in attaining the goals and transform the industry to be future-ready.

About the Author:

Bulbul Satsangi – She is a Digital Startegy Consultant at K2 Communications Pvt. Ltd. A Finance professional in her previous avatar, Bulbul, entered the arena of content writing to sooth her creative energy. In the past 5 years, she has worked on all the aspects of internet and helped many businesses establish their online identity.

Companies with Solid Business Models can weather the volatility storm

Companies with Solid Business Models can weather the volatility storm

crisis management during COVID

Only time will tell the impact of the fiscal stimulus whose zeros are still difficult to count, and the repercussions yet to be deciphered

While the US $ is slipping consistently and the worst recession is about to hit the world economy, India is going the self-reliant way.

Coronavirus crisis has put the decision-makers on a fast track, and the latest fiscal stimulus is like a shot in the arm.

Almost 10% of the nation’s GDP, the industry players across the sectors have applauded the measures taken, but are they “too little, too late”, only time will tell.

The ease of doing business in China is being looked upon with skepticism, India is poised to cash in on the opportunity with an investor-friendly environment. COVID 19 severely impacted economies worldwide, and most companies are finding their balance sheets stretched as cash flows are drying up.

This has resulted in significant erosion in the stock prices of some of them. The risk-averse stance of banking sectors had made it even more difficult for companies to raise capital. There doesn’t belie the fact that investors worldwide are flush with liquidity, and are willing to bet on the companies provided they fit the right benchmarks. A strong crisis management plan and a new improved business model can bring in investors.

If companies can convince investors about their growth story, competitive advantage, the reason for raising capital as well as the need for it, investors would not mind looking at the picking up a stake in exchange for capital.

The rating downgrades of certain erstwhile market leaders have proved once again that markets have always rewarded companies that plan to raise growth capital provided their capital structure is balanced, they have low leverage and arrange liquidity fast.

Perform or perish!

As the markets are going into a stabilizing zone, there will definitely be a strong appetite for fresh capital as well as profitable investment avenues. While there will be a surge in capital raising activities in the country, we will definitely witness an influx of funds. Investors would now be ready to go beyond due diligence and the fund-raising models which have relied on numbers will definitely consider reading between the lines.

In a nutshell, only those companies will attract the most capital which has strong fundamentals, a great crisis management plan, a transparent and future-forward business model, and a brand narrative that can help them overcome the doom and gloom of the past 6 months. Now is our chance to divert the cautious optimism of investors in our favour.

Click here to understand how social media can help your company come out of the crisis.

About the author:

Shiv Shankar – He is the Executive Director & Founder of K2 Communications. Under his astute leadership, K2 Communications has developed into a frontrunner among PR agencies that incessantly delivers excellent regional and national PR support to clients belonging to various sectors including government, IT, education, consumer, and healthcare.

Social Distancing? Or Shaking Hands? Which way the PR industry look forward?

Consolidation in PR- What the industry needs today?

Social Distancing? Or Shaking Hands? Which way the PR industry look forward?

As a leader of a Public Relations company, you are certainly playing the role of a fire-fighter, dealing with pressing emergencies for your clients. As you spend most of your productive hours situating your team in the new remote working arrangements, interacting with clients, and still trying to shore up your situation, what could be the way forward, the new normal post lockdown?

In the past, many PR agency groups have increasingly consolidated and brought together synergistic offers. Sometimes they are led by the needs of clients, who prefer dealing with a single agency partner, the other times, like the situation we are in right now, it makes complete sense to join hands and collaborate on our strengths, which could be as diverse as vernacular superiority and location advantage or as strategic as local media relations.

Here’s how you can prepare yourself for an evolving and unpredictable future:

Accept reality :

It is tempting to use data points to convince that all is well with your world and things will be back to normal. Gear up to adapt by being focused on the crisis we are in. Gather information and prepare scenarios- a base case, a bad case, and a worse case. Stay as honest and fact-based as possible.

Scenario Planning: Ask What-if questions:

As you will start coming to terms with the macro environment- huddle with your core team and ask what-if questions- for your present as well as future clients. What if you require to improve scale, integrate compatible capabilities to maintain a healthy revenue baseline, and give the best PR support to your clients?

Scale-up and be open to look out for synergies:

Remote working has been like an eye-opener for many in the PR industry where traditions still demand face to face, in-person interactions. By collaborating with an agency that is in the same geographic location as your clients, you can ensure that you provide the client with a first-hand, value-added relationship without compromising safety and health concerns.

Finding the right fit with an agency which has same values as yours and has considerable experience and proven expertise in the verticals that you wish to focus on will be the right strategy for scaling up of your operations rather than setting up a one or two people office far away from your area of operations.

As the world is moving towards a new normal, embracing change, being agile and yet maintain the PR spirit at the core of your business is paramount and a win-win strategy for both clients as well as public relations.

About the author:

Shiv Shankar – He is the Executive Director & Founder of K2 Communications. Under his astute leadership, K2 Communications has developed into a frontrunner among PR agencies that incessantly delivers excellent regional and national PR support to clients belonging to various sectors including government, IT, education, consumer, and healthcare.

Reputation management by K2 Communications published article by Shiv Devraaj for Reputation Today

The Art and Science of Reputation Management in PR

management Reputation management by K2 Communications published article by Shiv Devraaj for Reputation Today

58% of Fortune 500 executives believe PR reputation management should be a core part of every organisation’s marketing and branding strategy.*

Companies risk losing 22% of business when potential customers find one negative article on the first page of their search results and 70% of potential customers with four or more negatives.*

70% of consumers state that they would avoid buying a product if they don’t like the company behind it.*

Reputation is an important intangible asset of any organisation from a small kiosk to a billion-dollar organisation. Reputation is entrusted not just to a CEO but to every stakeholder of the organisation. Most of the CEOs do think that it’s one of the major risk factors to be taken into consideration but, many of them don’t have the reputation risk plan in place.

Public relation is a discipline that looks after reputation.  A detailed PR reputation management plan and sustained effort are needed, to establish the brand the public wants to see, through media exposure. A PRO should take ownership of the whole crisis and help the company and senior executives and pull them out of the frying pan. The idea here is to identify the crisis, not just by focusing on what and how it has happened, but, what is at stake – reputation, the paramount, the future of the company.

How reputation is affected?

In a world so advanced, with digitalisation and social media being the untamable beasts – a single act of negligence by the company stakeholders can gain huge attention in minutes, causing the impact on a large scale and downgrade the reputation. The best example of this is the current situation, where the world is undergoing a crisis – COVID19. Every story is revolving around the Coronavirus, there is panic all around. The public is emotional and putting on company news over the pandemic reeks out of self-centeredness and could negatively affect the branding.

One bad tweet or a Facebook meme shared by a stakeholder can have a huge effect on search engines. Negative stories on social media and reviewing platforms can have a huge impact not just on the company’s reputation but also on Google’s search engine result pages.

Is reputation measurable?

It is an intangible asset just like air. It has value and stakeholders use it to compare to competitors. But, is it measurable?

Well, it is. But there is no exact formula or procedure. Many scholars and practitioners have been working on this, creating models. One of them is “Corporate Reputation Quotient”  by Charles Fombrun (from the US) and Cees van Riel (from the Netherlands), which measures six drivers contributing to corporate reputation –emotional appeal, products and services, vision and leadership,  workplace environment, financial performance, and social responsibility. 

The business-owners measure the effect of a reputation crisis. The share price is a crude measure, which affects the company’s market capitalization. It provides an instant picture of the company’s value amongst the public.

Reputation Rebuilding through PR

Given the importance of reputation management in this fast pacing interconnected world, a PRO needs to follow three “R” policy – Repair, Rebuild, and Recover. It can be done via traditional PR as well as online reputation management (ORM).

The first thought is to focus on how to repair the damage before it develops further into a market rumour. PR manager should ask clients to be transparent and project that transparency through positive stories. Being transparent and being positive to what is kept on the table by the customer or reviewer is risky. But in the long run, it’s a saviour. Once the crisis starts quelling, one should initiate the rebuilding process. The idea here is to build a positive public perception of the business by starting a fresh PR reputation management campaign both offline and online. Lastly, help recover the business by ensuring to mitigate the effect of any negative reputation bombs by continuously monitoring, rapid response, strategic SEO, social media listening, etc.

Creating a good reputation takes time and effort. Be transparent; never falsify who you are just so people like you.

This article was originally published in Reputation Today


A Framework for measuring Corporate Reputation



About the author:

Shiv Shankar – He is the Executive Director & Founder of K2 Communications. Under his astute leadership, K2 Communications has developed into a frontrunner among PR agencies that incessantly delivers excellent regional and national PR support to clients belonging to various sectors including government, IT, education, consumer, and healthcare.

