Kolkata, June 5, 2020: The Public Relations stalwarts discussed ideas and deliberated on novel concepts on the fifth day of #MediaNext 2020, organized by the Kolkata-based Adamas University. The fifth day focused on New Media PR (Branded Content Included) & Business Ethics.
The speakers for the day included acclaimed Sai Nagesh: Media Investment Specialist and the Chief Strategy Officer of Laqshya Media; Dr. Nanditesh Nilay, Author, Speaker, Columnist, Political & Social Analyst and an Entrepreneur; Paromita Ghosh, the Director of Candid Communication- India and UK, Siddhartha Upadhyay, an Evangelist, Philanthropist, Brand Consultant, Sports Advisor and a social entrepreneur; Amith Prabhu, is the Co Founder of India’s only weekend offsite summit- ‘PRAXIS’ and is a pioneering Public Relations and Reputation Management professional and Parveez Modak, the Executive Director, Strategy and Insights of MSL India.
The conclave is being organized in association with Sharda University, Birla Global University, DME, AIMEC, Lok Samvad Sansthan, Exchange4media, ABP Education and IndiaReal. The mega conclave is being organized over a period of 10 days from June 1, 2020 to June 10, 2020. Each day of the conclave focuses on one specialized domain of the Media and Entertainment (M&E) industry and the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on that specific domain.
Sai Nagesh, In a career spanning a quarter of a century, CSO- Laqshya Media, has been a Client as well as a Media Investment Specialist, worked with most of the top Global Advertising networks began the proceedings with his distinctive magnetism and quipped that brandsed content is imperative in today’s VUCA world. He said, “Branded content gets more attention and creates brand recognition.”
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Nagesh iterated, “Consumers like branded content because they believe the content is more consumer-focused.” He went on to add that the market challenges and how to build brand personality. He quoted by saying, “Advertisements are fleeting but its residues are rock hard.”
He remarked that various contents are evolved and how the branded contents can be stayed there in consumer’s mind and how can they be brand resilience.
In what seemed like a comment on the contemporary scenario, Sai confided that most of the problems create because of ‘clutter’; people don’t want to watch the advertisements. There are many strategies adopted by the consumers to ad avoidance. In many media the percentage varies to 50 to 87%. He added how sponsorships, advertorials were the reason of distractions on the popular media. The ‘era of product placements’ is the key strategy and implementation and has beautifully explained in film like ‘Cast Away’ and ‘Ye Jawani hai Deewani’– Nagesh added.
He explained about the ‘Rise of Entertainment Options’ in terms of context starts from early to mid 1900’s to Indian context.
He further explained about the ‘media integration’ where the brands started approaching media owners to integrate their content to be relevant in the story itself. The best example in Indian context is MTV roadies- Nagesh explained.
He further iterated that in developing engagement with your consumer is the need for great story telling, need to be an unobtrusive part of content, content marketing.
With Media Convergence technology and brand narratives of digital media makes the advertising and branded content more inclusive. In the Covid times, there is a rise of content in digital platform. The entire message delivery system to reach out to audience has changed to digital mode. “Both the young and older generation (digital immigrants) are seemed to consume contents on digital platform because of the recent pandemic of Covid-19” Nagesh added.
Nagesh also added that ‘the message isn’t a sales pitch; it creates trust between the brand and the consumer’.
Next in line was Dr. Nanditesh Nilay is an Author, Speaker, Columnist, Political & Social Analyst and an Entrepreneur.
He started by explaining the strategy of branding. Dr. Nanditesh quipped by saying that ‘if the product is good’ then all the criteria to be taken care of and if the product is struggling then you will struggle’.
Dr. Nanditesh asked if someone wants to be good can there be any brand strategy. For him to be good is not depended on branding. It’s a brand in itself. He narrated examples of Vivekananda ji and influence of his mother on him. By giving examples of Vivekanada he described that a good person is that who has sense of sensitivity and compassion. That’s why mothers and fathers are treated as great as they always sacrifices for their children. They are the first teachers from whom we can learn the art of being a good person. We are not able to see the big picture because we are engrossed in our own troubles. He described “Becoming Good is a process of ‘FOR’”. The process of being good starts from your family. There is difference between an excellent person and good person. The first lesson is to grow not with parents but to grow like them.
The second lesson is to try to do the things that one is capable of and it should begin from home. It’s our capacity to help others. When we do not do things as per our capacities we develop negative qualities such as inferiority complex and we look into the lives of others. Our life should influence our work not the other way round. He toed the line of Gandhiji that the destiny is as much important as the journey. Lastly he advised to be good for all.
The third speaker of the day was Paromita Ghosh. She is the Founder Director of Candid School of Communication, India and UK. She spoke about “Need for PR in Post Covid times”. The challenge for reviving business, identify the stake holders in post Covid times need of the hour and is very contemporary as everyone is in dark about the future of their business, industry and the relations as well. There she highlighted that in the recent pandemic everyone should be ‘empathetic’ in dealing with their clients, consumers or the person involving in organization/institutions.
