You deserve to be getting paid right- clients are you listening?

Get paid right for your services

As an agency you deserve to be getting paid right- clients are you listening?

With an increase in competition in the market, the value for marketing, communications, sales have gone high. For any company’s success, it is very important to build its image in the market in a positive manner. This can be done in many ways but the most vital way is through building good public relations. And for PR agencies the relationship with clients matters most. Even though there are very few knowing the value of PR, Public relations has always been the most impactful strategy which is followed by many well-established companies.

When it comes to Public relations is not only about building relations, but also it is about maintaining a reputation for the company. It is very easy to read, but getting the job done in the field of media where everything works on contacts, can be challenging at times.

It is said that with hard work and dedication over a time everybody gets paid right. But this theory goes upside down when it comes to Public relations agencies. After a lot of hard work, these agencies come back to square one, bargaining to and forth for a decent hike. Why is this so? The trend for such needs to be altered, and this can be done by opting in a new methodology for getting paid right for the services PR agencies offer to the client and those are:

  1. Social Proof your effort: Show off your clients, put them up on your website as many times as possible. Show off your other clients to the one talking about your value and the results you have given them.

 

  1. Increase your price regularly: Based on Psychology research, if the price is quoted more, the client gets into a belief that we might be good at our jobs. Which we really are!!

 

  1. Put them into the right shoes: Get your clients in the right way, convince them in ways where your strengths are shown. Point out those where changes can be made and better brand image can be established for the client in the market.

 

  1. Beforehand payment: Request for upfront payment. Establish your terms in a way that a raise is a norm after a certain time period.

 

  1. If good needs to be rewarded, bad should be taken care too: Reward your clients if they pay before the given time period, i.e. earlier than the given date. Also, you should put a surcharge on delayed payments. Do not let them forget that PR agencies need to pay others too.

 

  1. Ask what they want: Communicate with your clients. It is important to know what’s their requirement and to know their expectation. Sometimes, clients require exactly what we don’t offer. To keep them as our life-long customers, we should work towards things that we are new too. Remember Hard Work Pays all.

About the author:

Sanjana Rao – She is a graduate in Journalism & Mass Communication. She has worked with Humane Society International/India as Public & Media Relations Coordinator and has already proved herself to be an integral part of K2 Communications Pvt. Ltd.

Consumer PR- No, it’s not Marketing!

How Consumer PR is different from marketing. By K2 Communications.
Public Relations is the missing piece of the puzzle to marketing efforts in reaching out to consumers.

Public relations revolve around the use of news and content to put forth a message about a product, a business, an organization or an endeavour using an effective medium to reach out to consumers. Over the years, PR has taken a lot of faces depending on the effectiveness of the communication channels. Public relations are all about storytelling and shaping a company’s image. But with technological advancements interfering and reshaping every aspect of communications and interaction, it is only fair to ask whether PR is really storytelling, non-advertising, image-shaping tool that we have known it to be?

For consumers, as well as for companies, the influence of effective public relations has been able to withstand the test of time. As companies aim for more ambitious depths in reaching out to the customers, more and more focus is shifting towards building and gaining an audience.

Public relations provide a fascinating and opportunistic landscape for building a brand. 

A consumer relations program is not a marketing initiative. Consumer relations program aims at developing positive relationships with consumers rather than selling a certain number of products. The loyalty won may help in higher sales; consumer relations is more of a public relations job than that of marketing.

The line between Marketing and Public Relations often gets blurred. Public relations and marketing do share some basic concepts like research methodology, finding the right target audiences, communication, and action plans as well as evaluation of various outcomes. Despite these similarities, the two have a fundamental difference, and that is while marketing is all about the product and is highly field-specific, PR is much broader.

PR takes into account aspects overlooked by marketing, like internal relations, surrounding environment and non-consumers in it, and overall consumer behaviour. Public relations require a deep understanding of the role each of these aspects plays within an organization. Public relations and marketing need to realign themselves and attempt to create a whole new field – “relationship marketing.” 