Public Relations Officers guidelines for corporate communications department during coronavirus crisis

Corporate Communications guidebook for companies to navigate coronavirus crisis

Public relations and corporate communications

Communication has always been at the root of all solutions. More so, during the Coronavirus crisis, Corporate Communications managers have an extremely vital role to play. As the organizations are looking up for strong and steady communications leadership- it is critical that your Corporate Communications Department helps address imminent concerns regarding safety and survival, work on stabilizing the business in the short term, and helping position it for future recovery.

The spread of novel coronavirus is not just a world-wide humanitarian and economic crisis, the events are unprecedented, with large-scale block quarantines, border closings, widespread lockdowns, and social distancing.

As everyone is looking at action points to “flatten the curve”, organizations have also braced themselves into concrete steps to protect employees, customers, suppliers, and bottom lines. With some companies losing up to 75% of their revenues in a single quarter and digital connectivity playing a fundamental role in continuity, even survival, of business operations.

As work from home becomes a global reality due to the coronavirus crisis, the need for frequent, transparent, and more engaging communications with internal and external customers has become paramount.

Public Relations Officers guidelines for corporate communications department during coronavirus crisis

Shifting roles

With conditions changing daily, if not hourly, the uncertainty about the future has made the role of the Corporate Communications Department (CCD) extremely vital for survival in the long term. The Public Relations Officer, or PRO for short, is the leader, after all, who most directly contributes to the intellectual capital of the company, the true strength of any organization.

Employees, investors, as well as all the contributors in the growth of the company in conducive times, must be kept closer now more than ever. Our experience in helping clients through both internal and external crises offers valuable actionable insights about the actions; PROs should take in the wake of the pandemic to put their companies on a sound footing and help reduce some of the fear and uncertainty.


Rewriting the communications code of conduct

Our in-house research team has reviewed a lot of case studies and the one thing that has come up on top is that the companies with strong communication fundamentals outperformed their competitors while coming out of previous crises –humanitarian, economic as well as socio-political.

While the present pandemic has been unprecedented and an entirely new rule book is being formed- with a new genre of communications being the new normal. Here are some points to ponder for communications during the Coronavirus Crisis –


Persistence and perseverance- How to address the imminent crisis

Companies have had to close their doors, albeit temporarily as the COVID-19 spread – leaving them under severe liquidity crunch and financial distress. As consumers are unable to make discretionary purchases, the communications team’s top responsibility is to straighten the messages going out. Now is not the time to hide behind the desks and cabins, but to roll up your sleeves and sit down with the marketing team and chalk out an action plan. Transparency in conveying the customers about your constraints in a tone that is emphatic yet sympathetic should be the core action plan.


Scenario planning

PROs can develop different scenarios based on the situations and potential paths of the spread, and roll out an internal as well as external communications plan.

A crisis is the most suitable time to bring out the leadership mettle. A leader who can be seen as standing with his team and managing the various challenges leading from the front would be perceived as strong, committed, and successful in all circumstances- even when the tides turn back in your favour! Bring out the small success stories and random acts of kindness as well as grit and determination of your team. From the office staff that is managing calls from home to finance team tapping into whatever available resources, your internal and external customers, as well as investors, would like to know how your team is facing the obstacles head-on.



All the teams of your company- finance, marketing, operations, and strategy, would need to rely on a range of scenario frameworks rather than individual KRAs. As different leaders present their point of view about two or maybe more scenario frameworks with multiple eventualities, it’s the role of the communications manager to come up with a uniform outlook that can include all concerns expressed as well as help articulate clear thresholds or trigger points or alternative action plans.


A well-networked professional PR company can bring the much needed unbiased approach to your communications strategy. Public relations firms that are experienced in crisis management have their ears to the ground as well as help cultivate excellent media relations to boost its reach and potential- reducing PROs’ concern of reaching the right platform at the right time to a considerable extent.

The goal should be to focus on the crisis’s actual and projected effects on the company, the actions being taken to protect the business interests and any changes to earlier earnings commitments.

Communication has always been the key to resolve any tricky situation, and the current situation is no different from the same. Connections with investors, suppliers, employees, as well as customers, are essential to demonstrate that the leadership is taking fast and resolute action based on their best understanding of the situation as well as their efforts.

A strategic communications plan worked out with the help of your public relations expert will help set a formal chain of command as well as priorities throughout the organization as well as act as a reinforcement of the leadership communiqué for all departments and business units to understand “why this matters now” and what is their specific role.

In order to be termed “Resilients” upon the return post this crisis, a strong communications strategy is the way forward.

Click here to understand more about how your company can weather out the pandemic and rise up a brand

About the author:

Shiv Shankar – He is the Executive Director & Founder of K2 Communications. Under his astute leadership, K2 Communications has developed into a frontrunner among PR agencies that incessantly delivers excellent regional and national PR support to clients belonging to various sectors including government, IT, education, consumer, and healthcare.

Golden Chariot- A Golden Opportunity to test our PR mettle

Golden Chariot- A Golden Opportunity to test our PR mettle


“A good PR story is infinitely more effective than a front-page ad”

Richard Branson

The news that Indian Railways is going to resume The Golden Chariot – an alternative for Southern India to the Palace on Wheels for Golden Triangle up in the north, brought back a litany of memories of an uphill task that our team executed to perfection.

Déjà vu

Almost a decade ago, K2 Communications Pvt Ltd was proud to be associated with KSTDC to help position Karnataka Government’s gem-in-crown project -‘The Golden Chariot’- in a higher brand-bracket. Through a well-chalked out process for Press and Media Relations, our PR team was able to bring out the best-known features of the brand, and garner a lot of positive press publicity with media junkets that ensured experience traveling.

Press and Media Activity results by K2 Communications for The Golden Chariot train by Indian Railways

The game plan that our team came up with had three major milestones

  1. Reinforcing brand ‘The Golden Chariot’, underlining luxury, comfort-and high-end fine dining traditions onboard a running tourist train
  2. Positioning ‘The Golden Chariot’ as the ultimate luxurious travel on wheels with real value for money proposition in terms of travel, but without losing its ‘high-end’ charm.
  3. The popularization of the brand to reach out to domestic as well as international tourists

The proof of the pudding:

With our concerted efforts to organize a press contingent(media junket) to travel on-board and report a firsthand experience to the public, as well as ensuring that the postponement of the launch didn’t dampen the enthusiasm and media frenzy that was created, our team managed to pull off this feat and helped establish the brand organically. The service received a lot of rave reviews in India as well as internationally.

Its relaunch is indeed welcome news for travelers, heritage enthusiasts, as well as Indian Railways, as it is also a much-needed measure to promote the culturally rich heritage of the Southern peninsula with a route covering myriad destinations like Bandipur National Park, Mysore, Halebidu, Chikmagalur, Hampi, Badami-Pattadakal-Aihole and Goa in a week-long sojourn.

About the author:

Shiv Shankar – He is the Executive Director & Founder of K2 Communications. Under his astute leadership, K2 Communications has developed into a frontrunner among PR agencies that incessantly delivers excellent regional and national PR support to clients belonging to various sectors including government, IT, education, consumer, and healthcare.

How RBI could have done things differently in the latest scam

Boosting Public Confidence Through Communication And Transparency: Say ‘Yes’ To PR Mediums

Communications strategy for public institutions

All the frauds and scams in past have shown how, a loophole in the system was ignored till the storm hit (this time its YES Bank), and that is where RBI needs strong PR tactics that work to restore its relations with the public.

Public Relations (PR) starts with a very crucial word- “Public”. Ironically, the banks in India are also called PSBs, either public or private sector banks. The rise and rise of Yes Bank and then the sudden black hole it created in terms of not just the public’s hard-earned money but also an investor and general public’s confidence into the entire banking system in general, and RBI in particular.

We all know how demonetization pushed most of us towards relying on banking systems and financial inclusion – somewhat readily but a lot unwillingly. While baby boomers saw things like emergency curtailing banking growth, Gen X saw our banking bandwagon barely teetering its way through incessant frauds, scams and subprime crisis of 2008. Since then, the financial giants like IL& FS and decade-old HFCs like DHFL have only fallen apart. One leading to another and causing an even bigger mess to clean in its wake.

United they fall, and the aftermath

As many as 44 companies belonging to 10 large business groups reportedly accounted for bad loans of Rs 34,000 crore of Yes Bank. Nine firms of Anil Ambani Group reportedly owed Rs 12,800 crore while Essel Group had unpaid loans of Rs 8,400 crore. Other companies on the list include DHFL Group, Dewan Housing Finance Corporation Ltd, Jet Airways (India) Ltd., Cox & Kings, and Bharat Infra.

Even though the CEA has assured that compared to the global average, Indian banks maintain 80% more money in honoring their liabilities towards the customers- the deposits, despite the stringent measures, regular auditing, and a hawk’s eye on NPAs by RBI, As the events unfold, investors are soon going to realize that Yes Bank has done nothing wrong, because re-routing your own money to settle a higher category NPA via a legitimate lending deal is not really a crime, and that’s what they did!

