PR & CorpComm upheld India Inc’s buoyancy in 2020

24 Dec,2020

 

By Siddhartha Mukherjee

 

There is a silver lining in every struggle. Despite year 2020’s ugly side, the last 10 months have armed the Indian PR and Corporate Communications industry with substantial evidence that will establish it as the life saviour for India Inc. More so, the PR and corpcomm industry should not miss out on officially documenting this achievement in the industry journals and reading materials of b-schools.

 

The PR and corporate communications engine upheld the buoyancy of the Indian economy. Had it not been them, our economy would have had steeper fall. The engine minimised the impact of COVID fatality for India Inc. on the balance sheet.

 

How? The engine managed the demand side of both the corporate and product brand across stakeholders. On the supply side, they mobilised employee trust and hope which ensured that organisational workforce delivers and rolls out the products and services into the marketplace! Not just that, maintaining the faith of vendors and partners was another achievement on the supply side!

 

With paid pipeline of communications – advertising, promotions, events etc – almost dried up, the Public Relations blocks took charge and ensured the communications objectives were met to deliver the business objectives. Earned, Shared & Owned forms of communications engineered India Inc’s corporate and product brands visibility, engagement and conversion during the 10 months of crisis.

 

This needed gumption and a drive to deliver. The desks across Corporate Communication and PR Firms have worked tirelessly.

 

Below are some key milestones:

 

1. Sustenance:The core challenge that could have overpowered India Inc completely was that of sustaining what the business already had. In other words, sustaining the loyalty and business interest of existing stakeholders, not just customers alone. Sales revenue from customers was default but along with it came the challenge of maintaining the business interest of other stakeholder wheels like employees, investors, government, etc. On the consumer side, one of the challenges organisations were facing was not of brand recall but ease of access. Which is why, old brand loyalty suddenly and pricing did not matter. It was all about ease of access of the product. PR and corporate communications did not let this over power and managed corporate and product brand’s objectives beautifully for the brand owners or the top management.

2. Launch or New Announcements:Launch or pushing out of company announcements needed tact and innovation during Covid-19. Media universe had shrunk drastically. The weightages across traditional and online mediums had shifted. Yet, traditional was needed. Reaching out to journalists and influencers became a logistical task. Regular resources and comfort items like venue, press release dissemination mechanisms, journalist follow ups, inter-office logistics, and many such other aspects were suddenly facing many challenges. Despite that, the industry used creativity and tact to ensure that launches and/or corporate announcements were sent out and received by the media systematically and on time.

3. Balancing Personal & Professional Deliveries:I am aware of many corporate communication and PR firm professionals who have gone through sleepless nights during the last 10 months. The fight to maintain balance between their personal or family lives along with that of professional deliveries has been very taxing. Despite salary cuts and financial challenges that come with it, these professionals mobilised creative communication logistics for their employer or their client.

4. Internal Communications Wisely:The year 2020 saw a landmark achievement in the field of Internal communication. The Internal Communications services machinery has worked as a lifeline for India Inc. It has worked miracles towards protecting and sustaining the workforce despite the challenges imposed by Covid pandemic. The PR & Corporate Communication knowledge and services towards internal or employee communications ensured that workforce stayedassured and committed so that organisational objectives are met. Employment management and motivation have been two key very important contributions from the communications engine.

5. CXO-CCO-PR Firm Time-spent highest:If you look at the overall industry average, the timespent between brand-owners or CXOs with the communications engine – corporate communications desk and PR firm – was the highest, atleast during the last decade. The dependence and reliance of brand owners on corporate communications engine was immensely high.

 

The stakeholders of the communications industry – corporate communication teams and PR firms –nailed it in 2020. In totality, they delivered far, far more than what was expected or perceived by the brand owners. My request to the same stakeholders will be to not let go of this opportunity and document this fabulous achievement firmly. PR for PR will be easier going forward!

 

On a separate note, whether CXO and brand owners will acknowledge this achievement of the PR and corporate communications industry in business seminars and business school curriculums is an area we all will keenly wait to see.

 

 

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