Siddhartha Mukherjee: Are we stuck at 10%?

18 May,2017

By Siddhartha Mukherjee

 

Happy to have come across an interesting and more realisticconstruct related to Public Relations. It says that the perception management of a corporate brand is dependent 90% on what it does or how it conducts itself and only 10% percent on what it says or communicates. While this comes as a whiff of fresh air, something that I and many others in the industry concur, I worry, however, if PR & corporate communications professionals even have the wherewithal to tackle the 90%.

 

A quick glance across the PR agency and corporate communications industry will reveal the following findings:

1. CEOs, CXOs, in short, the top management of organisations perceive CorpComm desk as a cost centre.
2. In 7 out of 10 (if not more) CorpCommprofessionals’ cases, CXO’s design of KRAs and KPIs is to simply manage the media (journalists).
3. More often than not, across many organisations, Jjournalists are sought after to manage the CorpComm Chair.
4. CorpComm’s basic expertise is “networking”.
5. CorpComm’s KPIs are measured through Advertising Equivalent Value.
6. More often than not, CorpComm reports to the CMO and not the CEO.
7. CorpComm’s involvement in boardroom discussions – actual business planning, functioning and execution of services (experience) across stakeholders – is far from reality.
8. For the team members in the PR agency which is hired to manage the client’s external “perception” – an uphill task, their ignorant (still manage to find it cute)logic of working in PR industry is a hilarious “I like meeting people!”
9. Ability to create a large turnout of journalists at press conference, thickness of the news clippings folder and the ability to kill negative news are largely the ammunitions used to showcase value add and ask for fee hikes.
10. Just after having settled down with the understanding the Print and TV news dynamics, they are now hit with a new wave of digital media…and still figuring out how to manage it.

 

How on earth will the Indian PR and corporate communications professionals actually be ready to manage real brand perceptions in the market place? To be able to go beyond 10%, and manage the 90% comprising experience management, some drastic ground changes need to be done!

1. CXO’s KRAs and KPIs should be linked to a weighted equation of reputation scores and business health scores across sales and marketing, human resource, finance and so on
2. The construct of CorpComm recruitments needs to change. Expected skill sets, design of KRAs and KPIs need to change. In other words, not more than 10% of KRAs and KPIs should focus on journalist and news coverage management.
3. Their participation in business planning and execution should be default and regular
4. SOPs of business – across HR, Finance, Product Development, Marketing, Sales & Post Sales, Sustainability, and more – should be designed in partnership with the CorpComm desk
5. Lastly, CorpComm needs to be considered as a Savings generation (if not Revenues generation) function.

 

While the principle of 90:10 conduct:communication approach is a great one, for it to take shape, ground level changes need to be implemented first.

 

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