Toppling Investor Confidence

SBI at the behest of RBI is an unlikely savior for a private sector bank which was once considered to be the darling of Dalal Street punters.

On the day the crisis started unfolding, BSE Banking Sector Index was the top loser closing 1,146 points lower at 31,988 taking into account the hit YES Bank took after takeover from RBI. A clear indication of not just faith, but investor confidence in the banking system has also taken a massive blow, and it will be a while we recover from the same. While deposits in Yes Bank got eroded overnight, the day saw a D-street carnage the country hadn’t seen since 1942.

Would you blame an average Indian, who is feeling let down and is already planning to withdraw all his money and return it to unscrupulous private lenders, chit funds and Ponzi schemes, or a simple steel cupboard safe in his 1-room home?

The majority of Indians- barely earning a little over Rs 1 Lac per year ($1670) but had been convinced to “keep it safe” in a banking system and still grappling with the acronyms like PMJDY and everything now routed through banks are draining the ATMs dry, knocking at the doors of other banks and asking to be allowed to withdraw in hoards.

Fool me twice, thrice and many times more!

IL&FS, PNB, PMC, DHFL, and now YES, the list just got longer, with the majority of culprits going scot-free or at least enjoying their freedom- From Mallyas to Modis and now, Kapoors, everyone is engaged in pointing fingers while avoiding jail sentences. Yes, bank is a clear case of banking fraud, and RBI owes it to investors, bank customers, corporates as well as to not just come clean, but be a bit more transparent and forthcoming, and start the painful process of restoring the lost faith urgently.

Why RBI needs a sound Public Relations Strategy and how to go about it

Reserve Bank of India has, in the past taken up a lot of initiatives to restore public confidence in its ability to tide over crises. The Supreme Court and the RBI are the only two institutions in the country known to stand against the populist regimes and do what is right for the majority of democracy. If quick actions are not taken, the money will be following public faith and drain out of the banking system. An economy already reeling with high inflation liquidity crunch can not possibly suffer another blow in terms of investor confidence, because often, they are the last to return to roost after a crackdown. Like TRAI, RBI could also follow the Open house methodology to boost public confidence to clear all issues pertaining to banking.

Time to flex some PR muscles

The face of redemption:

For starters, RBI needs a more genial, public face that understands the worry of the common man as well as the nuances of labyrinthine banking laws. An open statement sharing the what, when, and why of the whole incident, followed by a step-by-step procedure to salvation will set the tone right and bring back some colour of hope into the drained faces.

Stronger regulations & checks:

Secondly, and most importantly- A mandatory surprise audit of all the banks, just like NBFCs are subjected to, is the order of the day. Any loan book that grows more than 15% YOY in a market that has been facing liquidity crunch needs to be scrutinized and dissected for tell-tale signs.

Whistleblowers and alarm bells are heard in time, and rewarded:

RBI should announce a reporting system where the smallest cog in the wheel of banks could have the right and access to reporting the minutest blip on the seismograph. Often, the small shocks are the warning signs and ignoring them often proves fatal, like this one. It is indeed hard to believe that the entire team at Yes Bank wasn’t aware of, or was not privy to what was going on. People don’t generally report if they fear they will have to face the heat.

Proactive and not reactive:

RBI must keep issuing public statements in the press and social media regularly, simplifying banking jargon, explaining the measures are taken and their immediate as well as far-reaching implications.

In today’s heavily connected world, news, especially bad news, is like a wildfire, and if the plan is to keep only your yard (banking & financial system) safe, it will not just be a PR disaster, but a potential threat to the economic growth of our country.

All the frauds and scams in past have shown how, a loophole in the system was ignored till the storm hit, and that is where RBI needs strong PR tactics that work to restore its relations with the public.

This article was originally published in Everything Experiential, from BW COMMUNITIES -BW Communities is an array of business news websites targeted towards niche communities and readers across various industries -an online portal of Business World Magazine. Click here for the original link or follow the URL below.


About the author:

Shiv Shankar – He is the Executive Director & Founder of K2 Communications. Under his astute leadership, K2 Communications has developed into a frontrunner among PR agencies that incessantly delivers excellent regional and national PR support to clients belonging to various sectors including government, IT, education, consumer, and healthcare.

The first rule of Entrepreneurship- Cultivate meaningful friendships!

Public relations firm K2 communications provides supports to companies, businesses and CEOs for image management and crisis handling. Our wet-blanketing strategies are drawn from years of experience in the field of PR
Looking for support before its too late?http://www.k2communications.in/Contact-us.html

So much has been said and written about the legacy Mr. V G Siddhartha, Founder, and CMD, Cafe Coffee Day has left behind. His entrepreneurial skills are eulogized. The odd interviews of this extremely shy and reticent man are being shared by news channel lucky enough to get him to speak then.

The man might have thought that this is the end, but his story has just begun.

Things are entirely different and much easier to manage when you are just a nobody with eyes full of dreams. There are more than 250000 coffee growers in India. No one thought of packaging it as a beverage and serve it in style before a maverick Siddhartha asked his father to play the gamble on him. Little did he know that he would be making cafes a cult, and drinking coffee an ultimate style statement! Young or old, everyone felt that a lot could happen over coffee. And for a young Siddhartha, a lot did happen.

When you follow your dreams so passionately, you are bound to climb the ladder of success. But while you are racing ahead and reaching to the top, it does get lonelier and lonelier. There is no sane voice except yours to guide you. No wonder that VGS found himself surrounded with people who were ready to invest in his dreams, but no one to share his nightmares.

It does get lonely at the top. But is this the way a genuine, hard-working man deals with the allegations, blames and censure coming his way?

Thousands of coffee growers, who pledged to sell their crop only to VGS, are now stunned. They pledged allegiance because they had faith in the man, his stature, and his integrity. In the last 16 years of my career as a PR professional, I have never come across a CEO who would defend his honor with his life.

It also makes me think of the futility of it all. We all have heard- “Winners never quit, quitters never win.” Isn’t jumping off a bridge, leaving a confounded 5000+  employees, a bereaved family and old parents too numb to react, quitting?

What could make a man, who remained undeterred with so many lives’ challenges, the threat from global competitors, literally jump off the cliff? Wasn’t there a better way?

As the head of a 23-year-old company, having more than 5000 employees and a revenue of Rs 4,331 crores (US$630 million) in 17-18, you have a public image to live by. People looked up to VGS as a beacon of hope, possibilities, and immense desire to succeed. Scores of entrepreneurial dreams were seen, drafted, and executed in the coffee shops he set up. A lot did happen over coffee for several generations, which found common ground to come together and share a cup of Joe.

It’s hard not to see the stark irony – There was another Siddhartha who relinquished his thrown, his riches, and his newborn- in search of greater knowledge. His restlessness to achieve oneness with the Supreme being fuelled his quest for wisdom, earning him the title of Buddha the enlightened one. He did come back to impart whatever he learned- selflessly giving back to the very same society that waited patiently for him, looked up to him.

 And then there is the Siddhartha of today, who took the extreme step, never to return — leaving a huge question mark over his legacy.

Could he hear the same voice in his head that had always guided him till now?

Was it so lonely at the top that he didn’t have a single friend who had no interest in his business and his success? Someone who wasn’t looking for a partnership, but just a genuine, innocent friendship- someone he could open up his heart to?

 Before we say that the system failed him, we must remember that we, as a society, failed him. In the whole world, there wasn’t a single person who could understand what the man was going through, someone he could trust to reach out to, who could tell him not to take the extreme step and that there is always a way out.

With my extensive experience and long term relationships with pivotal clients, I can vouch for the fact that you will not have a greater friendship than a fearless PR manager by your side. In more ways than one, PR people tell you what you NEED to hear, rather than just beating your drum to create enough noise. Because we are the ones, who need to deal with crises for you, help in image enhancement, and creation of long-term relationships.

Even before I realized PR was my calling, I had always been big on cultivating lifetime friendships. I am still in touch with my childhood friends, my high school and college batchmates,ex-colleagues, employees and have always been there long before we all moved to social media.

I have realized that the work I do in PR is a lot like what it takes to cultivate good friendships. To me, relationships come first, and profit comes later. And there are quite a few PR principles that rely entirely on developing deep and lasting relationships.

A famous phrase goes- “Familiarity breeds contempt”. VGS was a friend to many, but no one was a friend to him, in the end, it seems. Going away in disgrace, leaving unanswered questions and not fighting back wasn’t something he would have wanted for himself if he had that one sane voice of a single friend, telling him to stop, breathe, and listen- There is always a better way!

VGS didn’t just rewrite entrepreneurship code in the country. He left a stark reminder for all the entrepreneurs- when you reach the top, make sure you have someone who has your back. Invest as much in your life and friends as you would in your business.

