Amith Prabhu: One size does not fit all!

08 Jul,2013

By Amith Prabhu


This blog is for everyone but especially for Himanshu Agarwal who was the first to make a comment on my first blog with some vital questions.  I’m not an expert but I can do my best with a decade of experience to offer some thoughts on some important issues that have constantly come up in the business of PR consulting.


On his first question of how Public Relations is measured there is no one straight answer. Public Relations is no longer about media relations where one issued a press release, organised a press conference or pitched a story and then waited for the output in order to measure the outcome. It’s important to understand the difference between output and outcome and critical to decide with internal stakeholders (the client for the PR firm or if it’s the corporate communications manager, then the CMO if it’s brand reputation management related or the CEO if it’s corporate reputation management related) how each programme is measured when completed. There is no one size that fits all. There are new metrics evolving for digital outreach programmes and these differ depending on the social network used.


There is now an emergence of three to four compartments in media output that impact business outcomes. These compartments are referred to as Earned, Owned and Paid which make them self-explanatory. Traditionally, Public Relations-led activities that were in the realm of Earned media but the lines are blurring and all the three categories of organisations are doing what they always did in addition to dabbling seriously in the other compartments. So you have ad agencies hiring PR managers to offer clients earned media opportunities and PR firms hiring media buyers to let clients co-create properties with outlets.


Public Relations is definitely a lot more than what it is perceived to be and ironically suffers from a perception problem that it created for itself over the years. However, this is changing with the emergence of the true-blue professionals. Those who started out in Public Relations after earning a qualification that had Public Relations theory as a subject. The leading PR firms of the world are evolving newer points of view and changing the course of direction by becoming Public Engagement companies in some instances, Public Communications companies in some cases among other things. There is no right or wrong answer as long as clients are convinced about what is being promised and what is being delivered and the leading firms of the world strive to create ethical outreach programmes. Because there is no one size that fits all.


Amith Prabhu is the founder of The PRomise Foundation which organises PRAXIS – the annual summit for PR & Corp Comm professionals in India. During the day he is a full time employee at a leading Public Relations firm in their Chicago office. He spent the first eight years of his post graduation career in India and is in the US for two years of which he has completed 18 months. Views expressed here are the author’s own and don’t represent those of his past, present, future employer or of MxMIndia. You can connect with him on Twitter @amithpr


Post a Comment 

One response to “Amith Prabhu: One size does not fit all!”

  1. Himanshu Agarwal says:

    Thanks Amith. I like to read your posts and am in total agreement with your point of view over here. I am not a native to the discipline, but yes there is a perception problem which exists. Its not uncommon when aspersions are cast over earned media especially when some organizations engage paid prosumers or bloggers to sing about the brand/organization.

    To use an analogy from google ad words…Trust is a keyword which ranks low on the quality score 🙂