Author: Neha Bajaj, Managing Director, Scroll Mantra
With the dawn of greater internet accessibility and heightened dependency on technological equipment, there has been a conscious shift in the consumption pattern of information. From defined traditional modes of mass communication namely newspapers, television, and radio, we now have a wide array of choices at our disposal. The current scenario gives every individual a platform to voice their opinion and share knowledge. Digitization has truly transformed the media landscape, offering a better quality of news, accelerated dissemination of data, the superiority of news sources, and faster feedback.
With the ascent of new- age media, the brand needs to make a substantial change in the way information is presented and distributed. This means that there is an elemental need for a top-down evolution of PR and media professionals to sustain the ever-changing demands. Further, this transformation has also opened newer avenues in the field of mass communication, allowing aspirants to challenge their creativity and create a global impact through the use of powerful mediums like social and digital media. The birth of new age media has also undoubtedly, given public relations professionals, unrivalled advantages when it comes to monitoring the industry scenario, collecting information, and keeping up with the dynamic public opinion. The public relations industry has witnessed a major paradigm shift from just press releases for major announcements to an ongoing process of reputation building and credibility management, along with constantly seeding the audience with relevant information and creating a top-of-the-mind recall for clients in the minds of their prospective target group.
As per statistics, in the first week of lockdown, there was an 87% increase in social media usage. Besides this internet surfing also witnessed a 72% spike during the same time – Making a strong social media presence even more crucial during these times. In an attempt to avail maximum benefit from this new playground of communication, brands today focus on maintaining a holistic online presence along with traditional routes.
The major changes that the industry has undergone, thanks to the widespread usage of new-age mediums, are:
- Creating and maintaining a social image
Public Relations programme has now become a crucial part of the overall branding and marketing strategy for any firm as it promotes building credibility and social image for the brand. Along with just creating ‘newsworthy’ pegs, PR now also contribute to elevating the brand’s reputation beyond traditional means, through participation in awards, industry discussions, speakerships, soft profiling of spokespersons, collaborations with relevant brands and more. The focus is also on establishing the brand’s representative as a thought leader in the industry, influencing major decisions, and making a difference in interest areas. These activities have now become a part of a company’s DNA since digital penetration has made communication between companies and the target audience as easy as clicking a button. This change requires a regular and consistent flow of communication with the TG through all possible channels using a well-defined communication approach.
- 360-degree communication management
With the growing popularity of integrated marketing services, clients now demand a 360 degrees comprehensive communications approach that ensures a wide spectrum of visibility for their products and services. Having expertise in skills such as social media, digital media marketing, and graphic designing along with a PR proficiency, can significantly add value to a program and can ensure that the brands serviced are strategically represented across all platforms relevant to their TG. It is also interesting to note, that there has been a gradual shift in client demand concerning media coverage. Earlier, that was the pressure of being present across print mediums. However, slowly the trend is shifting to them seeking more online visibility than print. A major factor driving this change is the shelf life of the story. When compared, print media’s impact is limited to a few days, but for new-age digital mediums, it is significantly longer. Also, with the new normal influencing multiple businesses and changing media scenario, digital presence has become all the more important to reach the right target group.
- More creative story pegs
The PR landscape has progressed phenomenally from focusing on the traditional press to effective community building and tactical representation of the brand across relevant platforms. This has opened new doors for PR professionals to plan and implement strategies that require one to innovate and think out of the box – when it comes to ideating stories that can resonate with a wider audience by tapping a single issue through multiple routes. For example, every brand’s story would have multiple facets – we could highlight the pedigree through a feature, business growth through financial stories, and education-related aspects, event entrepreneurship, and HR could find a place. The idea is to keep it fresh and ensure that there is always something for the media to talk about.
About the Author
Neha Bajaj is the Managaing Director of Scroll Mantra, an organization that works closely with the brands, helping them build their own identity through numerous communication channels. She started her journey 15 years ago with Avian Media, followed by heading the Northern region of a Bangalore based PR agency Media Moments Insight pvt. ltd. As a PR professional, Neha has worked with global brands like Airbus, Lamborghini, Ducati, Huawei and Indian giants like PVR Cinemas, DLF Promenade and more.