Amith Prabhu: Managing the three Es in PR

06 Oct,2014

By Amith Prabhu


I often get asked this question – What do you PR people really do? What else do you need to have besides good relationships with the media? I’m sure every PR professionals gets asked this question every now and then. The response can range from straight forward to sarcastic to convoluted depending on who is asking.


Well, I do not think there are too many other professions in the world where professionals get asked this question. I have written about this in different ways in the past but will do it once again as India gets ready to host the biggest international PR conference later this week with the ICCO Summit taking place in New Delhi on October 9 and 10.


I have come to believe that the R in Public Relations should stand for Reputation and Relations is just one aspect of the entire Reputation ecosystem. I am also convinced that PR is about managing three Es – events, egos and expectations. But these lines are useless to people who want a bang for their buck. PR has been defined by various individuals and organisations but those are great for textbooks.


So how do we find an answer that is sensible and uniform for our own good? There is no one answer that will work. But let me attempt taking a stab at it anyway in two sentences. PR professionals help manage reputation for organisations, individuals and brands through meaningful engagement with stakeholders. The PR profession involves planning, strategizing and executing to achieve favourable results.


Public Reputation includes Investor Relations, Employee Engagement, Consumer Outreach, Media Management and External Relations which to those not familiar with the range of offerings may just seem like talking to journalists, pushing for a positive story, blocking a negative story interspersed with some wining and dining. This is far from the reality. There is no such glamour in the profession as it is made out to be.


The high in the business comes from being able to advise senior leaders within the organisation or in the client organisation based on data gathered that is translated into insights. There is a wide canvas to explore creativity if one is able to sell an idea well. Lastly, smart PR campaigns are linked to objectives which when realized can be highly satisfying.


So the next time you get asked the question or need to explain try the two sentences in bold above. If the other end is blank with just a stare then you have achieved partial success. If the person at the other end still has counter questions then we need to do more homework on how we tell the world what we do.


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