March 2010
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PR & Corp Communication industry demonstrated its versatility in 2020

Crisis brings out the true character. Intent, Integrity, Confidence, Empathy, Determination, Patience, Sturdiness, Curiosity, Loyalty, and many such blocks that constitute the word character get tested to the core during the crisis. COVID was an ugly disruption and has brought damage to many spheres. However, the silver lining in this story is that our very own Indian PR & Corporate Communications army showed an amazingly powerful & versatile character. Pretty much on every check box, individual members across PR Firms & Corp Comm desks as a whole deserve tick marks.

Contributions of PR & Corp Comm industry to India Inc. during the past decades have not been chronicled well. However, if one were to start exploring, countless anecdotes and case studies will emerge that so beautifully and scientifically establish what PR & Corporate Communications industry has done for Indian economy, industry verticals, and individual organizations – from start-ups to large multinational organizations.

However, 2020 presented proof of its worthiness, sturdiness & determination of a different level. One key difference this time was that COVID disruption was also challenging & threatening the personal lives of the PR & Corporate Communications members. I am aware of individuals who have gone through sleepless nights through the last 10 months just to ensure that Client or Employer’s Brand Reputation and Business Demand remain untarnished.

Multi-stakeholder management is not a joke! PR & Corp Comm industry has orchestrated that beautifully despite job cuts, pay cuts, fee cuts, downsizing of the media industry, personal life challenges of the industry warriors, and many more grim ground realities. PR & Corporate Communications industry's conduct and performance were extremely balanced and effective.

To justify my point, below is a quick list of ten key milestones that PR & Corp Comm scored in 2020. They not only show achievements but more importantly demonstrate the wonderful character of the PR & Corp Comm industry:

  1. Provided buoyancy for India Inc.: First & foremost, PR & Corp Comm function stood tall, confident, and committed. Together, between the CorpComm and PR Firm desks, they ensured that the buoyancy of India Inc. remains unaffected as much as possible. Covid disruption brought turmoil for India Inc. from all angles and stakeholders. PR & Corp Comm not just offered very adept Media Relations & News Management services but fortified it with an excellent demonstration of holistic brand demand management. For brand owners, this was a tall task to achieve given that major pipelines of communications including advertising were nipped.
  2. Reputation pillars were put to use: Typically, public relations initiatives across earned, owned and shared platforms circle around product launches, sporadic spokesperson profiling, financial results and some sprinkle across technology & innovation, CSR & substantiality and human resource activities. However, this time, the industry demonstrated a holistic approach and strengthened pretty much all reputation pillars uniformly. 
  1. Announcements & Launches Vs Sustenance: A true test of a communications tool is its ability to sustain a brand and not just manage launches or new announcements. COVID saw a drastic cut down in talk points across launches and announcements. Despite that, PR & Corp Comm scored well to sustain the interest of the brand amongst stakeholders. 
  1. Increased dependency and time spent by CXO: CXO’s dependency on PR & Corp Comm machinery has probably been the highest of all times. No wonder, time spent between CXOs and Corp Comm desks was also one of the highest. 
  1. Very advanced & sturdy: COVID adversity tested our sturdiness and how adept & knowledgeable we are to manage the situation. The kind of knowledge, skillset, advancement, use of research, analytics and technology the industry used was truly amazing and established our superiority over our global counterparts. 
  1. Power to women: For many years now, the rise in women aspirants within PR & Corp Comm industry has been a prominent feature. Over the years, many of these women professionals, across PR Firms and Corporates, have created & demonstrated amazing knowledge for not only us but for CXOs. They have demonstrated aspiration, determination, and leadership qualities. Also, great to learn about the launch of GWPR in India. GWPR India’s goal is to encourage women and support them in taking leadership in communication roles. 
  1. Heightened role of data & numbers: Research, Monitoring, Measurement & Analytics, each of the four played a very important role during the interaction between PR & Corp Comm & client CXO desks. Each of the four blocks played an individual and collective role in listening, planning, execution, and evaluation. For PR & Corp Comm industry, which has largely been stuck with archaic analysis like the volume of news garnered, equivalent advertising value and negative news nipped, etc., the year 2020 saw a new level of intelligent use across the four blocks. 
  1. Internal communications wise: The year 2020 should also be acknowledged as the year of Internal Communication specialists. Very few realize that Internal Communications machinery has worked wonders and been a lifeline for India Inc. during the Covid pandemic. PR & Corp Comm's knowledge and services towards internal or employee communications ensured that the workforce stayed assured & committed so that organizational objectives are met. Employment management and motivation have been two key very important contributions from PR & Corp Comm. 
  1. Righteous expert of Social & Digital: Covid disruption created turmoil and immediately impacted the consumption of traditional media. Digital & Social media consumption shot up. PR & Corp Comm was extremely nimble footed, creative, and effective to accrue the desired communication objectives for the client organization through social & digital media. I think the argument on whether Digital & Social Media is a domain of the Advertising or PR industry should be put to rest. 
  1. Academia adapted extremely well: Last but not the least, on the talent supply side, educational institutes and academia warmed up and adjusted to the challenge beautifully. Online classes, guest lectures, industry webinars, learning sessions, panel discussions, all well-conducted seamlessly. They were ready to supply talent to the industry clients – Firms and Corporates. Both faculty and students worked superbly as a team. Relevant and customized courses and topics were introduced by the faculty for students.







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