Relationship Marketing:

Relationship marketing is all about understanding that consumers make buying decisions based on their habit. The underlying principle is that customers want to be served, not sold. Usually, while making a purchase decision, consumers look for the following things:

  • Quality
  • Handling customer complaints
  • Crisis management
  • Safety of the product
  • Trading and business practices

Relationship marketing must work in the direction of delighting customers, so they become regular, repeat and loyal consumers. If you promise a consumer some benefits, they must meet consumer’s expectations and also maintain the customer base and handle service requests.

In today’s competitive environment, a company’s success depends on understanding your customers and exceeding their demands for service. With the internet, the world is shrinking, and it is becoming increasingly difficult to differentiate products. Profitability of a business depends on its ability to find, expand and retain valuable customers.

Everyone knows that it is far more cost-effective to build loyalty than to keep replacing existing customers. Valuing customers and making consumer relations a vital part of an organization’s PR strategy is extremely important as it helps tackle consumer issues effectively and create positive company perceptions.

Public relations involve communicating with the public, and your business will be subjected to a range of ethical and legal considerations. Every message released influences consumers’ opinions about you. Therefore, the public statements should be consistent with your brand and key messages.

If your PR efforts are focussed on crisis communications, you will be required to managing your reputation because of the situation or the issue. Effective consumer relations will help you tide over even the trickiest of the situations with ease.

How to launch an effective consumer PR campaign?

Staying true to your ethics and yet reasonably satisfy all consumers sounds like a tightrope walk. Maintaining one’s credibility while reducing the risks for potential damages to your reputation is very critical. Here are some tips:

  • Staying honest and consistent with your messages. Consumers today can easily make out double standards, distorted facts, and hypocritical statements.
  • Steer clear from paid media coverage. Effective consumer PR thrives on independent, third-party reports, stories and information. If you have to pay for good press, which means something is wrong at the very fundamental level with your product or service.
  • Maintain graceful composure with your competitors. Keeping your criticisms and disagreements with your competitors out of the spotlight is a great PR tactic.
  • Create platforms to interact with consumers. Consumers today want companies to be more proactive and keep up with their demands, or be left behind. As customers are turning to social media to communicate, it is imperative the companies reach out to them there.
  • Prepare a detailed digital PR plan- Today’s consumer engages with companies to give feedback, ask questions and discuss features, affecting their buying decisions. You can use this information that you gain during interactions and build relationships rather than just talking online. Growing relationships and attracting customers should be a part of the digital strategy of any PR effort.
  • Get influencers on board. Reliable third parties, backing the brand is a valuable function of consumer PR. It could be through a paid or unpaid agreement. Getting a brand an honourable mention or good reviews is the hallmark of effective digital PR.

Consumer PR is all about translating what the company wants to say and relay it in a manner that it becomes what consumers want to hear. Consumer PR is a company’s most valuable asset in today’s market. It helps a company position itself for success and weather the storms in the future.

Background photo created by mindandi – www.freepik.com<a href=”http://Designed by mindandi / Freepik“>http://<a href=”http://www.freepik.com”>Designed by mindandi / Freepik</a>

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.

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

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

Nelson Mandela

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

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

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

Value of vernacular communications

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

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

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

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

Innovation in Public Relations in the era of globalisation

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

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

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

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

Vernacular Public Relations- a must have across all mediums

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Image source: Mashable India

    About the Author:

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

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>

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.

New Year resolutions for the Indian PR Professional

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

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

Your Network = Your Net Worth

  • Lose weight of dead practices and processes

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

  • Work harder on the brand image

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

  • Have a more productive relationship with the clients

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

  • Take diversity seriously

PR thrives on making sense from the

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

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

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

  • Nurture your alumni relations

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

  • Create a healthy work-life balance

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

  • Keep your  word for everything you do

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

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

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

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

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

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

5 strategies to implement AI in your PR verticals

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

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

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

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

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

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

How should the PR sector prepare itself to implement AI?