She further added ‘how are PR agencies bracing for a post-COVID business environment’ as the past months have seen a drastic change in the way businesses are being operated across sectors. She further explained that the various insights will help the sector tide over the challenges posed by COVID 19.
“A PR agency’s role and sole mission should be to provide support and advice to its clients in these dark and challenging times and all the resources of the PR Company, its time and energy should be used to make the situation less disruptive and stressful for the clients”- Paromita iterated.
Addressing the issue of how are PR agencies bracing for a post-COVID business environment –she added that a lot of innovations are happening already. There would be new opportunities that would emerge out of COVID. We’re in for a V-Shaped recession. That’s when PR firms will come up strongly.
She further added PR and marketing tips for companies in the COVID-19 era- Utilize the social media and blog presence more than ever; adapt the announcements, focus on thought leadership, change the messaging, and a letter from CEO to clients, to help the community, effectively plan for a post-COVID future.
“Today experience architecture is more interconnected and holistic than ever before — and as a result, the following are the new trends that one should be aware of in order to build next-level customer experiences”- Paromita added.
Last she added few pointers that should hopefully make any meetings more productive, even without the co-workers knowing like ‘own time’, multi tasking role and to be a problem solver.
Next speaker of the day was Mr. Siddhartha Upadhyay, an evangelist, a philanthropist, brand consultant, sportsman and advisor and a social entrepreneur, he combined his passion for sports and societal welfare. He spoke on ‘understanding relevance and creating topical strategies in PR and Brand Communication”.
He started with giving example of Shunzu and his book of 5th century “Art of Warfare”. He emphasized on being relevant and profitable. By quoting Shunzu he explained that it is very important to conquer the mind the opponent. There should be a exit plan for the opponent. He further added that by concentrating too much on exit gates one fails to win the war.
He advised the students not to tag themselves as PR guys but to think themselves as entrepreneurs. The results they will produce will decide their relevance and place in the world.
Coming to the present situation he iterated that the world was not prepared for Covid. But few were prepared by thinking ahead and being relevant to the times. PR can make profit by utilizing Empathy, content, relevance. By using this how one produces that matters.
The most important thing according to Siddharth is to make one relevant to the times. One should focus on crisis management and to respect himself, his work, time and those for whom one works and to monetize the situation by turning the crisis into opportunities. He gave examples like Netflix etc. He advised the students to reinvent themselves to be relevant. That will be the key to success. He gave Examples of how the PR changed over time.
Again coming back to Covid -19 times he told that he don’t see this as crisis for PR professionals but as a growth factor. He concluded by saying that if one has strong principles, good academic knowledge, and understanding he or she will be the next Poster Boy or Girl of PR.
The fifth speaker of the day was Amith Prabhu, is a pioneering Public Relations and Reputation Management professional with over 15 years of experience, having worked, in India and in the USA at leading marketing communication companies. He is the co-founder of India’s only weekend offsite summit for the profession – PRAXIS under the aegis of the Promise Foundation, which is a member of the Global Alliance (GA).
He started with very contemporary topic of ‘Reinventing Communications and Reinventing PR’. There he talked about the important aspects of Media relations. He stated that there are ten large things in PR where majority deals with the media relations.
“Crisis preparedness and management is the integral aspect of PR’, Amith added. He discussed about the contents in PR. He took example of every house and every building we live in to understand the basic process of PR.
He further explained about the four Cs of PR; content creation, connecting with stake holders, crisis management and counsel.
He beautifully narrates about the three foundation of PR includes; campaigns, communication and common sense.
He further explained the text with convergence technology for Omni-channel platform. He advised to students more to practice on writing and listening more to content and people.
The last speaker of the day was Parveez Modak, Executive Director, Strategy & Insights, MSL India. With more than 20 years spent across multiple communications disciplines, Parveez leads the Strategy & Insights Group at MSL India. A strong advocate of an integrated communications, Parveez works across teams to help develop solutions for clients’ business and reputation challenges.
He talked on ‘staying connected in times of downturn’, which was very interesting and lucid. There he discussed on down turn presents the challenges and valuable opportunities.
“Economies are cyclical by nature: the next recession is out there on the horizon and there is opportunity: Understand stakeholders/customers’ changing needs during a recession and fulfill them in unique ways and strengthen trust and reputation, to grow market share, increase profit margins and exponential growth once the market recovers”- Parveez added.
He further added ‘operational efficiency, market development and asset development’ as communications and marketing which plays an integrated role during and post recession.
‘The brands need to be connected with proper communication and effective engagements’- Parveez added.
“Deep understanding of the stakeholders, values and beliefs (relationships, concerns, dreams) and not just consumers of brands”- Parveez stated.
He explained about the changing priorities and expectations of stakeholders of corporate and brands should be empathetic, helpful, purpose driven with communication skill.
He articulated many brands which came effectively to connect with the audiences or stakeholders in an effective manner.
Most importantly Parveez has showed the ‘down turn matrix’ which deals with relevant/initiatives, engagement and communication themes.
“Be true to beliefs and values, act on them, walk the talk values and beliefs must be demonstrated across stakeholders”- Parveez iterated.