Covid 19 and need for factual news|K2 Communications

COVID-19-the virus that brought back the era of factual news

The audiences across the country and demographics have tuned out due to sheer exhaustion. Here’s how a journalist turned PR pro looks at the journey for media coverage and how Covid-19 has brought the need for factual news in India to the forefront.

This is my 3rd year as a media and public relations strategist, offering my expertise to several brands including healthcare brands. Neither in my present nor in my previous journalist Avatar, I was testimony to a world that’s been turned over on its axis. The abnormality has only generated a revived appetite – a ravenous urge to feed on facts.

 

When I started as a journalist in 1997, we barely had internet, and smartphones were a distant dream. News and fact-based reporting were deeply valued across the country, and Twitterati didn’t even exist. Our world expanded beyond the mandatory 280 characters, and we were able to fit in our thoughts and opinions in a more elaborate, expressive manner.

 

My Views on News

It gave me immense pride to work in the news business. I was chasing real stories that mattered. It was when I decided to shift my career from news to public relations, the lines of journalism and marketing began to blur. I couldn’t ignore the mushrooming media platforms popping up around me, each having a different way of communicating to its audience. The content suddenly became king, but also a pauper since it had to be stretched, pulled, hashed, and hashtagged to make its presence felt in the feeding frenzy.

 

To add to my confoundment, the digital age and the “clickbait” side of business suddenly started taking priority over authentic, factual information. Graphics and videos started replacing words and editorialized programming took precedence over hard news. In the era of extensive graphic consumption, people can now see what they want to see, customized, and packaged to align with their individual personal values and beliefs.

 

Fast forward to 2020, and Covid-19 suddenly revamped the media landscape.

 

People sat up and started looking for the most relevant, accurate, and current information to protect themselves and their families. Be it the fear factor or fatigue, audiences no longer want the noise, they have again begun to prefer science over sensationalism, facts over fiction.

From the healthcare segment perspective, never before has healthcare communications and PR been so important. The humane sides of stories of real people, from corona warriors, frontline workers to the average Indian, the stories have made a comeback.

 

Also see: Corporate Communications Guidebook for navigating Coronavirus Crisis

The recent episode of Ayurveda major, Patanjali is a case in point where we are truly experiencing not just an unprecedented awareness and hunger for truth, the government has also been extremely quick in responding and allaying any kind of fears related to misinformation. The brand had to backtrack not just its claims, but it will also need to rethink on building its reputation and authenticity for its future product launches and campaigns.

 

The revitalized need for creating a conducive news environment has been augmented by the deluge and speed of information about the virus. It was overwhelming and confusing to the extent that newsrooms have an added burden of getting it right the first time, to avoid classic foot-in-mouth situations later.

 

So, how do I see it all unfolding for healthcare public relations? In my opinion, it means that if healthcare organizations are looking to continue being a trusted resource, our responsibility is to help them get it right to disseminate information to the press. We should stick with medical expertise, authentic and corroborated data, and patient stories. The bottom line is to maintain the honesty and integrity of all the information going out of our desks while ensuring that we can meet the basic tenets of “old school” journalism. Healthcare pitches need to be humble, gentle with as little propaganda as possible, and should resonate with the public emotions.

 

As a journalist turned PR professional, the past three months have been our moment to rise to the occasion and to help the real healthcare heroes shine. Never before have I seen such a wonderful synergy between newsrooms and newsmakers. The theme – to provide correct information at all possible costs has been valued and respected across the stakeholders. The partnership between healthcare organizations, PR teams, and news and media channels has been heartening and satisfying.

 

This being said, I feel that we may have reached the peak of the coronavirus coverage curve. Unlocking has ensured that COVID-19 fatigue is blatantly visible in news coverage. The time has come for all of us to respond to the call of returning to normal life as we knew it in 2019. The demand for entertaining, lighter, feel-good stories is rising, giving a break from the data induced dark and gloomy news.

 

Limited Attention Spans and the New Normal

If I could take one silver lining from the past few months it would be the return of my first love – “journalism”. This phase has also shaken me and reminded several of my peers to stick to our mission as a healthcare PR content strategists. We cannot deviate from the larger picture and must give the “normal” a fair chance to return in the era of limited attention spans. Across the channel of communication, from the organizations to PR companies and news and media companies, we have all happily agreed to slow down, cut through the noise, seek the truth, and stick to stories that truly matter!

