Friday, October 29, 2004

New International PR management firm

Just came to know about Tradewind Strategies, an international PR management firm. Their launch was publicised in Indian newspapers too. The founder is Josef Blumenfeld.

This is what they do:

As international markets continue to grow in importance, Joe realized that there is a need for experienced, hands-on global communications managers. The result was Tradewind Strategies, a consultancy that allows companies to identify international marketing resources and to expand their public relations and communications programs into new and growing international markets, without needing to add expensive internal headcount.

That last word makes me wonder... The company claims to do agency search, product launches, executive media tours. Does public relations in another country add to headcount? Yes, if we are talking about the internal PR department having to hire new employees based in that country.

But if you are newly expanding into a foreign market - say, India - you would be hiring a bunch of new employees there anyway. Then having to hire new personnel for the internal PR department in India is no big deal.

On the other hand, if you are not hiring anyone there, I suppose it is rather dangerous to expand that way.

Or he is just talking expanding PR into another country. Then you would just hire a PR agency there, right? But that would not add to your headcount; you would just be hiring an agency. The word headcount, nowadays, automatically bring outsourcing to mind :)

I am indeed confused. Maybe because its late night here, and I'm hungry.

Anyway, I checked out the Tradewind website and in the international PR markets section, there is a large red dot smack in the middle of India. I moused over it. Recent successes mentioned are - UNI wire, Business Standard, and Hindu Times of India (!!) - that last one should have been Hindu and Times of India.

For those not too clued in on the Indian news and business scene, here are a few links. Please be prepared for the occasional Hindi word that spices up the text!

Rediff - portal
Indiatimes - portal
Times of India - newspaper website
Economic Times - business news website
The Hindu - newspaper website
Business Standard - business news website
Financial Express - business news website
Indian Express - newspaper website
NDTV - television channel's website

Thursday, October 28, 2004 launches Connexions - a social networking tool

If you don't count Ryze, this could be the first one for Indians. Ryze, of course, is overpopulated by Indians.

Rediff Connexions does seem to have a simple and easy to understand interface. At least, I liked it much better than Ryze. I have never checked out LinkedIn or any other such social networking tools. Rediff has generally been quick to adapt to Internet communication trends.

I remember how quickly they changed Rediff from a news website to include chat, then ecommerce, blogs almost a year back.. and now this. If you don't know, Rediff is probably India's most popular portal and most-established internet brand, though the Times of India group's Indiatimes is trying very hard indeed.

Before I can rate Connexions, I will have to check out LinkedIn and its sisters, I guess. Stay tuned. down on Wednesday

This blog uses Blogger. All through Wednesday, Blogger seems to have been down. A full 24 hours. None of the other Blogspot-hosted sites, such as PRMachine were available.

I checked and for any information. Nothing. In Syndic8 or Feedster or anywhere else, I could not find any blog that mentioned about the Blogger Outage either.

That leaves me confused. Did it happen only in India? Were they working from everywhere else? I can find no mention of the outage on PRMmachine or any of the other sites either.

And I thought bloggers were very quick with updating us on such stuff.

Or maybe I didn't check the right places for such information?

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Blogger down. Again. Is this a reliable tool?

That was bad. 24 hours of not reading any blogspot-hosted blog, 24 hours of not being able to update my blog.

I have seriously considered Movable Type or Typepad before. However, Movable Type charges you, and unless my efforts in the direction of convincing corporates and employees to blog, there is no point in spending money first and regretting later.

On the other hand, these Blogger outages seem to be getting more frequent. Usually, its a minor thing - The files are not published immediately after clicking the Publish button.. But 24 hours of ability to blog is bad.

Whats worse is - the news doe snot seem to spread. As the masses' tool for blogging, I would expect the news of the outage to be everywhere. But nothing! That brings us to another question - we suume that such news spreads very fast in the blogosphere, but the news of a huge blogger outage did not?

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

My first convert?

