Siddhartha Mukherjee: PR = Jugaad + X + Y + Z…; X = Media Planning

18 Jun,2015

By Siddhartha Mukherjee


It is not just Algebra. I believe this is a matter of bringing the “X Factor” into the Indian PR Industry.


Our Public Relations Industry started and has been thriving on Jugaad. This silent army of PR professionals, certainly for the last two decades, has been quietly helping organisations and brands get “Exposure” in the news space across newspapers, magazines, TV channels, websites and social media. Their ‘Jugaad’ as relationship managers with journalists has actually helped many corporate entities enter India, settle well, understand the market and more importantly trigger the interplay of demand and supply.


There is certainly no denying that Jugaad is a must! The economy and society that we belong to make it mandatory. However, in the last few years, this standalone art of Jugaad has been fortified with a crying need of science of planning and management of Public Relations.


The good news is that PR is now getting equated with ROIs. ROIs are with reference to targets. Targets, in turn, have to be supported with Media Planning. In short, PR efforts are a waste if constructed without Media Planning. Whosoever’s objective it might be – the CEO’s set of ROIs, the CMO’s set of ROIs, that of HR, CFOs etc. – these can be achieved only when there is a clear plan, brief and media planning support.


Why is Media Planning needed?

– The cancer called EAV/AVE continues to kill and decay the industry. With more than two decades in use, this unit of measurement has not, in any way, been able to upgrade the stature of PR Agencies in the Client minds. Neither has it been able to pull funds for the service providers.

– PR, like any other tool of Brand Communication, goes through the normal process of:

o Input

o Output  (ROI- 1)

§  Exposure of your Brand and messaging in Media

o Outcome

§  Engagement of your Brand and messaging (ROI – 2)

§  Conversion of your Brand within your Target Audience (ROI – 3)


– CEO, CMOs and other Function Heads want us to speak the above language


– Clients have started looking at us as Media Advisors and Partners. No Longer as Postmen or Liaison Officers. They want us to speak the language of Media Planning.


Who should take charge of this?

I have always believed that agencies are the catalysts to any change within the industry and especially, in a client’s mindset. At least that is what I have seen with the advertising industry and its agencies.


Here, I must acknowledge that many of the PR agencies that I am in touch with, have already started this implementation. They are walking the talk! Owners, top management and their team members are, slowly though, imbibing the science of media planning.


Are there symptoms of Change at the Ground Level?

– PR Agency employees are moving beyond the Chakravyuh of databases like Publication List, Journalist and Editor List, Ad rate List, etc.


– They are not only incorporating the topics of readership and circulation but also trying to understand how they are calculated.


– They are trying to avoid the yardstick of EAV/AVEs


– PR agencies are asking for smarter briefs stating clear and measurable expectations. PR agencies are working out even smarter deliverables in the client service contracts.


PR agencies and our industry at large need the X factor. The definition of X factor, well, can be many. For the moment, media planning capabilities will add to or modify our industry’s existing personality.


PR Agencies have the resource, bandwidth and very importantly, the proximity with the clients. Many have started this movement.


The question is that when will they make it a viral, Industry wide movement?


Siddhartha Mukherjee is a senior PR industry professional and currently Senior Vice President, Eikona – Earned Media Planning, Audit and Advisory. The views expressed here are his own.



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