Entrepreneurship needs Friendships that rise above vested interests.

About the author:

Shiv Shankar – He is the Executive Director & Founder of K2 Communications. Under his astute leadership, K2 Communications has developed into a frontrunner among PR agencies that incessantly delivers excellent regional and national PR support to clients belonging to various sectors including government, IT, education, consumer, and healthcare.

Hitting a Six- How brands can knock PR issues out of the park with sports

In India, cricket is a religion, and cricketers are Gods for most of its followers. This review examines how IPL set up a trend that is now creating sports stars out of cricketers, and the rise of Indian sports leagues.

According to BARC PreView Data, the IPL’s reach in Hindi-Speaking Markets (HSM) grew by 30% to 79 million on the opening day of the 11th season, as compared to 60 million a year ago.

Even before the dates and schedules for the 11th edition were announced, 20 brands had joined the IPL bandwagon. Every match in IPL today is worth same, even more than the English Premier League (EPL), which is around for more than 2 decades, according to The Telegraph, UK.

As brands prepare for a battle on and off the field, the biggest gainer is Star India, which acquired the IPL’s media rights in 2018 with a consolidated bid of Rs 16,347.5 Cr,  for 5 years and gave every Indian from 8 -80 years  age an unbelievable sportainment (sports+entertainment) atmosphere, whether they are in the stadium or their drawing rooms.

To quote BCCI CEO, Rahul Johri-

“The belief in the tournament signifies, that this union of cricket and entertainment are known as the VIVO IPL has not only provided opportunities to cricketers and fan as in entertainment but also brands with an ideal platform to market themselves and reach out to maximum customers’…”

 Source: Exchange4media

Super Sixes-Going Vernacular!

Leveraging on human insights with a universal appeal across age, sex and gender seem to be the motto of Star India this IPL season. It reached out to 700 Million + viewers across screens in 2018, when its multi-language strategy in paid off with a boost of around 22% in the regional viewership last year.

IPL was broadcasted in 6 languages across 10 network channels that included Hindi, English, Tamil, Telugu, and Bangla. This year, the network is telecasting matches on as many as 24 channels including  Star Sports channels across languages along with Kannada, Malayalam and Marathi channels.

Going all out across multiple platforms and multi-language feeds have helped in adding recognition to IPL as a pan-India brand, and it also helps regional network attract better advertising revenue targeting the right audience, resulting in better ROI.

How brands can leverage sports in their PR strategy

With a smart mix of the brand promise and relevant and relatable content, the brands are coming forward with creative thinking and coming up with content that can stand out, and reach a broader audience base. IPL is a cricket festival that attracts viewers’ attention for nearly 60 days, a huge window of opportunity for any PR campaign.

Over the years, IPL viewership has steadily grown in both stadium and TV mediums, and most noteworthy aspect is a growing interest from women and children alike. The short format of the game creates loyal audiences, and the perfect match timings, combined with unique packaging of experiences like live music, cheerleaders, food & beverages, hospitality, and merchandise. IPL provides cricket with entertainment and serves as a perfect proposition to build any brand or enhance brand recall across the country.

An organization must evaluate whether the association with any sport resonates with their image and helps to strengthen the brand connect, as no single platform can provide complete desired visibility or ROI for a PR activity.

Looking beyond cricket

Since investments in IPL are high though they work exceptionally well when it comes to changing perceptions, companies can look beyond cricket towards other sports to give stature to their brand. While cricket continues to rein the minds of Indians, there are other sports too that have started getting attention like Kabbadi, Football, Tennis, Hockey, Badminton and marathons/cross country runs. Though it is unrealistic to compare the reach of these sports with that of IPL, but with changing the attitude and consumer preferences, the companies can look at exploring these options as well. The Pro Kabbadi League is one such example, and events like marathon and runs for social causes have become big PR platforms, giving brand continued exposure over time.

Source: The Rise of Indian Sports Leagues- BARC India- https://www.barcindia.co.in/resources/pdf/BARC-Rise%20of%20Indian%20Sports%20Leagues.pdf

Leveraging sports for PR

According to The Economic Times, The first 2 weeks of the IPL tournament had 345 million viewers tuning in from across the country while television viewership delivered 29.8 million average impressions for the first two weeks, registering a growth of 21%.

Tournaments across various sports are valuable team-building exercises for players as well as the public. Moreover, multi-day events significantly boost regional economies. Consider the example of food delivery apps which saw a significant jump in the traffic during match timings.

“We saw a 30% rise in traffic and about 60% of our daily food orders were being placed after 6:30 PM which coincides with the match timings. We also saw a 15% increase in the average basket size during the IPL 2014,” said Rohit Chadha, Co-founder of the popular food delivery app, Foodpanda. Whereas online restaurant guide Zomato saw a 40% rise in its online traffic on the IPL match days in 2014.

Thanks to sporting events like IPL, most sports today have garnered a loyal fan following, and the athletes and sportspersons today have earned themselves the tag of worthy investment for marketers and advertisers. The growing mass appeal of these players and consistent regional support provides small, local brands build brand saliency and sustained growth in positive PR value over the years.

IPL has shown how personalization of experiences at a micro-scale, sophisticated geo-targeting, tailored content, and real-time user engagement provides valuable behavioral insights and astounding inputs for future PR strategies, along with strengthening a brand’s position in the market.

About the author:

Shiv Shankar – He is the Executive Director & Founder of K2 Communications. Under his astute leadership, K2 Communications has developed into a frontrunner among PR agencies that incessantly delivers excellent regional and national PR support to clients belonging to various sectors including government, IT, education, consumer, and healthcare.

Dare To Win- How We did it in PR

Entrepreneurship is a voyage of self-discovery, which requires the optimum blend of hard work, financial acumen, the right resources at the right time, timing and luck. And most importantly—pluck. I am reminded of Walt Disney’s quote here:

Entrepreneurship is a story of passion, joy, angst, learning and unlearning. It’s definitely not an easy journey and no one can teach you how to traverse this journey. While books and management programs can give you broad guidelines on how to run a business, they cannot prepare you for the road ahead.

All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them.

Courage was my ticket to hop onto the entrepreneurship bandwagon 16 years ago. As the chief driver of K2, I have had the proud privilege of steering the company through many ups and downs and twists and turns with fortitude, thus embracing success along the way.

We believe every courageous step counts and K2’s journey is ample testimony to that.

The name stands tall

Let me start from the very beginning. The name ‘K2 Communications’ was coined after several deliberations, for we wanted a bold name that would stand the test of time.

Our gutsy vision of being second to none was inspired by the second highest peak in the world K2. ‘K2’ stands for ‘Knowledge Kingdom’, for I believe PR is all about knowledge. Over the years, the K2 team has developed a wisdom-based approach coupled with an uncompromising attitude towards ethical practices, which has earned the company a good reputation in the business.

Courage runs in our team

K2 has always believed in injecting fresh blood into the system, as new people bring in fresh

perspectives and the ability to shake established patterns. Whether it is working with clients or the media, our team has always risen to the challenge with audacity and confidence.

In the last 16 years, K2 has built an army of talented people who can adapt to any environment. This has helped us bag marquee clients like Wipro and Reliance Communications and subsequently live up to their expectation in every way.

Adapting to changes

The PR landscape is vastly different from what it was when we started our journey. The money market in 2003 was tight, and PR did not woo investors’ attention. But we did not let this deter our resolve to win as we managed to not only attract attention but also carve a defining niche for ourselves.

PR is all about packaging & managing information flow. A PR professional should know to converse well and mingle within the industry and become popular amongst the media. A well informed PR executive is most preferred by the client and media alike.

With the changing landscape in PR and social media taking a centre stage , a skill set in Digital Marketing and creative content is gaining momentum and today’s need of hour for all PR entrepreneurs.

The new millennium saw us ride through the dotcom bubble burst and recession subsequently with smart strategies and determination and emerged triumphant. 

Today, we are witnessing challenges of a different kind. The technology revolution is disrupting the industry in mind-blowing proportions and we are gearing ourselves to face a world where AI, IoT and blockchain will soon become the norm.

Prepping for the road ahead

As K2 stands at the cusp of an exciting growth trajectory, there is only one way forward: arise and adapt! We are eager to innovate and improvise to stay relevant and remain on top of the game. We are ever ready to learn—from experience and from the best in the business.  We will be the change the world wants to see. With digital media taking center-stage,we are investing in upskilling ourselves in social media marketing and generating creative content.

Needless to say that, in all this, we will dare to go that one step forward and create significant impact. But let me assure you that, even as we embrace new tech and skills,there will be no compromise on core hygiene factors such as commitment toquality and ethics and nurturing long-term relationships.