 

This hunger for authentic and factual news is a good sign as it enables PR professionals and journalists to stick to accuracy in the context of fake news that has gripped the vast social media including the WhatsApp messaging service. Though fake news is rampant, there are also quick rebuttals of erroneous data and information. This is absolutely essential in the context of a blurred distinction between real news and fake news. There are journalists who have taken the responsibility upon themselves as ‘fact-checkers’ and built agencies and organizations to curb fake news on the social media and web. In print, unlike social media, as there is limited space to carry news and information, there is a natural tendency to carry only news that matters and news that is truthful. While web and social media have taken over news disengagement, it would be prudent to still believe in the old values of Print Media, which is seen as the source of trust on public matters, while the fact-checking on social media goes on. This combination of trust of the old world and the fact-checking of the new world will go a long way in building a new service that is authentic.

 

 

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.

LinkedIn Profile Optimization- Add value to your online branding

Linkedin is a valuable resource for business leaders looking for online Digital PR. Hence, LinkedIn Profile Optimization is a must need.

LinkedIn has emerged as one of the most vital social networking sites for professionals. Are you using your LinkedIn profile the right way? Is it optimized to attract potential clients/customers? Let your digital profile work for you while you work hard for your business. LinkedIn profile optimization is a need of the hour for every leader out there.

This is the era of social networking. The coronavirus pandemic has pushed us 5 years ahead of schedule and enforced digital compliance at multiple levels. As a CEO/ CMO, the prime responsibility of driving the business online is mandatory, especially social media. As a business owner or Marketer, you most likely understand the concept but you are not on the right track to make use of social media at the fullest. There are a lot of causes like lack of technical knowledge, prioritizing wrong social media platforms, inconsistency in content crafting and posting due to less or no time and many more. 

 

Why should you be on LinkedIn?

While Facebook is still a force, LinkedIn has emerged as a major B2B player in recent years. There are 50+ Million LinkedIn users in India and out of those 40% access it on a daily basis. But, on average, users spend only 17 minutes per month. It takes a few minutes to make an Impact. LinkedIn is considered to be the one-stop for industrial exposure, lead generation, and thought leadership. It is the most favorite social media platform in the B2B segment. It is also the place where business contacts and other related and non-related professionals go to see your work, your accomplishments, and your opinions on issues that matter. They should be impressed with what you have put on there, and thus it is very important that your profile is updated and optimized. 

 

Linkedin Members on Linkedin according to data provided by Linkedin
                                                                        Image Source: LinkedIn

LinkedIn is the best platform for managing and showcasing your own personality. As a CEO, one connects prospects to the company through their own profile. Thus, personal branding is as important as organizational branding.

With such a large population of professionals on the platform, it is the best place to control the reputation downfall due to the crisis. Thus, as a CEO, one can do reputation management and crisis management efficiently on LinkedIn. 

 

The need of the hour: LinkedIn Optimization

No one likes a tangled skein profile on a professional social network. It should be neat and clean. As an owner or a CEO, you are the face of your organization and you do not want to look messy in front of the online world. It creates a huge negative impact on the audience.

Having a neat profile attracts people when they see it. But how do they find you? You guessed it, LinkedIn Profile Optimization.

Search engine optimizing your LinkedIn profile with relevant and sufficient keywords is the best way to rank yourself in the vast ocean of teeming with your peers.

Apart from keywords, digital media is the best way to make your profile shine. Linkedin allows you to publish articles, graphic posts, videos, documents, etc. 

 

Connect and build

LinkedIn is all about connections. The more the connections, the more is the business reach, and LinkedIn is all about connecting with people from the industry. Making new connections every day, interacting in industry groups, regular posting of content and ideas, keeping track of your old connection will not just increase your visibility, it will also enhance your company’s brand value. 

 

Social Selling on LinkedIn

Social selling leaders create 45% more opportunities than peers with lower Social Selling Index. 

LinkedIn Sales Solutions

While we were all under lockdown, the world outside has changed. The businesses today face newer challenges that need the leaders to be dynamic and passionate individuals ready to think on their feet. A strong social media presence on platforms like LinkedIn can help you in not just attracting the right talent, it also helps in establishing your professional brand, creating an authentic online reputation, engaging with like-minded professionals, and building relationships, all of which are must-haves for the digital future.