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

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

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

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

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

About the author:

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

Artificial Intelligence & Public Relations- The Game has just Begun!

Artificial Intelligence & PR - Blog by K2communications“(Artificial Intelligence is) either the best or the worst thing, ever to happen to humanity “Stephen Hawking

Talk about artificial intelligence in Public relations, and you would either get blank stares or talks about how machines will one day rule the world. Many people are afraid that AI could make their PR jobs obsolete. The fear not entirely unjustified either.

Look at the way AI has changed the way we communicate and get things done. From Google Assistant which can tell you a joke to self-driving cars by Uber, there is no industry that has not been affected and influenced by artificial intelligence. AI has brought in a revolution where machines are replacing jobs us as humans have been doing ourselves for decades.

Mckinsey & Company estimated that around 45% of paid activities might get replaced with technologies that are currently not yet fully developed! In the US, a whopping $2 trillion in US wages could be wiped out as a result of automation.

Before you hop on to jobseekers bandwagon and start sprucing up your resume, here is a quick look at what the furor is all about.

Wikipedia defines Artificial Intelligence (AI) as – the development of computer systems that can perform tasks that typically require human intelligence.

How does AI fit into Public Relations (PR)?

Before thinking that AI will rob you off your job, let’s first understand how the use of technology in PR functions can revolutionize the entire PR agency ecosystem.

Imagine getting your computer does all these aspects of your work-

  • Writing data-driven stories,
  • auto-creating media lists,
  • scenario assessment to help in crisis management,
  • transcription,
  • prediction of media trends, and
  • social media management,

As you are reading this, the wheels are already moving. Companies like AirPR and Trendkite have started providing everything from cutting-edge research, analytics, to PR measurement and PR attribution tools, delivering audience insights, targeted outreach and impact analysis right into the mailboxes of their clients.

In more than one way, using AI and machine learning is helping PR agencies deliver quality information that enhances how they do their job and augments their client servicing abilities.

AI is removing mundane, monotonous work from the PR agency’s hands and giving them more tools to organize their job better. For example, creating media lists, arranging meetings, writing standard follow up emails, all this can be handed off to machines. The author of this piece got a chance to check out the immense possibilities of HubSpot CRM and came out thoroughly impressed. There indeed are areas where machines can do routine work better than humans.

However, soft skills aspects like relationship building, creative strategy development, building trust, and telling a story- remain in the domain of PR professionals, as at the end of the day, we are dealing with humans across the table.

AI can help sharpen your stories

When you write a press release, you need to use your experience, powers of anticipation, and intuition to framing the release that effectively conveys your client’s brief. AI cannot take your place. What it might help you with is

  • Finding and validating facts
  • Assessing the target market
  • Researching the trends
  • Timing the release

This blog on AIRPR sums it up well:

“By taking advantage of massive quantities of data and using AI to draw insights on it, PR pros can now . . .  cut through the clutter and find useful, relevant data, quantify buzz and press hits, properly attribute revenue, know which tactics are working, spot brand and revenue indicators and identify PR funnel accelerators.”

AI can help improve digital DNA

Data is the DNA for all PR companies.AI can help PR firms to sift through big data and help them assess readership’s core attributes, for example. PR companies will be able to process their data at a rapid speed, giving them improved insight on what their consumers want, and sharpening their messages to be more robust and direct.

Google is already doing it. With YouTube targeting ads based on your search and the content that you are watching, optimization is happening in real-time, producing higher results due to the messaging being relevant and pertinent for the consumer.

AI will help in a focused, customised approach to journalists and social influencers

When it comes to reaching out to social and news media influencers, PR professionals always are in a quandary. Too generic a pitch and the influencer might go ahead and ignore you, while too specific and you may not reach out to a majority of them. Besides, who has the time to curate a hyper-relevant, eye-ball grabbing pitch for each influencer?

