Anchor | One Big Idea by Prema Sagar: Raise the bar on industry standards

17 Jan,2013

By Prema Sagar, Principal & Founder, Genesis Burson-Marsteller


The future of Public Relations in India will hinge on how we build trust and manage perceptions in a period when media and communications channels are evolving rapidly.


The proliferation of social media as a credible news source comes down to one thing — trust. With so many resources available to get news and information, audiences only seek sources they deem truly credible. The audience is wary of information sources today and this wariness extends to the PR industry which serves as a driver of communications. In order for our industry to continue forward and keep pace with advancements, we must be transparent and open — what I refer to as ethical influencing.


Ethical influencing is the new reality. The perception of those outside the industry must be favorable in order for the industry to succeed, but I believe we have a long way to go. This is an issue not just here in India but all over the world and one I have discussed in-depth with industry leaders like Harold Burson, the preeminent voice of leadership among PR professionals today.


Communicating is about influencing – whether to drive purchase consideration among consumers, or communicate to government the potential impact of policies and regulations, or just a company or organisation explaining their side of a story. It’s about delivering a message to influence behavior or influence perception. It’s about shaping ideas and motivating action, and it’s incumbent on all of us in the industry to do it ethically.


So what is the big idea? Industry standards that are validated and enforced by certification, an oath or some kind of formal promise. We advise our clients to be transparent and open about their practices and to communicate as much to their customers and stakeholders, so why not hold ourselves to the same standard.




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