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Date(s) - 20/10/2009
4:00 pm - 6:00 pm

Knowledge Series on Public Relations: The road ahead

Paul Holmes, Editor and Publisher of Holmes Group and publishes the famous annual Holmes Report on PR Industry

Date: Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Time: 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm
Venue: DLF Conference Room, ASSOCHAM hall, 47 Prithviraj Road, New Delhi

It is no longer about just speaking, Brands rise to the art of listening!!

By Mansi Pal

A man once walked into a McDonald’s store with the brightest smile ever in quest of the good old burger and fries. He got what he wanted, but his smile did not quite evict the same response from the McDonald staff on the other end. This when the fast food joint was running a marketing campaign that personified happiness.
It was Paul Holmes who walked into Mc Donalds that day to just not satiate his hunger but also to assess how much are Brand Promises kept. Do they cease to exist after they hit the TV screens, the outdoor hoarding or the press note issued announcing the new campaign? What does the consumer do when he feels a disconnect between what he is being promised and what he gets at the shop floor.
This 2 hour workshop by the leading US PR analyst emphasized again on the most important, but often ignored “P” of the 5 Ps of the Marketing Mix, which is its people. People drive change has never been more apt as it is in today’s time and age when all geographical and physical divides are fading and this “virtual” bridge called Web 2.0 is enabling people from diverse backgrounds to interact. This digital revolution marks the transition from one way communication to two way communication between Brands and its consumers. Paul Holmes could not stress enough on how brands, more than speaking need to excel the art of listening. He says, “Companies to a lot of extent have lost control over their reputation. It is not what you say about yourself but what other people say about you.”
True to this belief, Paul even kept the session interactive by encouraging the participants to ponder and question the evolution of Public Relations. Paul addressed the concerns of many present there about integrating digital into campaigns by asking them to halt and first assesses the brands preparedness for Conversational Marketing. Coming back to the power of the “P”, Paul said that, “The employees are the biggest advocates of a company or brand. It is they who should be first prepared to participate effectively in conversations brimming about its brands on blogs, videos and social networking sites. By asking three simple questions to the employees Paul says that a company can decide whether they are “ready” yet:
• Do you understand your company values?
• Do you believe the management lives by the values?
• Do you think you can take decisions based on these values?
With these practical tips and anecdotes assimilated over 20 years of experience in the Public Relations domain Paul drove the point home that in time to come transparency credibility and authenticity will become the most valuable currency. Hence the need to attract talent that is intelligent, knowledgeable and believes in dialogue rather than monologue becomes even more potent. It is this new breed of PR professionals hailing from diverse fields that will drive this change in the Marketing landscape.

And if and only if a smile is returned next time Paul Holmes walks to his “friendly” neighborhood fast food joint, will we say that all these activities have delivered on the brand promise?