Amith Prabhu: Politics is all about Public Reputation as it is in everyday life and more

20 Oct,2014

By Amith Prabhu


The weekend was hectic. A hectic campaign in Maharashtra was ending and I was closely associated with one individual who was contesting the election in a big way. In the midst of this on Friday I was honored to be awarded the PR Professional of the Year title for the year by exchange4media (e4m) at their annual Public Relations and Corporate Communications Awards. Interestingly, the awards began a few years ago when Pradyuman who now runs MxMIndia was the Editor of e4m.


One of the reasons the independent jury chose me, I was told, is because of my efforts in uniting the PR fraternity in India by putting together PRAXIS three years in a row. Well, I believe I have a long way to go and this award is more a challenge to do more. I began with politics and a very interesting election just concluded in the two states which are home to the highest number of PR professionals (Haryana and Maharashtra).


As someone who saw these elections for the last 100 days from very close quarters I can share that the voters are more intelligent than ever before. If a Narayan Rane could face defeat and a Prithviraj Chavan could taste success it shows that voters are beginning to differentiate between good and bad candidates. While the Prime Minister addressed over two dozen rallies in less than two weeks his party could not get a clear majority though they really made headway in a state where they always played second fiddle to their erstwhile coalition partner.


Political Public Relations is part of the larger Reputation narrative that is playing out where a politician needs to be a good person, needs to do good work and then needs to communicate that work. I would translate that further to state that a politician needs to build a Database of achievements and create Insights from them to excite citizens to vote for him or her. The politician needs to then be Decisive about things he or she says and does to Inspire the electorate to make a smart choice. Finally, he or she needs to be Disciplined in order to Impress influencers to build a case for him.


More importantly just being a good person is no good. The ability to understand that the world is not kind is paramount. This quality comes with experience. This is with regard to a politician.


What about public reputation managers who run communications for candidates? There are few other Ds that one needs to inculcate as professionals managing Public Reputation campaigns for clients which all lead to constantly communicating. Three of them are Dedication, Determination and Detailing.


Dedication is the ability to spend long hours in difficult conditions with multiple stakeholders driving various agendas. Journalists, Analysts, Fundraisers, Party members all respect dedicated professional who may or may not share an ideology. Quitting or Giving Up is not an option whatever be the adversity, until the day of voting and if possible till the day of results.


Determination is less about getting the candidate to win and more about getting the candidate to embrace all forms of communications especially events that are not just photo opportunities but create a feel good factor. As communication professionals the job is not to make a candidate win but to make sure in his or her quest to win he or she communicates well and communicates through all available mediums. This determination is for the cause of communications which is why we are professionals and not politicians.


Lastly, the Devil is in the Details. An eye that is always open and a constant ear to the ground is a must to be a successful communications professional in the political space. Everything else follows including queries from future clients who want to run for office.


An outstanding public reputation manager is the one who can integrate the 3 Ds of the politician and 3 Ds of a professional to deliver a seamless campaign. India is coming of age and is seeing a rise of such professionals. Here’s to the next election.


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3 responses to “Amith Prabhu: Politics is all about Public Reputation as it is in everyday life and more”

  1. Sushmit says:

    Excellent collection of thoughts… And absolutely accurate. I would add two more Ds – Dispassionate and Discreet – equally important terms to take sanctuary of… Your thoughts?