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.

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.

 

Frameworking

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.

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.

http://everythingexperiential.businessworld.in/article/Boosting-Public-Confidence-Through-Communication-And-Transparency-Say-Yes-To-PR-Mediums/18-03-2020-186563/

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.