Siddhartha Mukherjee: PR Awards: Push for Effectiveness over Creativity

05 Nov,2015

By Siddhartha Mukherjee


It is heartening to see the increase in the number of PR Industry Awards around us. Good development! Acts as a much needed motivation booster doze for PR Agency professionals. However, when you step back and take stock of the Big Picture, am not sure if this is helping the PR Industry and its professionals, the way it ideally should, in the long run.


If you look at most of the entry nominations, one is not always sure if one is to evaluate the creativity or effectiveness aspect. More so, due to lack of authentic, holistic or any data on effectiveness, our judgement gets influenced by the creativity quotient.


To start with, the purpose behind PR Industry Awards can be as follows:

  • Window for the work done by PR Agencies…does act as PR For PR
  • Great recognition time for the Faces behind the Hard Work
  • Last but not the least, acts as a Good perk for Agency professionals


However, for me, a very important element missing in the charter, above, is to show that PR works…it delivers for the brand and the clients. For our industry, the immediate need of the hour is to showcase effectiveness to the clients and external world. To maintain our image, we must ensure that these award sessions should not end up being perceived as self-gratification platforms for PR agencies.


Here is where award initiatives need to quickly move their emphasis from Creativity to Effectiveness.


Below are some quick thoughts on PR Awards going forward:

1. Create separate awards for PR Creativity vs Effectiveness awards


2. Set clear parameters of Creativeness & Effectiveness


3. Involve PR Consultancies (through its Association), Clients (Indian Society of Advertisers or Association of Corporate Communication Heads could be a good start) and neutral PR Auditors to accredit the systems and processes of evaluation.


4. Especially on the PR Effectiveness awards, best will be if nominations are sent by the Client and its PR Agency jointly rather than nominations being filed only by the Agency.


5. While this will create the much needed client interest and ownership of such events, this will also ensure that there is enough and scientific data to establish Effectiveness. That should ideally be mandatory.


6. Effectiveness should not be about advertising value, number of clips or space occupied in the news/editorial section etc. It should rather be about what the PR effort did to the brand and the client’s business, both during ‘Business As Usual’ or ‘Business Not As Usual’. Each of these should be quantifiable.


Awards are great platforms to create branding and flagship for our Industry. However, the raison de etré of the awards should be constructed in a way so that it elevates and strengthens PR Tool and its professionals organically. It should not just be momentary gratification avenues but provide acknowledgement platforms to clients and brand custodians.


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


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