Birthdays are also a reminder to express our sincere gratitude to all our stakeholders- media, clients, partners, and peers, for their contribution in building this institution. It would be ungracious of me if I didn’t thank the K2 alumni, former colleagues, who have contributed in building our brand and are still hoisting our flag high while on their journey to different milestones. As we keep building fond memories, here at K2, every stone that paved the way to success matters. Thank you all for growing in this journey together!

About the author:

Shiv Shankar – He is the Executive Director & Founder of K2 Communications. Under his astute leadership, K2 Communications has developed into a frontrunner among PR agencies that incessantly delivers excellent regional and national PR support to clients belonging to various sectors including government, IT, education, consumer, and healthcare.

The balancing act- PR- the place where women are on par with men

As women try to find more balance in every sphere of their lives, how is PR industry faring?

The Public Relations (PR) industry has been one of the key sectors which have continuously pushed the envelope for greater inclusivity of women. According to a study conducted by Bureau of
labour statics, the PR industry in the US comprises of almost 61.3% of women “specialists” which is a far cry from the business and financial sectors, where women make up 43.6 percent of the workforce.

Every year, International Women’s day hopes to honor the women for their contribution to society and the world. None has made such an impact as the theme for this year- striving to achieve #BalanceforBetter.

We all have seen how a colleague was denied a good pay hike because she was soon to go on maternity leave, or two employees joining at the same level had varied pay structure because one of them was a female. As we applaud the little victories of these heroes, we also need to put an end to the bias that exists against women only based on their gender.

Do you think a female tennis player works any lesser on her game than a male player? Why then, should there be a difference in the prize money? Or closer home, take the example of Indian Women’s cricket team. They are playing shoulder to shoulder to shoulder with their male counterparts in the same playgrounds under similar conditions, but the media coverage they get is maybe 2 or 4 columns while a full page is devoted to the men in blue.

Discrimination comes in many forms, and as the overt ways of discrimination are no more possible, the society has resorted to subtle means of conveying the message. A girl from the time she is born is expected to make way for her brother, whether he is younger or older to her. Women are allotted a “quota” in entrance exams at reputed colleges, which essentially means that they are “presumed” to not succeed on their merit and abilities. 

We have made women to vote, to opt for same courses as their male counterparts, to apply for same jobs, but then we create glass ceilings and boundaries and nominate them as “fairer, weaker sex” based on our patriarchal notions.

As the world enters the exciting phase of grassroots activism and global action in this regard, the call to build a gender-balanced world –  #BalanceforBetter resonates like a war-cry where equal opportunities also mean equal growth.

Public relations: A place where balance is nurtured and celebrated

Gender balance is an essential tool for the smooth functioning of society, communities and organizations. A balanced and diverse workforce also leads to increased business performance and higher retention of the employees. Acknowledging its benefits, today, more and more companies in several sectors are creating policies to create a more gender inclusive environment at their respective organizations.

The Public Relations industry (PR), has been one of the key sectors which have continuously pushed the envelope for greater inclusivity of women. According to a study conducted by Bureau of labour statics, the PR industry in the US comprises of almost 61.3% of women “specialists” which is a far cry from the business and financial sectors, where women make up 43.6 percent of the workforce.

Why is PR becoming a safe workplace haven for women?

There are several reasons why women are choosing PR as a career option, but several reasons such as people driven atmosphere, skill development, challenging roles and positions, relationship building and expanding lines of communications in which women have historically excelled have assisted in garnering women’s interest in this field.  

To be an expert PR specialist, PR professionals are not only required to be good listeners and excellent team players but also have to be strong advocates and believers of their client’s work. These qualities are often inherent in many women which makes them emphatic communicators and efficient managers. The Bureau of labour statics data further highlights that women run 30% of all PR agencies and 59% of all PR managers are female showcasing how over the decades the industry has helped in empowering women in taking up leadership roles.

The ground rules for achieving a better balance:

PR firms can further increase women participation and can create more opportunities for them by adopting a few measures –

  • Increasing flexibility: Maintaining a balance between their careers and life often becomes a huge challenge for women as several responsibilities like eldercare and childcare often fall on their shoulders. Many women prefer opting for workplaces which offer more flexibility.  Hence by providing benefits like a paid maternity leave, four-day working week and telecommuting can further assist the PR agencies in not only retaining the right talent but also in attracting one. For example, by not trying to schedule a meeting after 7:30 P.M. can further increase the ease for women.
  • Acknowledging the hard work and celebrating success: Often shy and sensitive, women have been found to less likely self-promote themselves and their work. Initiatives such as sharing the news of a new client win by a woman employee, a successful campaign which was headed by a woman employee and promoting her contribution to a company on the various social media handles of the organization can be a huge confidence booster for the women employees and can encourage them to be loyal to their company.

Gender-inclusive policies like these will further promote gender equity and growth in the industry.

This year on the occasion of International Women’s Day, let’s take steps to create more opportunities for women in the workplace and work towards building a gender-neutral ecosystem.

About the author:

Shiv Shankar – He is the Executive Director & Founder of K2 Communications. Under his astute leadership, K2 Communications has developed into a frontrunner among PR agencies that incessantly delivers excellent regional and national PR support to clients belonging to various sectors including government, IT, education, consumer, and healthcare.

My language, My rules: Integrating Vernacular Languages in Public Relations in India

“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.’

Nelson Mandela

With 23 major languages in India, written in 13 different scripts, with over 720 dialects, linguistic diversity has never been a bigger challenge for public relations professionals anywhere in the world.

There are sound reasons for the existence of such diverse languages, yet most public relations companies appear to be intimidated by the complexity of the socio-demographic landscape.

Public relations executives swear by taking the safe route and cater for majority understanding, creating all campaigns and communications in English, only to realise that perhaps they should also be valuing the vernacular, creating content in mother-tongue and cashing in on the ensuing return-on-investment (ROI).

Value of vernacular communications

Whether it is writing a press release or a pitch note, authored articles or trend stories, use of effective vernacular communication in public relations helps inculcate cultural insight, nuance, and context. It helps a PR manager show that their client and the brand understand and resonate with their consumers.

Vernacular public relations can help build long-lasting and profitable relationships of trust with their market. Vernacular communication has the potential to add huge value to a brand. Global brands can successfully localise, and local brands can become more relevant to their target market if they talk in the language their customers can relate to.

Using local language helps in ensuring a high level of engagement, respect, and understanding of the targeted customer. The emotional connect that vernacular comments, quotes bring has a positive impact on the overall brand equity.

Readers place extra value on native advertising and place trust in it in a way that they may not necessarily feel about an English campaign, as most people in the country still converse and often think, in their mother-tongue. Talking in their mother tongue instils a sense of pride and ownership which far outweighs the initial investment of creating a vernacular campaign.

Innovation in Public Relations in the era of globalisation

Vernacular public relations offers an opportunity to view a PR campaign from a new angle and provides a lot of scope for true innovations in the way communications are handled.

The world is becoming a global market for companies who have a common goal- to sell their products or services to as many consumers as possible. Globalisation also means that companies are now addressing an incredibly diverse target, with many different languages, and more importantly- cultures. International Public relations in the new millennium is about understanding, accommodating and harnessing the cultural differences for global brand building.

Telecommunication (Telcos) , consumer durable companies as well as FMCG companies today engage with the consumer speaking a language of the masses.

K2 communications recently achieved noteworthy success for a healthcare client by refocusing the PR strategy with a focus on vernacular media. By retargeting the release with regional translated press releases, the client witnessed astounding ROI on their PR efforts in a short period of time.

Vernacular Public Relations- a must have across all mediums

Native public relations is significant because the target audience is given eh content they want to consume. The challenge on content creation for vernacular language is on the written side, especially for native quotes, comments, and press releases. From the cost perspective as well, it is easier and cheaper to create vernacular language content. Your target audience no longer wants just to read, they want to watch contextual, real-time, user-generated content.

In a country where only 10% of total population interacts in English, and only 74% are literate, the message from a PR desk needs to jump through several hoops of communication distortion- illiteracy, lack of connecting, contextual misunderstanding or pure ignorance. The challenge is to remain impactful, relevant and cross the language barrier to reach the target audience without distorting the core values of a brand.

Vernacular content is also becoming a big mantra for successful digital marketing. Traditional PR methods neither expect nor ask the audience to think. However, they do want the public to respond- a feeling, an impression, a desire, and finally a commitment to take some action but ironically, unless all the fodder conveyed in a language the target understands, it does not result in any thought.

To effectively influence attitudes,  and outcomes in the public domain, including the crucial public opinion and reputation management, PR executives must keep a tab on the local pulse.

According to a 2017 report by KPMG and Google, “Indian Languages — Defining India’s Internet,” there were 234 million Indian-language internet users and 175 million English users in 2016. By 2021, the gap between the two groups is expected to widen. Users of Indian languages are expected to more than double to 536 million, while English users will increase to only 199 million. Nine out of 10 new internet users between 2016 and 2021 will use local languages, said the report. (Source)

As the Indian technology industry builds the internet for the next 1 billion non-English users friendlier public relations communication strategies are the only way forward for the brands looking to reach out.