As we shared in our hugely popular Framing- A double-edged sword in PR content strategy, every individual’s perception of reality is guided by many factors, which themselves are dynamic.

Now imagine a world where, by using AI, we can analyze previous articles written by social and news influencers to find out who is often writing about healthcare or education. Using AI techniques like natural language processing, we can even curate a list of these specific influencers, analyze their writing styles, and find their core focus on most of the articles written by them. With this list, we can see the most relevant match of the likelihood of which influencers will be interested in covering the story.

As you maintain the relationships with these influencers, AI will also help in sorting out who have higher response rates to your pitches and would suggest them to you for future. From pitch analytics to automated pitch personalization, media outreach strategies could be automated to add more effective tools in a PR agency’s kit.

AI can help in assessing Brand Insights and analytics

As our world is becoming more and more visual, unless important news and social posts don’t have images or videos to hook up the target audience, all the PR efforts might be in vain. It might not be possible to accurately pinpoint the number of times a brand was mentioned in the form of images, photos, blog posts or videos unless you have someone explicitly sifting through analytics software. And still, at least images will not be a part of that purview.

Now imagine what it does to a CEO’s PR.

If you have an image recognition technology that can automatically detect faces, as well as actually name the people, brands and even products within the images, it can ensure that in addition to monitoring the text mentions on social media and news, you are also able to capture, record and report visual impressions of the brand to your client.

Any positive or negative experience shared by consumers by posting photos can be covered in this way, whether they have hashtagged you or not.

AI can help gauge market sentiments before, during and after the events

Although PR is not as data-centric as many, AI can be helpful in gathering and analyzing data to help demonstrate the ROI of a campaign.

PR pros are often making data-driven decisions based on the past performance of campaigns, social media exposure, and competitors benchmarking. This means having to build reports on all of these activities by wading through an ocean of data from a variety of sources, turning spreadsheets and charts into easily understandable graphs.

Media Intelligence tools are already here, and by detecting patterns and changes over time, AI lets PR firms translate trends into words in a matter of minutes. Sentiment analysis is an integral part of any progressive PR company report about brand perception. Traditionally it involved a ton of tedious manual work, market research, and still, the results will be inaccurate as they are often based on “cumulative sentiment” and often ignore the grey areas.

New advancements in sentiment analysis combined with natural language processing help drill down to each specific person, product, place, or company in an article and even analyze the surrounding sentence for how the writer feels particularly about the brand.

For example: “ I loved the website, but the delivery of my product took a long time” by a journalist, could be bad news if you are the supplier of the product, but good news if you are into website design and development, and for the PR firm on either side, it’s a lot of work and PR intervention!

AI helps in designing intelligent but smart tools for PR

PR companies today need quick as well as intelligent tools that answer the requirements of fast-paced PR accounts executives and also cater to the most complicated in-house communication department. AI can help design tools that understand a PR executive’s workflow and offer an error-free process by eliminating duplicity of tasks.

AI can help in automating the mundane daily chores

A significant chunk of a PR professional’s time is spent on scheduling calendars, structuring meeting notes, and summarizing actions, to-dos, delivery dates, creating Gantt charts, and following up with everyone concerned… If all this is automated, the productivity of PR people will dramatically improve, and the risk of delays, errors, miscommunication, and losing it in translation will be minimum.

Problems in introducing AI in PR

Artificial Intelligence is mathematical, based on iterations and logic; it needs patterns to build hypotheses, algorithms, and programs.

For AI to be able to add value to PR, it will require vast amounts of data. Something like Amazon does when you look for a laptop; you are also shown accessories, frequently bought together items, even laptop bags. To help AI reach that level where it tells you what to pitch and to whom, there is a significant hurdle- context.

