Amith Prabhu: Public Relations is about the simple touches

20 Jul,2015

By Amith Prabhu

 

My cousin’s son who lives in the American Midwest is a 19-year-old freshman in college (equivalent to first year). He is a regular American teenager whose parents are of Indian origin. The interesting part is that he is currently a White House intern. That’s not the story. The story is that he is currently enjoying his summer vacations with his parents and every Saturday evening the President of the United States in whose office he is an intern calls him to check on him and get a sense of how he is doing. This in essence is Public Relations.

 

I recently heard that the Global VP of Marketing of an upcoming mobile handset brand spends 30 to 40 minutes with journalists on a one-on-one call during the launch of a new device. The outcome is some outstanding coverage in the media outlets on the day of launch. These seem like minor interventions but they go a long way.

 

I have heard this legend about this famous Indian actor. He is a stickler for punctuality and down to earth. If he has to be at a venue or a film shoot location at 9 am he ensures he reaches there by 8.45 am and either circles the neighborhood or waits patiently in his car so he can show up on time and then on meeting people he will introduce himself by stating his full name which makes people see the human side when he says, “Hello, my name is Amitabh Bachchan”.

 

When asked what the secret of his popularity was, the Chief Minister of Tripura said, “We do not keep any secrets from the people — that is our secret. We are transparent. We do not make any promise which we cannot fulfill. We make only those promises which we can fulfill. If we try to fulfill people’s expectations, they will obviously then elect us.” He is more famously known as India’s poorest Chief Minister and is the longest serving CM of the state. People love him and there is no greater public relations than honesty and simplicity.

 

More often people mistake public relations to be something else. And forget the easy methods of outreach which are about simplicity, honesty and punctuality. We see and hear of these stories in daily life. Ultimately, it is the individual who represents the brand or the organisation who makes all the difference. Public Relations is about the simple touches that an effort goes into that registers in the mind of people a connection is aimed at.

 

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