About the Author:

Suraj Jadhav – He is a digital Associate at K2 Communications Pvt. Ltd. & helps formulate digital strategies as well as content creation for various digital platforms. He has significant exposure on SEO, Social Media, Email Marketing and Ads, since he has been freelancing with start-ups and solopreneurs, helping them grow their personal and professional brands. When not brainstorming, Suraj enjoys teaching engineering students and hiking.

 

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

*Resources

A Framework for measuring Corporate Reputation

https://moz.com/blog/new-data-reveals-67-of-consumers-are-influenced-by-online-reviews

https://www.webershandwick.com/uploads/news/files/InRepWeTrust_ExecutiveSummary.pdf

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.

What’s a Journo doing in a PR agency?

What’s a Journo doing in a PR agency?

My experience as a journalist in a PR agency has been interesting. While I have learned many things about PR, there are a few things that the PR person can imbibe from a journalist. The central and most important concern for a journalist is the critical, questioning role that he or she plays, something broadly missing in a PR set up.

A journalist questions many “given and established truths”, while a PR person has to present a positive picture of an issue at hand. There is a fundamental difference between the journalist and PR person when it comes to a story – a journalist asks scores of questions of an issue and might not easily accept a standard position, while a PR person presents “neutral” or “positive” facts. The PR person describes the “critical questioning” as a “negative mindset” and the resultant story as a “negative story”, while the PR person would produce positive aspects of a given story or truth and handover a “positive story”.

This I will describe as the pivotal difference between journalism and PR – “critical-negative” versus “uncritical-positive”. This difference produces two very different versions of the same story – while the journalist will be described as a professional who cannot see the good side of things in society, the PR person will be described as a one-sided professional who cannot see the critical side of things.

In both cases though, the overall picture of a story may be missing. A broad concoction and mix of the two is perhaps the truthful and complete version of the story. Both journalists and PR persons will have to be humble to accept both vantage points for a good story to be out in public. I remember an academic who described negative views as news and positive views as Corporate Public relations. Bridging the one-sidedness on both sides is a challenge to both a journalist and a PR person. A journalist can play an advisory role in a PR agency and guide the PR craft to draft stories that will in some way balance the two perspectives – the critical and the positive.

An issue that would cause some unease in the relationship between journalists and PR persons is ghost-writing. Here again, a journo can play a crucial role. Typically, I find that authored articles or quotes for an industry story or even press releases written in advance of an event on behalf of clients is again in a positive mode.

What comes from a CEO’s desk cannot have critical elements. The authored article is written by the PR person on behalf of the client and only facts that reflect the client’s interest. A journalist on the other hand, if he or she is especially a columnist, can reflect both the critical and positive aspects to a column or an article. An authored article cannot do this. A Journo would once again ask many questions of the article or the quote composed, and bring a holistic touch to it.

The PR person is shackled by the client, while a journalist is not. This is not the personal mistake of a PR person, the nature of the PR industry itself is such. The media is free to question, while the PR set-up is an unfree microcosm of the client. There would naturally be a conflict of interest if the PR agency were to project anything else other than what a client wants.

You may ask what a journo then is doing in a PR place?

I would answer the same by saying that a journo can bring a more complete view of the work of a PR person. This is possible. In my experience, I have been able to question clients whenever we have had meetings and interviews with them prior to the preparation of an authored article or press release. I have asked questions of the client exactly like I would when I was a journo. I have asked questions that may also be uncomfortable for the client. The client would then tumble out with facts that would otherwise not have come out, thus lending a more comprehensive touch to the interview. All-roundedness is something that a journo can bring to the PR’s table. The resultant product would then be closer to a 360-degree view.

In the course of these interviews, I have met clients who can pound you with their attitude and those who are soft and polite. I happened to meet a real estate client from Mumbai, who interacted with us in a manner as though we didn’t even know a bit of what they were talking. They taunted us and pressured us with their “Mumbai attitude”, with not a care for decency and even made faces with some peculiar and crude eye expressions, dismissing us entirely.

