Public Relations in the Digital Age

The UPES School of Modern Media organised an insightful and interactive webinar on ‘Public Relations in the Digital Age’. Professor K.G. Suresh, Dean, School of Modern Media, UPES, moderated the session with Ms. Mitu Samar, Founder, Eminence, a premier reputation consultancy, and Dr. Navneet Anand, Founder and Director, GreyMatters Communications and Consulting

The webinar on ‘Public Relations in the Digital Age’ threw up some key insights on the way digital technology is impacting PR world and what industry experts look for in a prospective employee. The experts took questions from modern media aspirants, their parents and educators. Some excerpts of their interaction with the audience:-

How is the PR world evolving and what does the future hold for young professionals?

Ms Mitu Samar:- Public Relations (PR) is a deliberate, planned conscious effort by a company or an individual to have a positive image through social media / traditional media. In this role we are supposed to magically leverage our connections with the media. PR is a way of engaging our stakeholders like customers, distributors, government authorities, board members, etc.

In the digital era, PR is evolving manifold in terms of scope as well as challenges. Firstly, the unlimited/ continuous flow of information at times may affect the absorption of the message by the stakeholders. Secondly, with the variety of platforms we have today like FB, TikTok, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc., it becomes quite important to understand that each has its own nuances. We really need professionals who can package the content and information as per the niche of these platforms.

Dr. Navneet Anand: PR is like becoming the eyes and ears of the organization you would work for. Times are changing from walk-ins to phone-ins to now zooming-ins. Technology is going to impact PR practices, making it more dynamic, fast and efficient as well.

Event management has emerged as an industry today. For product launches, political rallies, weddings, etc., there is a huge demand for event management professionals. How do you look at the opportunities in this sector?

Ms Mitu Samar: Indeed, the sector has emerged a big way, though right now this industry is highly impacted due to COVID-19 and the social distancing factor. But times are changing. The shift to digital events like webinars holds a lot of opportunities and to make big in this field you must look for ways to make your event stand out and make it compelling and sought after. Secondly, you must give variety to your stakeholders in terms of content, presentation and engagement activities. Lastly, you must know how to handle the pressure of expectation on social media platforms.

What essentials skills and trainings does it take to become a successful PR professional?

Ms Mitu Samar: Only the ability to write press releases does not make you a PR professional. You must have the knack of relating to current happenings and packaging your stories around them. Real-life application is different from theory, but if a candidate is nurtured well in terms of concepts, hands-on training, and practical exposure, then the prospects are definitely bright.

Dr. Navneet Anand:-A PR professional must have empathy, should be able to step into the shoes of others. The ability to write succinctly and accurately is a must as is general awareness of the world around us. What is needed is a healthy mix of functional skills and the right attitude, understanding of content and finesse in expression. Being able to connect to various digital platforms and mastery in visual storytelling are a few of the desirable traits in PR professionals.

What is the role of Reputation Management in today’s business world?

Ms Mitu Samar:-  Brands are spending huge amounts in high-decibel campaigns. All campaigns tom-tom the virtues of the brand. Reputation is when people talk about you, be it on social media, news or feedback by customers/ employees in open forums. Reputation management is managing that word-of-mouth publicity, the journey of making people say good things about your brand. Influencers and bloggers are example of that. This domain has lot of scope for trained PR professionals.

To view the complete discussion, click here:

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