One Big Idea by Khalid Jamal: PR: The ‘real-time’ idea in motion

07 Feb,2013

By Khalid Jamal, Principal Consultant & CEO, Orion PR & Digital Pvt. Ltd.


The luvvies at Cannes Festival 2012 lapped up the celebrations: JWT, an ad agency winning the lions at the Cannes for PR. Many, however, lamented the lack of big ideas in PR campaigns by PR agencies.


The truth is otherwise. For, very often the distinction in functional expectations from advertising and PR still remains largely blurred in marketing fraternity. Cannes is just an example of the undercurrent.


The big idea in PR cannot be an admirable piece of brilliant artwork. It’s got to be ‘idea in motion’ that communicates in real-time consistently and convinces all stakeholders of the conviction, viability, fairness, vision, social conscience and fair-play of a brand, an enterprise, a management and its practices, a social movement or a government or for that matter any institution. This is where the dichotomy of ‘big idea’ in PR lies.


Given the flux in operating environment with heightened consumer activism, newer legislations, vociferous pressure groups and active social media enthusiasts the big idea in PR will have to be in excelling the brief beyond the ‘column centimeter coverage’ syndrome and engaging the stakeholders with credible communication that could contribute to building credibility.


Recall how Narayan Murthy of Infosys and herbal queen Shahnaz Husain leveraged PR: Murthy on front pages of all dailies seen playing golf with the visiting Japanese premiere or Shahnaz’s enterprise featuring on CNN International and her ‘Shahnaz Live Make Over’ Shows in Southern cities that enhanced market share. In contrast, millions were poured into building a now-defunct hospital by Dabhol Power Company which elicited the media headline: “Hiding behind the hospital”. No wonder, the company has since shut shop.


Today, the ‘PR idea in motion’ must reflect tactical moves that intervene and foster a conducive operating environment and resolve conflicts and contradictions, democratically.


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