Yesterday, I met the Managing Director of a company whose website I manage. He could turn out to be a convert to blogging - and become one of the first corporte bloggers in India.

A few minutes into the conversation, I suggested blogging to him. Now, this man loves to write - a rare thing for the top management. He occasionally writes about his industry segment and government policies in one of India's top business newspapers and is generally obvsessive abut every line of text on his company website. I told him that after observing him for mroe than a year, I am sure that blogging is right up his alley.

In minutes, I mentioned what blogging essentially is, its capability to position someone as an industry expert, how it can create a dialogue with the customers - and he got it! Yeah! Woohoo!

In a little while, he was thinking up all the potential benefits, how he could keep in touch with the shareholders, the comments / observations he can make about his industry in his blog - he was thinking up most of the stuff I had already read on the websites in blogroll, and was clearly getting excited.

This time I had already taken into account the potential hassles such as spare time, unfamiliarity with the Web.. and offered to run his blog for him till he has gained sufficient confidence. Our understanding is that he would email me his blog post text everyday, and I would post it, link appropriately and suggest similar industry blogs to him using Steve Rubel's (patented?) methodology! Once he becomes confortable with the medium, he will handle it himself.

We are supposed to start in two days, and only time will tell if this project will take off or not. This may sound like nothing to most of you - but then remember that I am in India, I am working in a country whose internet penetration is very low even considering the software development and outsourcing scenario here, and the idea is extremely radical for an Indian corporate audience. Will keep you posted - if anyone has the spare time, I beseech you to welcome him into the blogosphere. I am sure that would provided a great boost to his morale.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Getting there, getting there...

Finally my blog gets some essential tools.

My Feedreader OPML is now my blogroll, I have got into Technorati, just been chosen as Sunday's Blog of the Day in Blogstreet India, added a Sitemeter... Subscribed to Blogsnob, added myself to Technorati (though I am still a little confused about the process there). Right now crawling the NewPR Wiki.


Saturday, October 23, 2004

Slaying the PR dragon

Hello all.

As I mentioned a few days back, I am looking for weaponry to slay the Anal Retentive PR dragon in India. Here is the essence of what I have collected on blogs, blogs are PR tools and as the new media. From what I have seen, blogging as the new media looks too premature for India in the absence of a mainstream blogging culture and familiarity. However, do go through my list and short notes below.

This is a country where Anal retentive PR is not dead yet, and any help to kill it would be appreciated. Thanks, Constantin Basturea, for pointing me towards the New PR Wiki.

Types of blogs

1. Personal blogs

a. Infinite varieties… tech, political… but not really my focus

2. Corporate / company blogs
a. Ceo blogs
b. Employee blogs
c. Crisis management blogs
d. Product blogs
e. B2B blogs
f. Investor relations blogs
g. Marketing / PR agency blogs

Blogging as journalism and blogs as media vis a vis India

1. Indian bloggers are not serious bloggers
2. Indian bloggers do not specialize in issues/ topics
3. Indian corporates do not blog
4. A few top marketers / CEOs in India blog
5. Indian bloggers have not acquired the kind of credibility / controversy that the US and some European bloggers have achieved. They are currently not worth a journalist’s notice.
6. RSS, Feed Readers are not part of the Indian CEO / PR agency / Journalist’s lexicon.
7. Pitching to a blogger does not make sense in India are Indian bloggers are not acknowledged / known to the media; as well as not specialized or popular enough.

Blogging and its possibilities in India

1. International networking
observations: By identifying influential blogs in your own industry or other relevant industries, a company can easily build a network of people across the world. The capability to stay in touch with the latest trends, opportunities and threats are some of the benefits

2. Internal company blogs
observations: For pure internal employee communications purposes and feedback. This is of any use in India’s corporate scenario only if the management is willing to collect strong, and occasionally dissenting feedback and thus engage in a conversation with its employees.

Also, Corporate fear should end.