When I and my colleagues started asking fundamental questions of their work and projects, they tended to either be defensive or even more aggressive. What I gathered from this experience was that if you are well informed and have knowledge about the subject, you can turn things around and even put them off. Towards the middle of the interview, I realised that nothing of their project had commenced in Bangalore nor did they have adequate basic facts about their own project. I came away with a lesson – if you are fairly knowledgeable and have a journalist sense in you, you can take on anybody. Coming from a journo background, you tend not to be defensive, you tend to be on the offensive. The clients had to withdraw from their offensive once it became clear that they did not have much to reveal while having loads of attitude to share.

Going gaga over the client and praising them sky-high would not be fair. A journalist would ground this kind of reporting by frontalising facts rather than praise. Whenever I have come across undue positive reports, I have made it a point to factualise the report more and remove the unnecessary adulation. This comes from the journalistic instinct that one carries into PR. This kind of difference or tussle is welcome at K2, which has given me the freedom to exercise my opinion freely and fairly. When you filter a report full of adjectives with facts, a journalist tends to project a more objective view of the issue or story at hand. This would be fair to the reader or viewer. When clients have been told of the need to be fair, there have been instances when they too have been nice to us and have acceded to such a stand.

I joined PR to see the other side of journalism – to understand the backend of journalism. I had apprehensions about whether I could survive as a journalist, but allaying all the fears, K2 has given me space to openly question many issues and offer a contrarian view to things. A journalist’s journey in PR is not wasted. You learn the art of balancing the critical (negative) and the uncritical (positive) and come away in the end with your convictions intact.

The author’s views expressed here are personal and do not reflect the views of the associated organisation.

About the author:

Prashanth – He brings on-board his enriched journalistic perspective to K2 communications. Armed with a Degree in Sociology and a Masters in Philosophy Research from the University of Hyderabad, where his thesis was on Human Rights, his vast experience in the field of writing, reporting and editing in print media is highly valued and appreciated by our clients.

Get Real- You don’t need that stole/jacket/pullover here!

Get Real- You don’t need that stole/jacket/pullover here!

Are you on your pullovers when you enter your office? Are you in it throughout your day when your office A/c that supposedly conditions the temperature is playing a role?

You have come to the right place! Yes, we finally thought of you and decided to be vocal about the warm fashionwear in a city like Bangalore! Don’t worry we are all dead confused and on the same page when it comes to deciding our daily office wears and then we are feeling- why all that effort when we have to be inside our pullovers, jackets, stoles- throughout the day!

Early mornings are turning Bangaloreans into Eskimos as they rush out to their work stations. Is it really worth it? Or they are just boastful about the pleasant weather that the city offers to them? May be with Bangalore winters just laying over a pleasant atmosphere over the city is constantly making its residents crave for the chilled to the bone kind of winters which the northern cities of the country are still experiencing.

And when these Eskimos reach their office premises they are under the freezing A.C with their extra layers on. Maybe they are just trying to vicariously enjoy how a hill station feels a far-out land which they can just dream of sitting in their office chairs a tough scheduled day! Or is it the cloudy, summery, and confusing weather and equally confusing economy that they can’t help but gloom to? Let’s not! It’s time we come up with some colors as we greet the day and be on our best versions!

While having this feeling cold-mode on to beat the office cold that is quite artificially generated and entirely man-made, we often forget that it is making us go soft on our crisp dressing and on the point fashion sense.

Smart dressing is one of the key aspects of the PR industry. A PR professional being out there as an opinion leader is marked by his or her smart dressing sense. We can never overlook that! Moreover, going to work in an outfit that makes us look good also gives us that confidence in our body language and gives us a cutting edge to face our hectic days.

‘I have an open-door policy, but only until the air conditioner is repaired.’

It’s a good idea to be unfazed and avoid overdressing for the sake of weather. Let’s be free and conquer the world where you are more confident being yourself in your best outfit.

It’s just super confusing to us humans when we first install A/Cs in offices and homes, and then invest in warm clothing in a pleasantly weathered city like Bangalore during winters. It is not just confusing, but absurd as well as we are not only wasting electricity, we are not using the already existing beautiful weather and creating an artificial, uncomfortable eco-system to live in. Aren’t the escalated global warming issues enough for us? Cutting on A/Cs would surely make it better for mother Earth if not for the office Eskimos.

Though it’s true that air-conditioned offices are a retreat to steam off the incessant deadline pressure, and they also help cool down heated discussions by reducing the blahs and replacing them with brrrs, this AC culture is not healthy, for the climatic condition or our personality.