PR is potently context-driven, and recommendations might work for those who have no prior experience or time, to do research, but the best PR agencies are known for doing their homework, and most likely won’t rely on technology to select the best pitch for them. For AI to add value to an experienced, seasoned PR professional, it will require a lot of data and training. A real AI system is the one that can learn. By improving on past iterations, these systems get smarter and more aware, allowing them to enhance their knowledge and potential. And this learning will be provided by the PR professionals themselves!

To sum it up, AI is not an existential threat to PR professionals, yet.

There is a widely held belief, that machines cannot, have the creative ability and emotional insight to supersede the PR professional. Human intelligence combined with cognitive computing skills renders the best outcomes. PR analytics is useless if the output doesn’t tell you the story on the parameters specified by your clients. AI is a helpful assistant for PR pros, which allows them to focus more on developing and executing creative strategies to create better brand awareness, stronger audience engagement, and influential thought leadership. Although you don’t need a degree in computer science to build an AI strategy, PR pros can’t sit on the sidelines and let AI takeover their decisions without their input.

 “A bot can’t lay claim to emotional intelligence, a cornerstone of all PR work. Teams employing AI handling external communication would be wise to have plans to manage reputation should anything go awry…Humans build trust with humans — not bots.”

 Ivan Ristic, Diffusion, in PRWeek 

Here is how you can take the first steps towards AI implementation.

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.

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

 

Framing- a double-edged sword in PR content strategizing?

A study by Pratt, Ha, and Pratt (2002) of the representation of diseases in the media in Africa showed that the media often used negative and derogatory descriptions when reporting on diseases such as HIV/AIDS. In contrast, they used no negative terms or examples and no derogatory language in reporting on diseases such as tuberculosis. As a consequence of the way in which the media framed the topic in a negative light, it is likely that people with HIV/AIDS were seen in a negative way by people who heard or read the reports. Tuberculosis patients were more likely to have received sympathy from those same people.

We have all seen examples of how framing works – most recently, the killing of a man-eating tigress which hurtled the government-appointed father-son hunter duo in an unwarranted media frenzy. The animal rescue groups applied framing, and the two reputed rescuers and experts unknowingly slid down in public perception as villains.

Or how certain advertisements almost always end up showing a woman as a doctor wearing a white coat and talking about how a product is safe for her own children, is a classic example of how framing works as people can relate to these images and their perception changes to suit the marketer’s goal. (No doctor would lie when it comes to her own children!)

The power of language as a tool in effective communication has long been prized in effective PR. Whether it is rhetoric, argument, or persuasion, words have always helped shape mindsets. When it comes to communicating the value of a brand or a company’s image, an excellent copy helps create the right picture.

OR so we thought.

New developments in cognitive science show that the human brain may not be as receptive to information as we have always thought. In his noted book ” Don’t Think of an Elephant,” noted neuroscientist George Lakoff, explains that human brains create embedded neural structures, which he calls “frames” which are nothing but neurons that trigger our thoughts as responses to stimuli. These “frames” are mainly a person’s worldview, their perception of reality.

The implication of all this is that “IDEAS are of primary importance, and humans often respond to language that lines up with their preconceived principles.”

As per Lakoff, communication is not necessarily about trying to sway someone over to “your side” of viewpoint or coerce them to get convinced of your message. The key, as per Lakoff, to effective communication is to identify the framed perspective of whomever your target customer is, what kinds of values that frame leads those people to use when they process the information.

How does PR applies framing?

Framing manifests in thought or interpersonal communication. Depending on the audience and what kind of information is being presented, framing in communication can be positive as well as negative.

Press-releases- In mass-media, a frame defines the packaging of an element of rhetoric in such a way as to encourage certain interpretations and to discourage others. Sometimes framing is used in the form of presenting facts in such a way that implicates a problem that is in need of a solution. In communications, framing defines how news media coverage shapes mass opinion.

Events- While sharing information about an event, for example, the understanding often depends on the frame referred to. But you cannot just apply a “frame” to an event. Every individual would try to project to the world the interpretive frames that allowed them to make sense of the event. Therefore, to show an event in the “light” that you wish the target audience to see or ignore and move on, you may need to work on their frames and try and align it so they can look at your perspective.