3. Internal Project blogs

4. Product launch blogs
observations: They stay alive for a specific period and publicized through the media; target audience - consumers.

5. CEO blogs
For the CEO to communicate with stakeholders, vendors, employees

a. Some of India’s top CEOs, if they start blogs, will have wider audiences than some websites.
b. Somewhere during my trawls of PR blogs, I came across this nugget that the CEO is one of the most trusted management faces in a company; and people are often willing to take a word from the CEO at face value – provided it is routed through the normal marketing channels. If this is right, I can imagine the potential in India as we have some real high-profile CEOs who may easily kill of some business websites.

That, I guess, is my starting point. Any help on how to move forward, is welcome.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Edelman enters India through JV

Recently we all had a good look at Edelman's blog after Media Guerilla's comments on his new blog did not show up, apparently censored. Well Edelman is in India, through a local partner R&P Management Communications Pvt. Ltd. (R&PMC) of Mumbai (Bombay).

Press release: R&PMC founder and CEO Roger C.B. Pereira will lead the joint venture, "which over time will take on the name R&PMC:Edelman".

"With Indian foreign direct investments at an all-time high and Indian companies expanding overseas at record pace, India is a key growth market for Edelman," said Richard Edelman, president and CEO of Edelman. More news here

Mr Edelman has not mentioned this news item in his blog, though he has said that he is on a flight to India. Well, now now we know why he was coming here.

Meanwhile CorporatePR recently wondered about whether PR would face a threat of being outsourced to countries like India.

Well. Edelman is here, but right now it looks like they are focusing on clients in India, with not a word about outsourcing. Seems like Edelman's partnership in India has been going on for a while - here is a study conducted by them together worldwide on India's reputation.

Trawling PR blogs for weaponry

My lone battle to convince my colleagues and clients to blog proceeds apace. The Web is my guide, and other PR blogs are my weapons and armour!

I haven't been posting for a few days. Mostly, because I was reading up. Stacking up my ammunition, if you will.

Well, I still haven't managed to create a convincing presentation on why my clients in India should blog. Not very surprising, as as far as I can see, the debate is still raging among all the other PR bloggers. So today, I just present my collection of material, all bookmarked, for the oncoming battle. I think that if I were abroad, all this material would have been sufficient. But then, India is a different case altogether. Even the companies that profess greater benefits from technology are closet-technophobes. Convincing this lot is going to be one very tough battle.
Anyway here goes:Shel Holtz points to a new study by WordBiz.

Seventy-one percent of those responding to the survey said they aren't producing a business blog because they don't have the time. Another 45% didn't know what they would write about. But a full 80% said they had considered starting a business blog. Read more on Holtz's blog

CorporatePR talks about the Devil's advocate at CBS Marketwatch. According to Frank Barneko, blogs are not all that they are made out to be. He has used hits and visitors, a metric more applicable to websites than to blogs, says Elizabeth Albrycht.

Meanwhile, Steve Rubel has pointed me to some blogs I would be watching closely - especially the one of Charlene Li, an analyst with Forrester. "One of the goals of this blog is also to figure out what role blogs will have within Forrester," she says. I shall watch what she figures out, and try to pick up some nuggets on the way!

And Micropresuasion has this very useful list of things to do for figuring out how to find infuential blogs that reach your key audiences Simple and easy. I will be following his advice, newbie that I am :)

Blackberry comes to India

AirTel launches Blackberry handsets

NEW DELHI: Bharti Televentures , India’s largest GSM mobile operator in India, today launched Blackberry handheld devices offering “always on” high speed internet connectivity. The service would be priced at between Rs 1,799 ($ 39) and Rs 2,799 ($ 60).

The company has launched three Blackberry models, 7730, 7230 and 6230, the prices of which range between Rs 18,990 ($412) and Rs 32,990 ($ 717).

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Airtel wins World Communications 'Best Brand Award'

Indian mobile brand Airtel wins the World Communications Best Brand Award.