It, therefore, makes business sense for Public relations companies to encourage their clients to become pan-Indian, linguistically.

  • Additional Resource: Ordinary People Can Reason: A Rhetorical Case for including Vernacular Voices in Ethical Public Relations Practice, Calvin L. Troup Journal of Business Ethics Vol. 87, No. 4 (Jul. 2009), pp. 441-453

  • Image source: Mashable India

    About the Author:

    Bulbul Satsangi – She is a Digital Strategy Consultant at K2 Communications Pvt. Ltd. A Finance professional in her previous avatar, Bulbul, entered the arena of content writing to soothe her creative energy. In the past 5 years, she has worked on all the aspects of the internet and helped many businesses establish their online identity.

The Changing PR Landscape

The suspension of two talented young cricketers recently due to their off-field demeanour points to two pertinent things: one, professionalism and success are not just about performance on the field, and two, the pressing need for sound PR (public relations) advice for people under constant public glare. Whatever is the nature of the recent episode, there is no denying the fact that professional efforts are required to build a public persona—to ensure the person is socially aware and responsible, gender sensitive, and doesn’t offend anyone.

Undoubtedly, PR has become a critical strategy of any brand management exercise, more so today than ever—whether the brand is a celebrity, a politician, a product, a service or even a nation.

But the role of PR today is not what it used to be many years ago. Today it has taken on a newer and bigger dimension, starkly different from what it used to be.

Transition in the last few decades

In the early 70s, the PROs, as they were called, were mostly seen in government departments, banks, and PSUs. They were mainly liaison officers, transport managers and sometimes travel agents too. In short, the PRO was an odd-jobs person with a status like an executive secretary to the chairman or managing director, accompanying the Bureaucrat to ministry level meetings.

Over the years, with outsourcing becoming more commonplace, PR was no longer an in-house function. As companies understood the importance of PR in the competitive marketplace, the task was outsourced to professional agencies well-versed in the art of managing people.

The mundane role became more well-defined. Media relations became a vital part of the job, comprising assignments like creating press release content, reaching out to the media, arranging press conferences and meetings of company spokespersons with the press, maintaining professional relationships with journalists, and attending to Public Affairs functions like lobbying with the government for positive business output & Media advocacy to influence the policy bills.

With so much conversation happening online, and in traditional media too, the role of the PR professional has transformed significantly to encompass a gamut of functions. The PR professional now has to don multiple hats, that of an image consultant, a brand manager, a liaison officer, and a media coordinator, among many others. This means PR professionals have to upskill themselves in technology, social media etiquette and other New Age skills.

Let’s look at the skills that modern-day PR professionals have to possess in their repertoire.

Articulate and analytical

Today, a PR executive has to be more understandable, interpret better and be a good conversationalist too.

Socially savvy and globally aware

As companies go global, PR professionals have to be more aware of what works in a genuinely international set-up, transcending boundaries of language, geography, and region. Knowledge of diverse cultures, awareness of social norms and nuances across different regions, and language proficiency are big plusses in today’s age.

Well-informed about various topics

People who engage in forums convene debates and moderate panel discussions are sought after by corporate.

Managing media      

Some PR functions never go obsolete, and this is one of them. PR professionals should be able to talk to the press and present their views in a professional manner and network with journalists across the world to strengthen the organisation with positive media imprints.

Media education

A good PR person should train CXOs on how to handle the media and draft relevant question-and-answer sessions for them. The training should involve aspects like gender sensitisation, social awareness and avoid stereotyping.

 Crisis handling

Today, thanks to technology, any situation can blow up into a crisis in no time. PR professionals should be able to think on their feet and rise to the situation to save the day without getting hassled.


Needless to say, the PR professional should be aware of trends in technology, social media, and digital marketing to advise clients appropriately.


No matter what changes have happened, one thing has remained constant. PR is still about people, and it will continue to be so. Thus, empathy, sensitivity, patience and tolerance are essential traits that need to be nurtured to maintain relationships for a lifetime.

Today, PR includes relationship management and image building by managing media and information flow. It also involves strong internal communication across all levels of the organisation, consulting, and engaging in trade body associations for networking opportunities. As a result of this, PR has become more complex, intricate and challenging than earlier.


Adapted from the article authored by Mr. Shiv Devraaj first published in Reputation Today – bit.ly/RTViews155 

Image Courtesy: <a href=”https://pngtree.com/”>Graphics from pngtree.com</a>

About the author:

Shiv Shankar – He is the Executive Director & Founder of K2 Communications. Under his astute leadership, K2 Communications has developed into a frontrunner among PR agencies that incessantly delivers excellent regional and national PR support to clients belonging to various sectors including government, IT, education, consumer, and healthcare.

Why current scenario of the Indian media market requires PR agencies to do self PR?

According to a recent report released by the Public Relations Consultants Associations of India (PRCAI), the PR Industry in the country grew by 18% in the year 2017 with digital, social media and content-driven campaigns contributing as much as 29% of the revenue for the PR firms. (Source)  The report further shows that the industry is expected to touch Rs. 2, 100 crores by the year 2020. Several sectors such as retail, automobile, and FMCG are currently the key revenue generators for the PR firms and are driving its growth.

Although the industry is witnessing a boom, the awareness about the industry and its services are still at a very nascent stage. In India, the industry is still budding, and its services are often confused with advertising. Consumed with securing coverage for clients, PRs are notoriously bad at promoting their agencies and are often underselling themselves. This happens to be one of the biggest dilemma PR companies are facing today.

The devotion to our clients and their products allows us to give the best in class service and deliver them adequate representation in their industries. However, the same is not repeated when it comes to service ourselves.

Today, Self-promotion for PR industries is just as important as securing successes for others. PRing in the current scenario doesn’t always refer to advocating for puff pieces.

An engaging video, content, online and offline social media campaign can not only help in getting traction for the company’s website but can also increase its awareness among the several stakeholders.

The world is moving beyond press releases and press conferences, and this highlights on the need for PR agencies to adopt an integrated approach to self PR. Taking measures to attract new audiences, building the reputations of our agencies, and increasing the understanding and awareness about the industry will also ensure in bringing an appreciation of PR as a whole.

Promoting our work also leads to better client relationships and helps in boosting the morale of the company. A case study on how an agency successfully managed a crisis if promoted across all media channels, for example, not only brings the agency in the limelight but also showcases the hard work and effort of the team, bringing them more recognition. Acknowledgment of the work done by the employees and their contribution towards the company’s success not only promotes happy culture in the company but also help in garnering the interest of the new clients and employees. Talent retention is one of the key challenges which the industry faces today and thus a ‘slap on the back’ by both the internal and external stakeholder’s acts as a confidence booster leading higher employee retention.

Experts in reputation management communications consultancy, brand building, content marketing, and social media, we as Public Relations representatives understand how the media works. It is time that agencies utilised these skills to benefit their organizations.

How should agencies adopt Self- PR?

  1. Allocating budget and resources for marketing the agency
  2. Brainstorm the story angles on which you like to promote your agency
  3. Sharing the success stories, media clips, testimonials and employee experiences on all the social media handles of the company including WhatsApp and Instagram
  4. Participating in industry stories if the company following unique employee-friendly practices, undertaking CSR activities and adopting any green initiatives etc.
  5. Making use of several innovative social media tools such as GIF’s, memes to put forward your views about a recent political, social or an industrial issue.
  6. Organizing summits featuring experts and leaders in the domain of marketing and

Communications to give insight to the people about the PR industry

‘If I were down to my last dollar I would spend it on public relations’ said Bill Gates. What we as the PR industry should realize is that he did not just mean it for his organization, but this is very much applicable to the PR industry as a whole.

Background Photos from <a href=”https://pngtree.com/freebackground/business-technology-background-material_415885.html”>pngtree.com</a>

About the author:

Shiv Shankar – He is the Executive Director & Founder of K2 Communications. Under his astute leadership, K2 Communications has developed into a frontrunner among PR agencies that incessantly delivers excellent regional and national PR support to clients belonging to various sectors including government, IT, education, consumer, and healthcare.

Who is writing the new code for Public Relations?

Public Relations professionals are tasked with a paradoxical feat- “How to create brands that are “human” and relatable to their customers, yet, employ the latest technological advancements like Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning into their strategies and services?”

We live in a fast-paced technology-enabled world where both- business and personal life is trying to thrive in a socially charged atmosphere. My truism could be another person’s “fake news.” Confrontation on social media is the latest game we all play, and any public comment could be misrepresented or misinterpreted, leading to serious tarnishing of a business’s reputation and brand.

A negative digital footprint which is the result of a single misstep on social media platforms used to spread messages far and wide may follow the company, the brand, and the leaders forever.