Framing Techniques in PR-An Example

PR agencies are often seen encouraging some stories and interpretations while discouraging the others.  This is not to say that most PR is about lying or consciously distorting the truth. More so, that by highlighting particular stories, using specific sources from a particular news angle, public relations agencies are constructing reality through a selective process. What is presented is often influenced by work practices, resource constraints, and sensitivity of the matter to shareholders as well as management.

When an event is explained and understood by the comparison of the frame with other frames, gradually a frameshift happens. Framing is like a mental shortcut and is often the exact opposite to the rational choice theory in psychology.

 

A classic example of framing is the pollution- look at how this issue has been framed:

Pollution as a law and order frame- Most vehicle owners are callous about going for regular PUC (pollution under control) checks. The present infrastructure does not support so many vehicles during peak hours leading to traffic snarls. The need for public transport has not been answered efficiently. The journalist on this beat could involve social, political and government and even police representatives for opinions, sound bites, and more.

Pollution as a health issue- The keyframing is how the increasing pollution is affecting the health of commuters or causing health concerns in broader society. A pulmonologist may be interviewed to discuss the health issues and courses of treatment; health minister might be asked to comment on the subject and ways and measures by the government to tackle them.

Pollution as a social problem- Here, pollution may be framed as a social issue connected with class, and dysfunctional society. How households now have 3 or more cars, sometimes one vehicle per family member – pointing towards the substantial rich-poor divide. How the low diesel prices have affected the sale of diesel cars in the past and how these have contributed more to the pollution. Car manufacturers, customers, and even economists and town planners could be brought in to influence public perception and create the right framing.

 

Pollution in a positive light- this is a less common frame, but an unconventional way to project something that is perceived as extremely dangerous and harmful by the public in a different frame. How the pollution motivated people to burst fewer firecrackers on Deepavali, or how the car rental aggregators came up with ideas like car-pooling or sharing the cabs. The ‘harm reduction’ efforts by the corporate could be emphasized here.

 

 

Key lessons for the PR industry:

Framing is strongly impacted by the language that is used to describe given events or critical features of a given story. Language serves as the cognitive framework through which we understand and make sense of the world around us, and apply the same to make sense of the news about a given event or a story.

Using the correct language is the key- a headline, in a reputed national daily about how a plane, flown by an Indian pilot crashed soon after takeoff raised a considerable furor in social media as well as other platforms. Every word could have huge implications in shaping public perceptions, inciting stereotypes, and validating or marginalizing a particular character of the story.

Corporate media has to be more vigilant- In a corporate media environment; consumers of news cannot rely solely on the packaging of news stories. Considering the state of the media landscape today, PR firms should be prepared to ask probing questions such as what are the reasons behind how a story is being packaged or presented and rule out hidden or disguised biases and even stereotypes.

Staying away from negative framing- Putting a negative spin on the news because otherwise, it wouldn’t be newsworthy is a dangerous way of applying PR principles. If PR agencies resort to “If it bleeds, it reads” public perception may be influenced at initial stages, but sooner than later, people would see through the negative frame and would shun the news and beliefs altogether.

Typology of Seven Models of Framing Applicable to Public Relations*

 

What is framed    Description
Situations Relationships between individuals in situations found in everyday living and literature. Framing of situations provides a structure for examining communication. Applies to discourse analysis, negotiation, and other interactions.
Attributes Characteristics of objects and people are accentuated, whereas others are ignored, thus biasing the processing of information in terms of focal attributes.
Choices Posing alternative decisions in either negative (loss) or positive (gain) terms can bias choices in situations involving uncertainty. Prospect theory suggests people will take greater risks to avoid losses than to obtain

gains.