Airtel, the mega brand of telecom major Bharti Enterprises, has been adjudged as the "World Communications Best Brand of the Year". Sunil Bharti Mittal, chairman and group managing director, Bharti Enterprises, received the award at a function in London on Monday. More than 50 of the world's top telecom companies submitted 123 entries for the awards. Airtel was nominated in two categories: Best Brand and Best Mobile Operator. It won the Best Brand award against stiff competition from leading international players like Orange, British Telecom, Starhub and M1.

More here

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

zzz... uh. Kerry won?

Its too early after the US presidential debates to get any news of who won. Bush or Kerry. Nothing on the news sites. Its early morning here in India, and while it was too early for me to watch the debates, CNN tells me that initial polls indicate that Kerry won, he was more presidential etc. Here's me heading off to talkingpointsmemo, and then go search for some Bush-Cheney blogs. If there's any good places for me to check on US election stuff, pls use the comments to post it. Thanks :)

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

El brillianto, Edelman!

So Edelman does not want unmoderated comments on his blog. Aha! Now why is that not a surprise to me?

For those of you who don't know about it, Edelman started a blog couple of weeks back, and its now 2 posts old. In the blogosphere, the news spread quickly, and people rushed to see it. Now it seems while Mr. Edelman wants 'feedback, blunt and quick', he is not that keen on allowing them to appear on his blog.

Early morning in India, and I can already see Media Guerilla, Technoflak and Holtz a little irritated. And Micropersuasion. Being a wimpy PR guy from India, I chose not to comment on Edelman's blog - hey the guy's a big shot, let other bigshots comment, would I have anything of value to add anyway - and seems it would not have made any difference.

I feel, despite whatever optimistic stuff we see from the PR bloggers about the industry adapting to participatory journalism and conversations, I feel sceptical. This Edelman saga just reinforces this feeling I have that PR industry is, by nature, technology-hating and fanatically for controlled messages. Nothing but the spin, dears. Okay, I am sure the PR industry types who have got blogs will definitely make sense of them and will use them effectively, just like they were probably the first ones to start using emails instead of faxes, just like they went around convincing their clients to have a website, pleeaaseeee... some eight years back. But the industry as a whole liking anything where they don't have a tight control over the message - I don't know, folks.

I am of course in India, and can speak comparatively knowledgeably only about the scene here. But Edelman just reinforces my doubts. Conversations are for wimps, we macho men know what messages the public should see!

Micro Persuasion: Anal Retentive PR (1904-2004)

In Micropersuasion I came across this link to an interesting essay on blogging and PR. Mr. Rubel says that the days of Anal Retentive PR is over :)

This essay definitely goes in to my must-steal-points-from list for the day when I present blogging as an idea whose time has come to my 70-year old management, and promptly get booted out. Not because of the essay, no, but because suggesting blogs to an Indian PR firm would imply that I have finally lost it.

*** You can't stand in the way of destiny (or her child).***

Anyway, the point of the whole thing is that Steve Rubel believes that with the coming of blogging, Anal retentive PR has finally gone back to the good father. I wish it were really true... As of now, even in the US, it seems that a large chunk of the PR bunch still are not clued in. This here is disturbing to Elizabeth Albrycht. I am disturbed that she is disturbed and had to reply to it. Which means the debate is still on. Which means much as we would liek it to be true, much as I wish Mr. Rubel is right, anal retentive PR is very much alive there in the US. And of course, then it follows that it runs the PR industry in India.

I need a drink.

Friday, October 08, 2004

Elizabeth Albrycht talks outsourcing and PR in India

Elizabeth Albrycht talks about public relations in India. She has mentioned this blog too, saying that I seem to think that the state of PR in India is pretty pathetic.

That's true, more or less. Mostly it can be blamed on the Indian communicators and industries - the communicators are comfortable with what they have been doing so far and do not see any reason to change. After all, their clients are not demanding more, are they?

