Amith Prabhu: How do we make things better?

07 Mar,2016

By Amith Prabhu

 

In the last week I came across two incidents online where a content creator was peeved by a content catalyst. I’m coining these two words to refer to the journalist/ blogger on one side and the so-called Public Relations person on the other. As they say, when the going gets tough, the tough gets going.

 

In the first incident there was an exchange of emails between Pratishta Khan of Breakfast Project and Nishant Patel of K Media which looked something like this: https://twitter.com/pratishthakhan/status/703883861978013697. In the second incident there was a blog shared by Tanmoy Goswami of Fortune India on LinkedIn (https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/dear-pr-manager-how-you-make-enemies-less-than-2-minutes-goswami) that has an interesting tale of an interaction he had with a professional from a large Public Relations firm. These are glimpses of what the world of public relations is coming to. I’m not making a judgment call on this. All I can say is that Public Relations companies are not putting enough effort to raise the bar and make things better.

 

It is also important to note that there are genuine public relation firms and there are the fakes. This happens in any profession. Even the medical profession has quacks and there are half-baked lawyers and engineers. But since they do not deal with media on a frequent basis, they seldom get exposed. This seems like a perennial problem with no solution in sight. One option is to introduce a code but who will ensure the code is adhered to? Another option is to launch an accreditation system on a war footing to standardise certain practices and increase the quality of the talent.

 

In the coming days the four Cs of public relations – crisis counsel, content and community – will become more important than ever before. The professional of today needs to be a jack of all these four and a master of one. I’m not sure if the talent coming into the business is ready to embrace these changes. While the client hires from B-schools where there is a stringent focus on academics, the consultancies are compelled to hire from a mixed bag of institutions and this will lead to a quality deficit in the time ahead. The two examples I shared at the start are just few of the many mishaps that happen on a daily basis. All hope is not lost. I was fortunate to be on the jury to select the 30 under 30 in PR for a second time in a row. And some of the entries were definitely fascinating. It will be important to see how these 30 fare in time frames of five and ten years.

 

In the meantime, we will need at least 400 under 40 who do the heavy lifting so that the reputation of the profession is taken a few notches higher. Please share your ideas in the comments section as to how can things be made better? It is better late than never.

 

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