Paresh Chaudhry- Group President, Corporate Brand Custodian, Adani Group speaks to IMPACT about the role of PR partnerships, which have proved critical in ensuring communication reach and shaping of new conversations
Q] Has the brand dependence on PR agencies become more pronounced in these pandemic times?
I have always been an advocate of building strong in-house communication teams who lay the foundation of any brand’s reputation agenda. Therefore diversity and exposure for in-house teams, defined goals and SOPs are key.
One must expect in-house teams to be on top of every business insight, map potential issues and deal with any crisis in a real-time manner. One can never expect an agency partner to do that for you since they are always outside-in.
This philosophy will hold true even post COVID-19 and will stay that way if we have the vision to build cutting-edge competencies. PR partners will be critical largely in terms of ensuring your communication reaches out to the right target groups and shapes new conversations. The strategic value is quite minimal.
Q] In your view, what are some key shifts that have taken place in the past few months as far as the brand-PR axis is concerned?
The COVID-19 crisis has sent brand communicators across organisations back to the drawing board because consumer behaviour, expectations and aspirations have changed dramatically. Given the scenarios of volatility and uncertainty, agency partners have to redefine themselves.
They need to be more intuitive, more creative and most importantly adaptive to the use of new tools and technology. This kind of disruptive approach will reverse the workflow whereby instead of brands briefing agencies, they should get proactive clutter-breaking Ideas.
Q] A lot of brands are increasingly repositioning themselves to suit the market sentiment. Do you think now PR agencies will have a more active role to play in the coming time?
Absolutely. As mentioned earlier, we are amidst unprecedented times. That being said, history tells us that the most defining innovations by the human race came during crisis situations. Every now and then, we come across innovations by citizens who are striving to improve their lives. These are signs which we need to see closely and augment our skills to stay relevant.
Q] Do you think brands will spend more on PR agencies now?
There would be increasing spends on stakeholder insights, relationship management, digital and social media outreach. Another big spending area would be in aligning the Group’s sustainability strategy and firming up the ESG agenda.
This will require only an in-house cross functional team to take it forward. There would be specialized agencies in developed markets like the US, certain markets in Europe, Singapore and South-East Asia and you might need to partner with them for a focused outreach program.