The problem seems to be that PR seems to be looked at by companies as a way to get cheap ad space in newspapers and magazines. On TV too. As a result, PR often becomes just media relations and media management. The account manager is as good as the thickness of his folder of press clippings. Event management, seminars etc are definitely not ignored, but largely the focus is on column inches in the newspapers.

Elizabeth Albrycht writes that she has wondered about whether PR can be outsourced. In this post, Should You Be Worried about Outsourcing? she examines an e-newsletter which argues that it is not possible. Essentially, she argues that there is nothing in PR that cannot be grasped by someone abroad, especially with the help of 'floating' and 'pissed off' experts and senior people. She concludes by saying that if you are working in the communications field, you should be damn scared about outsourcing.

I believe that she is right. Nothing works like the scent of money, and if the Indian PR industry sees an opportunity, you can be damn well sure they will grab it, and transform themselves if necessary. In fact, there are a few US and UK-based PR agencies in India already. Their Indian operations currently only look after the communication needs of their Indian clients, but will not be too difficult to learn and expand into outsourcing. These companies already have Americans and Europeans working with them; that will make it easier. One is Good Relations India and another, Text 100 India has been recently awarded a CMS certification. Weber Shandwick is also present in India already. Same for Text 100 India (which I personally feel is one of the most professional here), which handles PR for Microsoft in India.

But if all of them are here, why haven't they tried outsourcing so far? Hmm.. more research is needed.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

PRSA ignores blogging, what chance do we have in India?

The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) is going to have its annual conference in New York end-October 2004. According to this blog, they do not have a single mention about blogging in their 56-page brochure! Businessblogconsulting too mentioned it here, and says that unless you have been under a rock, you should know that blogging is now a part of the marketing mix.

And now imagine me trying to impress upon the PR bigwigs in India that blogging is the way to go. I have been collecting information and data to present blogging as a viable tool in interacting with customers and clients for Indian companies and PR agencies for a while. And in the US, where we expect such stuff to take hold 10 times faster than in India, they ignore it!

There is a CEO Bloggers Club, there are numerous PR consultants and agencies who blog; heck, Edelman started blogging last week!

The reasons could be age, technophobia or the fact that PR industry prefers to follow established paths than tread a new one.

Blogging makes it personal; can I hear Indian corporates puke?

You have the large corporate houses - bureaucratic and monstrous.

You have the family-run businesses - nimble, uncouth and feudal.

You have the dotcom leftovers - dime-a-dozen speeches, jargon, obfuscation and pretend-techies

Are these guys ever going to adopt blogging as a respectable tool for communication to their audience? I doubt it.

In India, the first two are the ones who come across the most. They are the Tatas, HCLs... And they maintain or wish to maintain a tight control over what messages they get to their audience. Tight control is the key word here.

The family-run business are the second. These are quick to smell money; but when the pot of gold is not immediately invisible at the end of the rainbow, they lose interest. Their feudal nature - with bosses, uncles, family retainers and sycophants - make them suspicious of anything that may get out of hand. The first-person nature of blogging will be too much to handle for them.

Another important factor for both of these groups - their websites are copy-written by brand management consultants, advertising copywriter.. The free-flowing nature of a blog will be anathema for them. Precisely the reason why I may be one of the first in India to get a few readers with a PR industry blog. Read about corporate blogs start personal online communciations here.

The last group, of course, are the funny ones. One can be sure they have not even heard about blogging. The ones who have, wold probably know it as a great way for teens to communicate with each other, and extoll it as the next great paradigm... :) Of course, talk to them in detail about blogs, and they would jump up, wave their hands furiously, proclaim complete devotion to the cause, and forget all about it by evening.

Much as I like to rant, I have to admit that in the low-tech communication scenario in India, I am still trying to gather the threads of a coherent theory of how blogging will help Indian corporates (and PR agencies). The networking part is the one I have understood, and easiest to communicate to the feudal overlords :) Messages to the audience - now that's where they will shrink from me like I have a VD.