Reducing the usage of A/cs makes a big difference in the emission of the greenhouse gases resulting in the planet-warming to as trivial as not cloaking our crisp professional outfits. Hence, keeping us more sharp and confident in our professional outcomes and making others feel less sick about our presence and be healthier and happier!

About the author:

Koyel Saha – She is an MA in Media & Communication Studies from Christ University, Bangalore, has worked in corporate communications, social media, and marketing. She has been an integral part of content generation teams in her previous roles. At K2 Communications, she is currently working as Account Manager, and her flavourful writing skills and sharp as tack insights have successfully made a mark.

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.

Looking for a renaissance in the PR industry? Embrace diversification and be inclusive

You may have come across specially-abled stewards at KFC or gone through some of the inspiring headlines in newspapers and social media about an individual representing the LGBT community appointed as the principal of a college in West Bengal, India a couple of years back. Reputed companies like Accenture, IBM, and Infosys sometimes get featured for hiring human resources on wheelchair or open-heartedly accommodating employees with specific disabilities. While India goes gaga over sporadic examples of a diversified and inclusive workforce across the employment sector, it is hard to find a similar culture in India’s Public Relations (PR) industry.

Although ideally, the PR industry should be more open to all identities as they build up the edifice of mass communication and connecting with people of all kinds, colours, races, genders, abilities and more, unfortunately, the concept of openness is not that impressive in the country. Encountering with a PR professional belonging to the third gender or someone who has a hearing disability or cannot speak is still a far-fetched dream. Interestingly, not just India, the landscape of a diversified and inclusive eco-structure is not much different in the US or Europe as well. According to a report, African Americans and Hispanic Americans constitute only 10% of all PR professionals. Thus, the global PR industry, as well as that in India, has a long way to go in terms of diversification and inclusion, although a remarkable shift  is happening  in the field of including female workforce over the last decade.

Unlike earlier days, diversification and inclusion are no more all about including women in the workforce. With all the noise around feminism and women empowerment in the last couple of years, the PR industry along with the other sectors have voluminously grown in terms of including women. In fact, for India, women have been the face of the Public Relations Industry. According to the top female PR professionals in the country with 15 to 25 years of experience in the field including Shefali Khanna, partner and Chief Marketing Officer at Astrum – Reputation Advisory, Shravani Dang, Group Vice President, Corporate Communications at Avantha Group, Vasundhara Mudgil, Head of Communications at Spotify, India, Stuti Jalan, Founder and Managing Director of Crosshairs and more, PR is an inherent skill among women as women are better multitaskers, more creative and understanding that make up the three most vital pillars of PR. The PR industry may no more be gender specific or biased, but it is lagging much behind in terms of embracing a diversified and inclusive intellectual capital structure compared to the corporates.

Experts say that a diversified and inclusive work culture enhances the accessibility of Public relations (PR). It creates an open and credible workplace which is must for a profession representing the views of multiple stakeholders. In case you are into this profession, always remember your client will choose you based on how open you are in expanding your client tile by promoting diverse talent. Also, the more inclusive you are, the better you will be able to provide multiple viewpoints during a crisis that your client faces and thereby save your client’s reputation. Furthermore, India is a multicultural and pluralistic nation and you ought to be inclusive and diversified if you want to understand your customers better. Similarly, your customers will have deeper trust on you if you are a PR brand that can realise their needs and expectations from an array of backgrounds including social, political, economic and cultural topographies. This will definitely boost your client connections and help you provide insights into trends.

Enough has been spoken about why it is crucial for the PR industry to be diversified an inclusive. However, not many talks about how that can be done. It is not rocket science, say experts. All you need to do is tweak your hiring policies and make some cool administrative changes. These may include inclusion of paid period leaves for women employees, pooling in women from underprivileged, low income backgrounds, hiring those who are wheelchair bound or may have to use a hearing aid to hear and sign languages to interact, making the workplace design friendly for the specially-abled and driving in those from the LGBT community based on their talent and skills and not on their gender preferences.

Being a PR is not that easy and being a diversified and inclusive PR is even tougher. However, once you can brace up with the openness, your public relations skill will touch the sky and bring about a dynamic makeover in the existing PR industry. Let’s hope for the day when India will produce the best of PR professionals based on their talents to connect, skills to innovate and not based on their gender, colour, caste, religion, ability and so on.

