Amith Prabhu: Three men who made news in interesting ways last week

11 May,2015

By Amith Prabhu

 

If you are a news junkie there is no way you would have missed news on Rahul Yadav, Salman Khan and David Cameron. The first two in the news for not-so-pleasant reasons and the third for winning against all odds in the UK elections. All three masters of the art of Public Relations.

 

Let us examine each of them briefly starting with Rahul. The 26-year-old IIT drop-out is CEO of Housing.com. He has made several outbursts in the past few weeks taking on big daddies of the game and ensuring he hogs the limelight both in Twitterverse and in the print media. He has done the unimaginable which most old school corporate types have rubbished as mindless arrogance. But in the process what he has achieved is capturing mindspace, attracting eyeballs and more bang for the buck on his crazy outdoor campaign. No one can tell whether all this is planned or ad hoc. But Rahul Yadav has ensured that in a bland category he has got noticed and four of five serious home buyers I spoke to consider his portal as a player to reckon with despite his tantrum-laced behaviour.

 

Next we have Salman Khan whose 12-year-old hit-and-run case made news last week when he was convicted by a Sessions Court, later released on interim bail by the high court. His foundation Being Human which he created in the past few years was used by the defence lawyers to highlight his good work. So also the role he played of a cop, a good Samaritan and a role model in some of his recent movies, which in hindsight were carefully chosen roles in order to offer perceptions to people that would look at him in a new light. He has won the Public Relations game largely and gotten away with a very tiny wrap on his knuckles for now.

Lastly, we come to David Cameron, the British Prime Minister who won a second term when everyone had predicted a hung Parliament. It may be important to note here that he is one of the few world leaders who was formerly a Public Relations executive as Head of Corporate Communications at Carlton Communications. He understands reputation management better than most of his rivals and used that smartly during his campaign similar to how his counterpart in India did a year ago. He was the first British to visit a Gurudwara. He used a catchphrase in Hindi to capture the imagination of South Asian voters and put up several candidates of Indian origin to run for office.

It will be interesting to see how they live up to the news they have made in the coming weeks. For now they have become more famous than they already were. The reasons may not be right, atleast for the two Indians. It may not be the best way to be in the news but sometimes being in the news in smart ways that do not break the rules is better than not being in the news. My reference to not breaking the rules in Salman’s case is how he used very popular characters and how he created a foundation to offer a new perspective.

 

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