Question: In your own words what is the biggest challenge of public relations professionals across the country in the contemporary world?
Ans: If I have to summarise the complexities of the communication arena in one sentence then I would say “ The majority of Communication professionals are struggling to get extraordinary results out of their content”. Communication professionals are not able to reach out to a larger audience through their content because of the complex language they produce quite often. In my view ideal communication should be direct and easy to understand, unfortunately, many communication professionals are unknowingly producing complex content by putting more creative thoughts or unusual vocabulary instead of a direct and simple message. The language of communication must be simple so that it should be easy to understand and grasped by a large number of people instead of a selected few. Communicating in simple language is a simple solution to the complex world of communication.
Question: You have spent around 16 years in journalism and now you are handling media relations and external communication at a steel giant. Share your thoughts: what are the key elements of effective communication?
Ans: An effective communication must be concise, to the point, should be easy to understand, and have a direct message to the audience. The moment you lose the grip over the content you lose the momentum and the key message too. These elements are applicable to all forms of communication written, visual, verbal everywhere. If the content has weightage then there is no need to give more weightage to content through heavy words or other effects.
Question: How has digital media changed the strategy of communication in the corporate world?
Ans: Digital Media is leading the communication space. Undoubtedly people are spending more time over social media platforms other than the traditional mediums like newspapers and television. Twitter has become the primary source of News in India, similarly Facebook and Instagram are leading the video content and reaching a bigger audience. The revolution came over the past decade. The 2014 General elections have revealed that campaigns through social media can do wonders. The corporate world is also focusing and spending more on digital platforms. The reach of social media is phenomenal and response time is also less. Mapping the diversified audience is also much easier than the traditional mediums, you have dashboards available to listen to who is talking about you and your brand, and based on this social media listening corporates are reading the minds of investors, employees, customers, and other stakeholders. Corporations are getting leverage of this and becoming more relevant to the audience.
Question: A trend of decline in Newspapers readership has been seen after the introduction of TV & Social Media. How relevant do you think newspapers will be in the next decade?
Ans: In my opinion, newspapers are still relevant and will remain relevant in the next decade also. Yes, they took a hit in recent years due to the emergence of social media platforms and relatively cheaper internet space and more specifically during the pandemic but their importance is still there because of the detailed content they publish. In India, if you want to understand some issue or news, you still trust newspapers because they publish detailed information and attractive infographics. Reading newspapers is still a primary source of news in remote areas of India because digital media and television are still struggling to make an imprint over the newspapers. The evolution of broadband in rural areas may become a problem for newspapers especially for native language readers and regional readers but I don’t see any tectonic impact on newspapers as these organizations are also changing strategy to become more relevant, you have epapers and whats app-friendly version of Printed news which is making a difference.
Question: Do you consider Public relations to be an alternate career for journalists? How do you feel about them competing with the core communication professionals?
Answer: I am enjoying working with a corporate house, I am learning a lot of every day as one has to always be ready to learn. The communication space is rapidly changing, every year new technology and updates are coming in and this is evolving a sense of learning in me. I personally believe that a true journalist will always remain a journalist even if he is not working for a publishing house or a broadcasting company. As the name suggests Public relations is a wider phenomenon and it has a lot to explore if you are ready to learn and implement the effective communication strategies learned over the years.