Sources : http://www.prmoment.in/category/pr-insight/the-power-of-women-in-indian-pr

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

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.

Tech-savvy

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

People-centric

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.

How social media and big data are changing the game of Indian politics

Standing by Jim Morrison’s words, “Whoever controls the media controls the mind,”

We have been witnessing a drastic evolution in the way political campaigns have changed rapidly in the digital world.
India accounts for one of the largest social media markets in the world. A handful of tech-savvy politicians are adeptly taking social media by the storm to have the edge over others as technology, social media, and big data are playing a pivotal role in connecting with the voters.
Gone are the days, when a politician could live from one election to the next without bothering to engage the citizenry of his constituency. An increasingly demanding citizen population seeks a more responsive and transparent representation from the elected representatives. This necessitates constant participation of the electorate, being sensitive to their sentiments and acting accordingly in parliament – to deliver their expectations.
Today, you can not expect your fan base to follow you blindly. Citizens prefer social media over traditional media as the latter lacks active engagement.
When the whole world is moving towards digitalization for creating a better brand for themselves can any political party, however famous or powerful it may be, afford to harm its image? No, not even unintentionally!
The situation is such that any political party, irrespective of its size could be shown the door if there is no accountability and transparency in their work.
World over, the ‘political power’ of the digital media was first realized and harnessed almost a decade ago by politicians like Barack Obama, Narendra Modi and David Cameron (through their official accounts).
Closer home, Shashi Tharoor was one of the first politicians of India who started tweeting and got his share of ridicule for being active on a public forum despite holding an office.
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has taken over Twitter by addressing grievances, rescuing Indians in distress abroad, impressing her foreign counterparts with prompt replies and luring Twitter fans with her witty, humorous and personalized tweets.
Trump’s victory in American elections is a reminder of how things can be turned around through digital messaging, data mining and public perception. It is the inherent desire of every single candidate to repeat this mysterious win of Donald Trump and his election campaigning.
Technology has reshaped the way the world communicates. So, while the use of digital communication channels or social media to reach the electorate is now commonplace – citizens are now turning back and using the same technology to demand accountability & drive transparency in governance.
From crises management to figuring reactions of the public, the new-age digital tools are fast replacing age-old door-to-door campaigns, questionnaires, and tele-surveys. Social media has created an ecosystem where voters, candidates, communities and party workers are all inter-connected. Serious debates or political disputes, reactions and opinions expressed online can help to build a digital footprint successfully indicating public perception. Additionally, politicians in India have also come a long way to create personal brands through personalized public communication.
Now a new era in “electioneering” is here that promises to change the way elections are fought from here on which uses scientific data analytics to real-time monitor people’s reactions in policy, politics, and crises to turn the wind around before it’s too late. Barack Obama was among the first to adopt big data as a differentiator in the elections during his campaign in 2012.
Data is exploding rapidly all around you. The trick lies in converting it from scattered formats to refined goals. Political pundits being well aware of the immense potentialities of this media in shaping public perception are making maximum use of the platform to give wings to their dreams. With the humungous growth in internet penetration and the growing evidence of recent electoral victories being shaped by effective social media campaigns, it will not be wrong to say that the digital footprint and social media conversations would potentially play a significant role in driving the shape of our politics and predict the future of our country.

About the author:

Sumit Jain -He has been associated with K2 communications for more than 11 years to date. A PGDBA from Christ University, his passion for everything related to PR has been instrumental in K2’s growth. He is a multi-tasker who spearheaded the servicing team while working on multiple accounts.

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.

The Value of Video for Education & Healthcare Brands

The success of videos as the most powerful content marketing tool proves that we all are visual creatures, who love their videos. For a healthcare or education brand, a video is a multi-layered, multi-dimensional storytelling experience. It is arguably the most powerful communication tool to engage your audience and tell your brand’s story.

  • As of the second quarter of 2018, Facebook had 2.23 billion monthly active users
  • Facebook users watch 100 million hours of video every day. More than 65 %  of those views happen on mobile devices.
  •  The video is the leader when it comes to engaging online audiences. Internet users using social media platforms have a voracious appetite.
  • According to the Cisco Visual Networking Index, the Live video will grow 15-times from 2016 to 2021, whereas internet video traffic will grow 4-times from 2016 to 2021, a CAGR of 31 %.

