Amith Prabhu: Time for real Reputation Management professionals in Politics

19 Jan,2015

By Amith Prabhu

 

There is an interesting piece of news last week on how the Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister is hiring a plethora of journalists to manage media monitoring and relations in the state. I wish evolved politicians like him thought differently and went beyond media managers to hire reputation managers. People who can advise on what is the right thing to do and also on doing the right things.

 

That reminds me of another state which is largely managed by a few bureaucrats and a super chief minister which recently organised an international business event. The event was high profile and one of the biggest organised by a state government. But several shortcomings of the event were in the area of reputation management because the bureaucrat in charge thought he knew too much.

 

Then there are states where friends and family are given the task of managing communications and building reputation with or without the support of consultancies. The question I repeatedly ask is why is that politicians can’t professionalise this aspect of their public persona. Of hiring professionals to manage communications and reputation who are trained and are experts.

 

Well, the only three answers I can think of are: That politicians do not know that professionals exists. Or if they know they do not want to trust their reputation management with these professionals. Lastly, the professionals that exists are not good enough or according to the politician not well qualified for the task at hand.

 

Political communications is tricky and at the same time it can also be a straightforward business. There are few who can pull off political campaigns from a communications perspective and they need to train more professionals to follow suit. I have been contemplating starting a programme to train political communications specialists because I believe it is the need of the hour.

 

By the time we head into 2019 there will be a need for over a thousand political communications specialist. This is based on the back of the envelope calculation that at least two candidates in every constituency, if not more is looking for one. I hope this dream of seeing a new professions emerge can see the light of the day.

 

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