Amith Prabhu: Smart communities will be the bedrock of PR

28 Mar,2016

By Amith Prabhu


Word-of-mouth marketing, influencer relations, key opinion leaders, buzz creation are terms that are commonly used and heard of in the world of Public Relations. All these hinge upon a critical aspect of strong communities that can be harnessed for greater good of society. Public Relations is constantly evolving and the next stage of evolution will be linked to how well professionals rally communities around.


When I toyed with the idea of bringing together the community of professionals in 2012, I had never imagined several things. When I look back today at the years gone by, I feel good that I was able to make a small contribution to the communications consulting business by bringing together fellow professionals both online and offline to enhance the reputation of the profession. Today, practitioners are aware that there is an annual event to look forward to alongside several other touchpoints.


There are several other communities that are waiting to be bound together. More often there is a link missing that brings together people of a similar background. Public Relations firms have tried doing that in different ways over various periods of time but there always will be a conflict of interest. There is a growing need for companies to get into the business of bringing like-minded people together and thus building smart communities. These smart communities in the short and medium term will play the powerful role of being influencers.


With influence comes responsibility which very often is not given importance. Influential communities can do a lot in supporting causes, working for justice and offering services to society that go a long way in making a difference. Most importantly, communities of influence will be a great tool for PR practitioners to meet the objectives they set out for their subjects – a subject could be the client or the organisation one works for.


Media relations and stunts was how PR began to get its prominence, that evolution led to crisis management and reputation counselling. The future will depend a lot on how communities of influence are built and how these communities are harnessed. The key is to understand the opportunity and maximise its potential.


Communities are built step by step through outreach, content, events and an offer that has never been made before. These communities can only grow if they are nurtured through a healthy mix of offerings. When they begin to get what they had never thought they would get stickiness emerges. Taping into them for mutually beneficial reasons is of utmost importance. Knowing the thin difference between a community and an association is critical.


Communities build trust. Communities bring credibility. Smart communities will indeed be the bedrock of smart public relations.


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