It is natural for a business leader or thought leader to be wary of social media accounts. Especially in industries like healthcare and education, platforms like Facebook will not hold too much worth for your PR efforts, right?

You can’t be farther from the truth!

As of October 2018, India claimed the first place with 294 million users, ahead of second-ranked United States with 204 million Facebook users.

These users are talking, watching, interacting with their fellow virtual world inhabitants, and to them, their online community’s endorsement or rejection of particular healthcare or educational institution matters a lot.

So what is this online population generally feeding on, when they are using Facebook?

A picture is worth a thousand words, and a video about 1.8 million words to be precise.

1 minute of your video is worth 1.8 million words according to Forrester Research’s Dr. James McQuivey.

Whether your brand is 30 days or 30 years old, you must know that video the number 1 preferred content type of your average consumer.

What exactly should you do?

  1. Use it! Of course!
  2. Maximize its performance!

Are you using video to reach out to your target market? Do you have tracking tools in place to check how your videos are performing? Have you ever done a peer to peer analysis of how your videos are performing compared to your competitors?

The success of videos as the most powerful content marketing tool proves that we all are visual creatures, who love their videos. For a healthcare or education brand, a video is a multi-layered, multi-dimensional storytelling experience. It is arguably the most powerful communication tool to engage your audience and tell your brand’s story.

As a healthcare or education executive, you may argue that video is relevant only to your end customers, but HubSpot has an entirely different story to tell.

  • 75% of executives watch work-related videos on business websites at least once a week.
  • 96% of B2B organizations include video in their marketing campaigns, and 73% report a positive impact of videos on their ROI
  • 50% of executives want to know more after they see a product/service in an explainer video
  • 65% of executives are likely to visit your website, and 39% might end up calling you after viewing your video.

It’s time that video’s far-reaching influences are cashed in for healthcare and education sectors.

From just being viral content and home videos posted on YouTube, the video has come a long way. It can be packaged in various formats-low cost, d.i.y.  vlogs or video blogs to sophisticated corporate promotional ads. You must have a clear understanding of your audience’s needs and accordingly provide strategic, targeted content that gives some value to them.

CEOs of most of the leading PR companies in India agree that today the boundaries between  PR and advertising are constantly blurring, with many PR agencies pitching in to create creative videos to help their clients tell stories. Many PR companies are also creating their own talent pool because they do not want to leave the content to other creative agencies who may not be able to do justice to the message their client is trying to put across.

Let’s take the example of healthcare first-

Both patients and healthcare practitioners want to hear from people like them- patients struggling with similar illnesses, or doctors practicing in the same specialty. Doctors in particular, especially value peer-to-peer communication.

Some ways the videos can be packaged, so they resonate with healthcare audiences:

  • Healthcare tips or “how-to” guides
  • Explainer or tutorial videos on complex procedures
  • Patient stories of testimonials to emotionally connect with audiences.
  • Case studies around a new hospital program
  • Live videos, webinars, and on-demand information sessions.

Similarly, for the education sector, videos can provide an effective platform for institutions to put forth their vision, values, a sneak peek into the daily routine and establish themselves as an active, vibrant and thriving place for imparting education to young minds.

Educational institutions like schools, colleges, and training institutions can benefit a lot from videos that resonate with their audiences.

Here are some examples of how the education sector can use videos in digital PR

  • Parent’s testimonials about the educational institution
  • Videos by teachers sharing pedagogy and teaching methodology
  • Coverage of special events like the annual day, sports day or any social awareness activity like cleanliness drive
  • Explainer or tutorial videos on handling various parenting-related issues
  • Live videos, on-demand webinars
  • Thought leader interviews on education, industry trends, any legislation, innovation, etc.

Whether it is Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, or any other platform, videos have become an essential way of communicating everything that your brand stands for. Earlier, the PR firms would have a handful of writers and journalists who could put the message across, but with the internet, the target market itself has become influencers and PR companies have to re-strategize their role and content strategy. Today’s audience is always rushing and reading long texts about a particular company is the last thing on their minds. A video goes a long way in brand recall, creating a direct connection and also conveying the message about a product, service, or company.