Companies and businesses are being extra cautious of what they do or say, but at the same time, they are vying for their customer’s attention. And while they struggle to gain mindshare as well as market share, they look for newer, creative ways to cut the noise and make their story an interesting value proposition for their customers. All this while the competitors are waiting with bated breath to pounce at a small error or copy their every move.

Who is a Communications Officer?

A CO/ CCO is a company’s eyes, ears, and mouthpiece to the outside world. They are actively engaged with employees, customers, partners, investors, media and other stakeholders and are in the best position to effectively manage a brand’s reputation.

By monitoring the pulse of the market, CO’s predict future trends or issues that might impact the business.

How the present scenario affects a CCO’s job ?

The role of the CO is not just restricted to generate attention and positive press coverage for the company anymore. The person at the help has to promote, protect and preserve the brand’s reputation.

In today’s high-tech, aggressive environment, protection needs to take precedence over promotion.

Apart from traditional media management, CO today has to broaden the scope of responsibilities to include non-traditional media engagement like establishing a strong social media presence and having more direct interactions with customers.

Today’s customers make choices about a brand based on criteria that go way beyond product features and price. Therefore, the communications with this audience, as well as internal communications within the company have to be expertly engineered by the communications officer.

Today, public relations for companies and businesses is all about creating a culture and vision that exists within as well as outside the organisation. A brand success story that everyone loves to be a part of and contribute.

6 Steps that CCO’s can take for an effective PR strategy

  1. Convey the vision & values of the company- Knowing what makes a company stand apart is important for today’s customers and is a part of a purchase decision. The CO has to share the company’s vision, purpose, values, belief, and strategy in a story that resonates with its customers.
  2. Engaging and empowering employees- Employees are the living breathing advertisements of a company’s corporate values.CO has to ensure that employees speak with one voice on the company’s vision and goals and has to collaborate with human resources and other functions to instil pride in the company they represent.
  3. Modernising the approach towards traditional media- The CO has to ensure that traditional media, especially the outlets that regularly cover industry news have a solid relationship. To make sure the company stays true to its character and values while shaping public opinion, the CO has to maintain a positive relationship with traditional media.
  4. Take the lead on owned media- Strong Co’s don’t wait on the sidelines for someone else to engage with their business, they take the lead with compelling digital content and attract new customers while maintaining a relationship with existing ones. Leading the pack to develop and deploy thought leadership to influence perception and behaviours.
  5. Double up as the communications coach– Not every one of the top brass in the company is an expert communicator. The CO may have to guide the senior management on how they can manage their own personal brand, and how to engage with various stakeholders to maintain consistency
  6. Take risks-The only risk to fear is the risk you didn’t take.” Nothing great can happen without risk. The CO challenges conventional wisdom, seek out opportunities that competitors might find too risky to attempt and ask uncomfortable questions. Leading by example, and providing support and counsel to the CEO and leadership team without fear is one of the most essential traits today.

Now more than ever, strong communications counsel and assessment of opportunities and threats for the company from the CCO is of chief importance to establish an impactful PR strategy.

With 15 years of experience in managing top-class PR for its clients, K2 has established itself as a one-stop solution provider for all PR related services. Contact us today!

About the Author:

Bulbul Satsangi – She is a Digital Strategy Consultant at K2 Communications Pvt. Ltd. A Finance professional in her previous avatar, Bulbul, entered the arena of content writing to soothe her creative energy. In the past 5 years, she has worked on all the aspects of the internet and helped many businesses establish their online identity.

New Year resolutions for the Indian PR Professional

“Resolutions are meant to be broken,” you say? How about these that can not only be kept but fulfilled? A PR professional’s checklist for the New Year.
  •  Spend more time with your digital followers:

A post here, a like there, won’t really work anymore. Be more involved; social media is only getting bigger and more sophisticated in the New Year, people can see through your networking sham. Remember-

Your Network = Your Net Worth

  • Lose weight of dead practices and processes

AI is your next best friend. Make yourself AI ready. You will thank me for this one in the future. Your embracing the new technology will unburden you of the dead weight of mundane, no-brainer tasks that can be taken care of by machines. Explore and fix black holes in your processes that sap away your creative energy and time.

  • Work harder on the brand image

Even the PR needs the right PR to flourish. Bring the smart strategies closer to home, practice what you preach. Create a brand image for your company that is instantly relatable with the services you offer. More importantly, live up to your brand’s ethos and maintain your brand identity all around the year.

  • Have a more productive relationship with the clients

Another year of servicing clients and helping them achieve their business goals with effective PR. Connecting with clients at all levels across all platforms is super challenging, but it is most rewarding too. Making inroads with their in-house comms team and having an open channel of communication will ensure all are on the same page, working towards the same goal. Always think long-term, and earn loyalty points from your clientele!

  • Take diversity seriously

PR thrives on making sense from the

chaos. Bring the chaos into your office. Welcome people from diverse backgrounds into your team. Build a team that truly reflects the values your PR firm stands for. Gender, experience, backgrounds all help in bringing a unique perspective to every assignment. Diverse is the way forward.

  • Be real, don’t fake- while pitching to media

A pet peeve of most journalists is that PR professionals are least enthusiastic about their client’s news, but try and fake it as if it is the top headline for the next day!  Pitch it in the right light, and journalists will be more than happy to take it forward! Keep it real, and don’t fake what you don’t believe in. Personalise (aka frame) journalist’s pitches to get the best results, for example.

  • Nurture your alumni relations

“Once a PR professional, always a PR professional.” Touch base with all your alumni, you need them to be your ex-insiders now looking from outside. They could be your best critics, helping you in course correction because they have seen and lived inside your world. To broaden horizons, get your alumni back in your active contacts book. Interact, meet, network, discuss, there is a lot they can still do for you!

  • Create a healthy work-life balance

Go out, have fun, grab life with both hands, and live it to your fullest. That is the only way to bring the best of you at your work, day-after-day for the next full year. Better time management, focussing, and prioritizing will help you keep your clients, as well as your family, happy!

  • Keep your  word for everything you do

Whether it is your professional or personal matter, your word is your reputation. If you make a commitment, fulfill it. You should contribute towards the growth and the major objective and responsibility on your shoulders is to increase business, or in other words- concentrate on the growth trajectory.

In his bestselling book Psycho-Cybernetics, author Dr. Maxwell Maltz says the “human mind takes almost exactly 21 days to adjust to a major life change.” Even though his research was originally on traumatic life events, he claims the principle applies “universally” and works just as well on positive changes.

If you can stick with it for only 21 days, you will have an excellent chance to succeed in achieving your goal because you changed just one habit. Commitment is key!

What is your new year resolution? Do you have an action plan for it? Leave us a comment!

Shiv Shankar – He is the Executive Director & Founder of K2 Communications. Under his astute leadership, K2 Communications has developed into a frontrunner among PR agencies that incessantly delivers excellent regional and national PR support to clients belonging to various sectors including government, IT, education, consumer, and healthcare.

©K2Communications Pvt Ltd. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction of excerpts or parts of this article without expressed permission from and due credit to the author is strictly prohibited.

Letter to Santa from Team Healthcare @K2

Wishlist from a PR agency for its healthcare vertical

Dear Santa

Every year, children around the world write to you for their favourite things. While you go through everyone’s wish-list, our PR agency wishes something too for our healthcare sector! If our healthcare clients could wish, here is what they would wish Santa to deliver.

  • Please help us in helping people in rural and underserved areas receive quality healthcare. If insurance could start covering telehealth and telemedicine, those who live in more remote areas would have the same opportunities and choice of doctors like the rest of us.
  • As you know from working with your elves and reindeer, right communication is the key. We hope that in the New Year, doctors have all the tools they need to better communicate with each other so they can manage our care holistically.
  • We want you to deliver extra smiles and encouragement to the older population in our country. Laughter is the best medicine, after all.
  • Please help with educating people! Prevention is better than cure, please spread this message to everyone!
  • Tell people to not shy away from helping accident victims through the golden hour.
  • Pledge today, your organs could save lives or families!
  • Spread some cheer! Gift a smile to doctors, so they can pass it on to the nursing station, which always looks forward to a greeting from their Doctors!

Thank you for a great year! And tell Rudolph and team and Mrs. Claus we say hello!


K2 Communications Healthcare Team!

If you’re in healthcare, education, technology, consumer care or other professional services industries, and need help with a PR, marketing or social media campaign, contact www.k2communications.in

Shiv Shankar – He is the Executive Director & Founder of K2 Communications. Under his astute leadership, K2 Communications has developed into a frontrunner among PR agencies that incessantly delivers excellent regional and national PR support to clients belonging to various sectors including government, IT, education, consumer, and healthcare.