Actions In persuasive contexts, the probability that a person will act to attain the desired goal is influenced by whether alternatives are stated in positive or negative terms.
Issues Social problems and disputes can be explained in alternative terms by different parties who vie for their preferred definition a problem or situation to prevail
Responsibility Individuals tend to attribute the cause of events to either internal or external factors, based on levels of stability and control. People portray their role in events consistent with their self-image in ways that maximize benefits and minimize culpability. People attribute causes to personal actions rather than systemic problems in society.
News Media reports use familiar, culturally resonating themes to relay information about events. Sources vie for their preferred framing to be featured through frame enterprise and frame sponsorship.

Adapted from Seven Models of Framing: Implications for Public Relations by Kirk Hallahan, Department of Journalism and Technical Communication, Colorado State University  JOURNAL OF PUBLIC RELATIONS RESEARCH, 11(3), 205–242 Copyright © 1999, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.

Framing is an effective strategy that helps public relations agencies determine where the audience puts its attention. The key to reaching others is not a great press copy or an amazing advertisement- but knowing the language that speaks to their frame, and using those exact same words to activate their frame and then allow them to see the issue from your perspective.

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.

Click here to check out our work.

 

 

 

PR trends 2017: Blurring lines of PR

PR has always evolved from chasing print media clippings for clients to securing a bite on visual media. But now digital media has changed the game forever. PR today is crossing over to its allied fields of marketing and advertising to conjoin and form a hybrid that can cater to the promotional needs of any company. This change has been brought about by the increasing advent of Internet and social media on the lives of consumers. If you aren’t on the Internet, you don’t exist at all. This is the raging new trend of the millennium and social media is its flag-bearer. The 450 million profiles on LinkedIn, 1.94 billion active users on Facebook, 328 million active users on Twitter–in addition to the millions on other micro-blogging and social media platforms–stand proof to the rising influence of social media.

You cannot reach your target audience unless you stay on top of the Google search results; and you won’t be on top of the Google search results if your blog posts, Facebook comments and Tweets don’t make the grade.

How does this connect to PR? Everything in the promotional space eventually entwines with PR. We need to understand how in the age of online adverts and digital marketing campaigns PR has been blending with various domains.

Content is your skeleton

High-quality content is a game changer in today’s SEO-driven content. Businesses that have a long form content and high-quality backlinks are ranked higher by Google according to Andrey Lipattsev, Search Quality Senior Strategist at Google. Today marketing and social media marketing have already stepped in to fill this need. But PR should ensure that quality content also follows the same route–bridging the gap between PR and marketing content. Good content can generate organic traffic into the sites and lift their search engine ranking. To succeed in the digital age, PR must generate quality content on social media, blogs and websites. It can catapult the ranking of the company on Google search engine.

PR, Digital Marketing and online reputation

Imagine you are selling a product and go all out on marketing. Chances are even when your online & outdoor advertising and marketing efforts pay off, the customer would first want to check product reviews. 81% of the customers read reviews online before making purchases according to Hubspot. Here is where your PR comes to play: A good set of reviews from reputed blogs, positive news articles on the company, a widely pronounced social media presence can make all the difference. Customers want an assurance that the product is good and the company has a visible presence in the market. Moreover, today’s customers also feel uneasy about bad ethics. They want to know where their money goes. Sustainability stories, stories on ethical practices of the company and corporate social responsibility all play a good role. PR not only fits the bill here but guides marketing too with such content.

 Image integration

A picture speaks better than words. Per a Backlinko study, using a single image within the content can raise search engine rankings. Most of the content today is filled with pictorials. Also, content creators opt for certified content-shareable nuggets of content. Unlike in the past when only advertising and marketing teams cared for such things, today PR also pays the same attention to pictorial details in their online content. Besides, social media PR is never complete without graphics. This is where PR works alongside with the creative and ad agencies to achieve its goals.

Social media marketing or social media PR?

Social media marketing focuses on how the brand wants to be projected, but social media PR engages influencers to push brand messaging. But where do you draw the line? Well, you don’t. Both have a job to do and make a perfect soul mate to each other. Customers like creative representations of a brand but also want to hear what others are saying about it. This can happen on the same platform fusing both verticals and offers the end benefit to the brand.

