On May 28, 2020, the students of SCoRe had the pleasure of interacting with Bhavna Jagtiani, Chief Operating Officer, Edelman India. With over eleven years in the firm, she heads Edelman India’s Western operations managing offices in Mumbai, Pune and Ahmedabad.
Within a short period, she gave us many valuable insights into the world of PR and Communications and its continuously evolving landscape. Following are some of the key learnings explained in brief:
Trust is at the core of public relations and corporate communication. Edelman endorses the concept and its importance through Edelman Trust Barometer, an annual report measuring trust. To build customer trust and loyalty, a brand doesn’t need big CSR or corporate philanthropy budgets, it just needs to understand the people and their needs and act to fill that need gap. Giving an example, Bhavna talked about the current pandemic and how brands can modify their business model to help people in need.
Purpose helps you build your brand and makes it more relevant. The purpose of a brand should resonate with its target audience for the communication to attain its objective. People have cultural differences that impact their understanding and sensitises them towards certain aspects. A communication professional needs to understand those cultural nuances and mold their messaging accordingly.
Digital is an emerging medium for communication that reaches the masses in a more targeted and personalised manner. PR professionals need to drive digital for their clients to communicate effectively. This will provide their work with a 360 degree approach which is not limited to traditional media.
Many communicators now identify themselves as storytellers. This profession is all about telling corporate stories in the best way possible so that it resonates with the stakeholders. We as communicators need to identify the communication objective, articulate a message keeping in mind the cultural and behavioural nuances and then utilise the right channel to send it across.
Big data is the new big thing in the world of public relations. Brands have data in abundance at their disposal which can lead to valuable insights and can be utilised to communicate to their stakeholders. Analytics further empowers the brand to analyse the data, audiences and other important factors and act accordingly.
Media as an industry is evolving continuously subject to the people and their changing content consumption pattern. The media industry is inclining more towards digital especially keeping in mind the current Pandemic. PR professionals need to leverage this change and use this channel to communicate with their stakeholders.
Bhavna highlighted that the PR industry is evolving continuously with the rapidly evolving market, and the change in customer behaviour. There is a need for constant innovation. Therefore, PR professionals need to adopt a 360 degree approach which is not limited to traditional media. They could include digital collaborations with influencers which helps them in leveraging the influencer’s reach, their follower base and make the messaging authentic.
PR professionals need to be problem solvers, they need to understand the business problem and then strategise on how messaging can be shaped to meet the business needs. Most importantly, the work of PR is not to sell, but rather solve problems and meet the communication gap.
This is one aspect of communication that has been compromised in recent times. Because of the information clutter in the market, brands have been focusing on the quantity of the content instead of quality. This is mainly to increase their chances of visibility. One thing communicators should keep in mind is that while a higher quantity of content could get them higher visibility, high quality content would make readers seek out the brand.
One of the most prominent issues with the work of a PR consultancy is the measurement of PR. The influence a PR activity had on the customer’s mind is hard to quantify. But, digital advancement makes it possible for the consultancy to claim the impact that they create. The measurement could be in terms of impressions, customer engagement, website visits and business leads. At the end, the work should bring in some value to the brand.
Bhavna further substantiated these learnings with some campaign case studies that garnered high media traction and successfully attained the communication objective. The case studies are as follows and are definitely worth a quick google search:
As her parting words of advice, Bhavna said to the young students all set to enter the industry, “The initial two to four years are your foundational years so don’t be in a rush to do everything. Give yourself time and have a lot of patience. And most importantly, take a pen and write.”
– Sakshi Jain
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Sakshi Jain is a part of Class of 2020 of PG Programme in PR and Corporate Communications at SCoRe, Mumbai. She completed her winter internship with Adfactors PR, Mumbai.
She holds a BA degree in Mass Communication from Prestige Institute of Management and Research, Indore. She has done a two month internship with Aim High Consulting, Bengaluru. Her interest in the field of communication and Public Relations comes from her love for reading, writing and meeting new people. She is always keen on learning new things. Apart from that she is in love with food, dance and cinema.