5 strategies to implement AI in your PR verticals

AI and PR strategies to implement AI inPRFrom industry stalwarts like Elon Musk and Bill Gates to pioneers like Stephen Hawking, everyone has been fascinated by the subject of intelligent robots taking over. A favourite topic of science fiction enthusiasts for decades, from “Terminator” and “Matrix” to more recent- “Ex Machina” and “Blade Runner 2049”, machines are being designed to think, feel, and reason the way humans do.

Is it the beginning of the end of PR as we see it? We explored how AI can help critical PR functions by removing the monotonous and routine and freeing up more time for strategising and creativity. The next stage is to understand how to implement AI in PR spectrum so it can be a beneficial tool rather than the proverbial elephant in the room.

One day, the PR industry may rely on AI more than it is apprehensive about it.

Consider this example- You want to take headlines and rewrite them for social media so that you could highlight your client’s or their brand’s role in the story. You may assign a  person to copy and paste URLs, cross-referencing the right hashtags, and then you post. Now imagine having algorithms that are able to manage the same social media promotion and your social media engagement.

Something similar happened at Associated Press: You see, Associated Press was able to post no more than 300 quarterly earning stories, and despite every business, reporting journalist had to face this nightmarish moment of compiling and presenting quarterly earnings, many potential companies remained unreported.

With AI technique called natural language generation, NLG, AP is not able to post more than 4400 quarterly earning stories- a 15 fold rise from their manual effort, and of course, freeing up the business journalists for more creative pursuits.(Read the case study here)

How should the PR sector prepare itself to implement AI?

Think of Apple and Google, who have kept user experience (UX) of their products at the forefront by smart use of data and informatics. AI is here to stay, and here are some strategies to implement it successfully in a PR agency’s operations

  1. Brainstorm with your team– Do you need AI to solve big problems like planning a media strategy? Or is it about reducing the grunt work like scheduling tasks and follow-ups? Discussing the pain-points and bottle-necks with your team and coming up with small, but smart solutions to most common efficiency drainers.
  2. Automate, automate, automate– most of the AI-enabled processes work smoothly only when the firms have already crossed the hurdle of automating areas that were manual and error-prone earlier.AI gives you results when you give data to machines to work on and make patterns. The more data you have, the better your AI processes will work.
  3. Ask questions– Become the student of AI, and be the inquisitive journalist for a change. Don’t believe whatever you see and hear. The best program that everyone swears by may not bring any value to your firm. Ask a lot of questions, count your pennies. Then count it again.
  4. Make AI not the replacement, but a part of your team-Remember, AI is part of your team, and in the long run, it may be one of the most valuable team players, but first, you have to train it to do as you want. AI will simplify tasks like listening, recording, analysing and reporting. However, it cannot replace the human touch in building trust and relationships.
  5. Evaluate and forecast the skill sets needed – with AI in the picture, you may have to let go of certain skill sets and may ask the employees to adapt to the new order. Focus on training the existing staff, while keeping an eye on the new recruitments with defined skill sets like AI and big data. You would want a more heterogeneous mixture of team members who can work on a variety of functions, from technology, analytics, to media management and content writing.

AI is already making a massive impact on our lives. The tasks and skills can be automated or can be hugely benefitted from AI, but there will still be a need for human intervention in editing, applying good judgement and ethics. Experiential learning combined with continuous development and upskilling will be extremely helpful for PR professionals. Talking about AI and facing resistance is something similar to the slow-to-modernize copywriter who resisted computers in favour of his trusted typewriter.

Unless we up-skill and learn about AI and how it works WITH PR, PR companies can’t really make the transition. With machine doing the heavy lifting – the categorizing, detecting and reporting, PR professionals can do a lot of strategic and creative work. The future is all about embracing AI and the amazing developments that come along with it.

How is AI changing the face of every industry, and more so of PR? Read it all here!

About the author:

Shiv Shankar – He is the Executive Director & Founder of K2 Communications. Under his astute leadership, K2 Communications has developed into a frontrunner among PR agencies that incessantly delivers excellent regional and national PR support to clients belonging to various sectors including government, IT, education, consumer, and healthcare.

Why green is a great hue for your company’s image

Gogin green, a great idea for boosting your corporate image!

Thinking of going green? It can boost your company’s image too!

Going Green means being environmentally conscious. Today’s consumers have become more eco-friendly, and there is a significant increase in demand for green products and services.

When your company has a specifically targeted “go-green” message that you can associate with your brand, this message has the potential to create a smart, distinctive image in the current market.

Improve your corporate image/brand’s image

In today’s ecologically mindful environment, consumers are more susceptible to PR efforts from businesses that can show their green initiatives. By promoting your support for the environment, you can expand your audience. Today’s consumers love to support companies that take Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives seriously, and when your business embraces a new, eco-friendly philosophy, you earn a positive reputation as well as achieve a deeper connection with your customers.

What going green does to your company’s image?

Today’s customers have everything available to them at their fingertips. They don’t want just the product or services from the brand they prefer, but a little extra goes a long way in keeping them hooked to the brand of their choice.

Eco campaigns allow companies to give back to society, and help have a deeper connection between the brand and customers. Through these campaigns, companies can show the human side of their brand, which helps bring people together through a shared interest or concern.

Integrating Eco-empathy in your PR campaigns

Allowing QR enabled tickets is done by most multiplex companies, and it has only helped them strengthen their green image. Any changes made in your business to incorporate a green structure, like reducing the wastage of paper, implementing environment-friendly processes, reducing your carbon footprint, associating your brand with a green charity, all can enhance a positive brand image.

In the West, there is even a concept of green web hosting, where hosts use renewable energy, purchase carbon offsets, and plant trees to subsidize their carbon output!

From integrated promotion to basic signage and green practices, like reducing plastic wastage, shows that you are making the little changes, necessary towards a healthier, safer planet.

Be wary of token gestures though. Today’s discerning consumers can see through fake concerns, and they will take it out on social platforms against your brands. Remember, going green is not just a PR stunt that you should do every year, it also helps in reducing costs. By investing in renewable energy, recycling waste and water, you can save a lot of money spent on operational expenses. The initial set up costs may be high, but rewards in terms of faithful clientele, longer-standing relationships with your costumer-base are almost immediate and send an instant positive eco-message about your brand.

Therefore, if you want to put your brand on the map and boost recognition, investing time, money and your resources into green initiatives and projects can help!

The 5 pronged strategy to invest in a green future:  

To succeed in green initiatives and optimize the PR efforts, companies should focus on these 5 elements:

  • Vision: Being actionable and clear about what the green action will be.
  • Endorse: Senior leadership should endorse the initiative wholeheartedly and help spread the word.
  • Strategize: Cause messaging should be consistent and should cleverly keep the focus on the brand.
  • Assign accountability: Set parameters, performance indicators that can help in judging the effectiveness of the green initiatives as well as PR campaigns.
  • Measure effectiveness: The results should be quantifiable for their impact on ROI.

Some other benefits of going green:

  • Staying a step ahead of government regulations: Green initiatives will keep you prepared before they become part of the legislation by the government.
  • Motivate your employees: Employees of the companies believing in giving back to the society and environment can relate better to their company. They know they work for a company that cares, which is a huge morale booster.
  • You save on cost: Eco-friendly initiatives will ensure you can save a lot on your utility bills and overhead expenses.
  • Attract talent: You may even be able to attract talented employees who will admire you for your eco-friendly policies.

Watch out for these loopholes

  • The practices that will help you go green will also help you create a better environment for your business and your brand. The best PR initiatives when a company goes green are those that appeal to a broader, heterogeneous demographic segment, consisting of existing as well as potential prospects. But a keen focus on your most passionate and profitable segments is also critical.
  • Though opportunities to “Go Green” exist in all industry verticals, make sure you clearly understand how far you can stretch based on your brand’s core equity. A Cab rental service primarily running diesel cars cannot harp about going green without bringing in shared cab services.
  • Be careful of what message you wish to convey and what you want the wider audience to not focus on. Being associated with any other company known for having a poor ecological image can end up as a PR disaster for your business too.

By paying attention to customers and supporting the environmental causes which they strongly identify with not only benefits your brand’s image, it helps the planet too. After all, and you want to let your customers know that your company cares. Going green is not just celebrated by customers; your peers will recognise your CSR initiative as an essential part of your business plan.


K2 Communications Pvt Ltd. has been in the business of helping clients successfully embrace technology changes and the ever-changing media landscape by employing innovative tactics ethically and with integrity for the last 15 years.

We have the strategies and tools to help clients claim their positions as industry leaders. If you’re in healthcare, education, technology or any other industries, and need help with a PR, marketing or social media campaign, contact K2 Communications today!

About the author:

Shiv Shankar – He is the Executive Director & Founder of K2 Communications. Under his astute leadership, K2 Communications has developed into a frontrunner among PR agencies that incessantly delivers excellent regional and national PR support to clients belonging to various sectors including government, IT, education, consumer, and healthcare.