Amith Prabhu: What can our Festivals teach us?

26 Oct,2015

By Amith Prabhu


We are at the fag end of the year. It is festival time. We are in the week between two of the most celebrated festivals. There are holidays galore. What do these festivals teach those of us in Public Relations? Dassera is the festival where the triumph of good over evil is celebrated and Diwali is the celebration of victory of light over darkness.


They almost signify the same thing and are usually celebrated a few days apart. The logistics aside there are few things that stand out in these festivals. First, newness – new clothes, newly done up houses, new start to the calendar and new reasons to get together. Second, is an exchange of sweets to mark celebration and third is coming together of families and friends to have a good time.


How do we apply these three elements of newness, sweetness and togetherness to our lives as Public Relations professionals? Newness is about innovation. About bringing freshness into the things we do for the organisations and brands we work on. Sweetness is in how we make our work stand out to bring a smile to the end consumer – our clients’ customer and Togetherness is about how we use our various networks to deliver the best thinking to the product and service we ideate on.


There are a few young professionals who are trying to do this all the time. Before the year end I will try and feature 15 of them. If you think you are one of them or know someone who constantly tries to innovate, stand out and bring people together please let me know.


The question that I keep asking is that why are there very few among us who innovate, or stick our neck out or do things to make a difference to our profession? Is there a lack of encouragement? Is there an inherent absence of inertia? Or is it just lack of interest and desire to the new like we would do during the festival time? Why cannot we carry the festival spirit to our professional world?


I have interacted with more public relations professionals in 2015 than I have in the previous years. I have met with people across multiple organisations and across all levels. I still can’t think of more than a handful who write a regular blog on the profession. I cannot think of more than two who are outstanding public speakers. I cannot think of more than the usual pioneers who can be role models beyond the four walls of their organisation. I don’t think there is dearth of talent. I feel it is just the absence of a spirit to go out there and showcase the newness, the sweetness and the togetherness beyond that rare annual occasion.


I hope this Diwali marks a period of fresh thinking and renewed vigour for the professional community in the country. And we hope to see that in a couple of Cannes Lions coming home for the PR category next year. Until then, enjoy the celebrations and watch what you eat.


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