Want to know how Twitter and Instagram can be used effectively in your digital PR? Contact us 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.

Indian Millennial—Challenges for Digital PR

Indian millennial—born between the early 1980s and the early 2000s—will become the largest of any country by 2021. They will become 64 percent of the Indian population in the working-age group of 20-35, according to the 2013-14 Economic Survey. That makes more than the 503 million populace of the European Union and twice that of the US.

How different are they?  How unlike in the past, this generation is radically different: they’re the best-educated generation in independent India, and they remain always connected. Technology, media, and telecommunications (the TMT grouping) attract them more than any other industry. For Gen Y, Digital is a way of life.

Indian PR needs to respond to these changes fast. That’s where Digital PR for millennials must evolve. And digital PR executives must evolve too or get left out.PR needs of this era must be tuned to suit this generation. That brings you to ‘Millennial PR’.

How do we engage in PR for a generation that would rather scroll through Facebook than flip through a newspaper? How do we reach out to an audience that can never leave their smartphones? Well, if you can’t beat them, then join them. Take your PR to their platforms. Focus on getting your message across Facebook, Twitter, Buzzfeed, etc.

Millennials have a strong appetite for consuming media—they spend on average 54 hours a week, compared to a non- millennial’s average of 56. But not all these hours are spent on traditional media.

A report by LEK Consulting says that the millennials spend two-thirds of this time on smartphones, tablets, and laptops. That means this generation spends the least amount of time on traditional media than any other generation. Now, this is what challenges the Digital Media most.

The major source of news for today’s largest audience –the millennial, is social media. Millennial devour news from Facebook, Twitter, and whatnot. A study by Media Insight Project says more than 60% of the millennials use social media as the sole source of their news. Social Media has overtaken Print, Television, and Radio. So, today’s PR executive must have a firm grip on these platforms. They must go after what draws the millennial from these platforms.

A survey by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism Research says 51% of millennials access the news via social media. This is not good news for traditional PR methods. Across 26 countries, 44% of Facebook users go onto the site, via the app or website, for their news. This is followed by 19% for YouTube. Are you tuned into these trends?

These millennial — 62 percent of them agree that they will look favorably at a brand or business if they engaged with them on social media. So a Digital PR executive must convince his or her client of the importance of social media. Millennials hold the enormous spending power in their hands. Bring this fact to your client.

Of course, traditional PR will always remain relevant. Any mention in a mainstream media brings instant recognition of a brand. So you better find a perfect balance of traditional and digital PR.

Digital PR Executive must remember that opening a Facebook page or tweeting your client’s regular updates will not enthuse the millennial. To reach this increasingly important demographic, Digital PR must follow a few strategies to keep up their attention.

“Influencers”

The best brands don’t just push out content across social media. The effective brands reach out to Millennial by relying on “influencers”—user-generated content which influences their view of a brand. Posting content is not an issue anymore—it’s influencing others to publish about your client’s brand.

Click here to know how influencers can help keep brands relevant during a crisis.

Engage in Communication

Millennials hate one-way communication. They want to reply or respond instantly to something that engaged their attention. They’re also flattered if they received a prompt response from companies about their concern. So reach out to them through Facebook, Twitter, or through discussion threads of any popular news site.

Reach out to Millennial in Different Ways

Millennials rely on technology by using various devices like mobile, computers, and anything they can lay their hands on. They also appreciate it if you engage with them through various platforms like apps, e-mail, or Whatsapp. A Digital PR executive must publish alongside press releases infographics, blogs, vlogs, YouTube videos, and much more. Check with third party measurement sites to grasp the effect of the campaign.

Digital PR to the Millennial is not another strategy. It’s the most important game plan to stay relevant in today’s challenging PR campaigns.

About the agency:

K2 Communications Pvt Ltd – is India’s leading Public Relations agency headquartered at Bengaluru. Now in its 15th year of successful PR, K2 has registered its presence in more than 45 locations across the country as a public relations company rooted in India but with a global outlook. K2 has an enviable list of clients to its credit- Wipro Limited is the leader of our client brigade for more than a decade. The other names that we can boast of having a long-term association are Azim Premji University, BASE Education, Wipro Consumer Care & Lighting (FMCG), House of Hiranandani, Columbia Asia Hospitals, AO Smith and Trio World Academy, to name a few.

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