The sweeping march of social media has made cross-field working inevitable. Social media’s multidimensional oneness has weaved marketing disciplines together for a better brand promotion

5 Things a PR can Do to Fine-Tune Social Media Reach

Megyn Kelly of NBC News might have asked Prime Minister Modi if he used Twitter. But not many would ask you that today. Today, the question is direct—what’s your Facebook, LinkedIn id or Twitter handle? Social media connects you with your friends, colleagues, and even aliens. A mammoth 2.95 billion people are expected to be on social media platforms by 2020. Social media is here to stay. As connectivity improves and the use of smartphones goes up, a larger part of the world population will take to social media platforms to share, discuss, and critique. It’s unstoppable.

What started as an individual’s personal space to share with family and friends, has now evolved to envelop businesses, celebrities, government agencies, non-government organizations and a lot more. Hardly an individual or business exists today that is not touched by social media.

Creating content for social media is crucial for success in digital PR. In the past, a PR professional engaged with the newsroom of a media house. Now you create your own digital content through your PR newsrooms. Your clients will use this digital content to reach out to a wider audience for better visibility.

Need a customized social media strategy for your brand? Contact us!

The increasing influence of social media requires PR professionals to use social media platforms to their advantage. Here are 5 things a PR professional can do to fine-tune their social media reach:

Have a finger in every pie

Facebook may be the leading light of the social media platforms in terms of users. But there are other equally important platforms that cry out for attention. Social sites Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram each serve a specific purpose. Each of these social platforms can be used for a specific need. Facebook can be used for sharing news and personal information with family and friends; or publishing the latest events and trends on the business page. Twitter is more for breaking news shared in epigrammatic dispatches; LinkedIn is for professionals engaged in different industries; Instagram is the place to express through images.  Having a presence on all these popular social networking platforms can help PR professionals get the visibility they desire for their clients.

Building Relationships

Social Media is all about building relationships by word of mouth. A PR professional must build relationships with the audience and with the media fraternity. Social media platforms make finding contacts effortless, making connecting with the individual a breeze. A simple follow a Twitter account, regularly sharing updates from a specific account can make connecting with the individual that much easier as he or she will appreciate your move in sharing their content. You can even drop a private message too with a request of making a mention about your content. LinkedIn—a platform for professionals and corporate–is also the right place for building relations. A request to join a group of professionals on a specific subject can give you access to a group that regularly discusses on industry topics.

Broadcasting information

The widespread following that social media platforms command makes them apt for sharing or spreading information. A study conducted by ING on the impact of social media on the activities of PR and journalists found 50 per cent of journalists look at social media as a main source of information. PR professionals looking to attract specific individuals can tag them on Facebook or use the individuals’ or enterprises Twitter handle to get immediate attention.

Be a thought leader

There is an influx of content on social media. But not all information gets consumed. PR professionals must share content that stands out. Sharing thought-provoking industry-related articles on trending topics on networks like LinkedIn can attract the right audience and speaks well for the business. Getting quotes and views from industry experts is another way of creating interest in your content. It also gets shared by the experts in their social media feeds.

The right format

Sharing the content in the right format such as video and slideshows is a must-know for every PR professional. In 2015, Facebook boasted of an impressive 8 billion daily video views. Writing short concise articles for followers on Twitter and Facebook can help reach out to a larger audience. Sharing in-depth reports or white papers on platforms like LinkedIn and SlideShare can help attract people from the industry as well as businesses.

Social media must become an organic part of a PR professional’s plan to reach out to a larger audience. Digital PR should have a visible online presence. PR is no more about dissing out press releases to media outlets. It is a constantly evolving world and keeping up with technology is not going to be easy. A good PR adapts to new technology and trends. It is important that every PR professional today embrace Digital PR in full thrust. He or she must become a part of the conversation itself.

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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