The battle rages on....

Why they toss your press release; and a view on outsourcing

Here's Greg Brooks, who has done it all. Been journalist, been in PR.. still in PR perhaps..

He's got a short, precise note here for all of you who have got your press releases tossed in the bin. Do not cry, listen to this guy.

And here's something for us here in India to ponder over. I mean, its funny, but is it funny only for Americans, or can we find it funny too? The topic is outsourcing. According to Gaping Void, the remarkable new fun business model which all companies are implementing are - there are two parts to a company, the creative, and the oursourced. Read it here

The psychology of PR

Have discovered another good PR blog today, this deals more with tech PR.

Who in India does real tech PR? Maybe 20:20 media, no one else does real Tech PR as far as I know. But then I define Tech PR more narrowly than most people - PR for a BPO is not tech PR; for some decent tech product/ software / idea is. Here is what I found in Active Voice

" I'm still working my way through Stuart Ewen's PR! A Social History of Spin and just finished an interesting section on the mechanisms behind public opinion. What is interesting to me is that many of the early PR professionals studied the principles of psychology and took the initiative to publish their own theories on public opinion and influence. One of our industry's early pioneers was a man named Walter Lippman. By his mid 20s, Lipmman had already earned the praise of Theodore Roosevelt and later became a senior member of President Wilson's Committee on Public Information (CPI).

In this section, we read about Lippman’s examination of psychology and PR:
"The would-be director of public opinion must also be conversant with customary patterns of influence, the psychodynamics of leadership within the population he wishes to influence, and the ways that leaders have historically been able to sow ideas in other people's minds...Public opinions must be organized for the press if they are to be sound, not by the press.""

That's some job description! Oh when I am 70, maybe, I will be able to see an ad like that for a PR post in India!!

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

PR machine in branding

I have seen the PR machine blog before, but haven't examined it closely before. I should have.

These guys have a brilliant collection of PR and blog related information and some great industry-related links.

Today, they have a post on branding the Branson way, extracted from FastCompany.

For the branding gurus in India, these blogs should be made a must-read.

Blogs as PR tools

Well, I knew that suggesting blogs as a potential PR tool would be like throwing myself in front of the wolves. Forget blogs, using websites - clients' corporate websites, the agency's own site etc to promote your message is still anathema to the management.

Its not like they do not know technology can be immensely useful in communciation. They know that all too well, but being from a generation where calculators where the height of technology, they just cannot believe it from their hearts. They know, they do not feel it. So essentially, nothing will move beyond vigorous nods, memos and postponements.

At least we are in India. Its some kind of satisfaction when you know that the argument still has not been sorted out, even in the US of A. Here is what I saw on this blog which I read occasionally.

Sunday, October 03, 2004

Ace Brandwidth gets Kuwait Airways PR

Read the full story here
The group has been given the mandate for executing nationwide PR activity for Kuwait Airways – the official Airlines of Kuwait that is currently working on business expansion and consolidation plans for India. Ace Brandwidth will look after the media relations and collaborations on brand promotional events and cross-channel brand promotional activities.

Saturday, October 02, 2004

Do PR executives read newspapers?

This was strange information for me, when a colleague from another PR agency said it casually. He said, "You can't suggest anything to these people, they don't know what's going on in the world, our country, politics or business." When I asked him to explain, he said, "You think these guys actually read the newspapers??!"

Then he explained it. The way it happens in India's public relations agencies, the executives do not read newspapers at all. Not even for reading about their clients.

How do they go about their jobs then? Won't it make it extremely difficult for them?

Obviously it does not.

They talk to their clients, get their briefs etc. The actual PR work is calling up or meeting friendly journalists then getting them to publish your news release or 'according to company sources' story. When it appears in the newspapers, the press clippings are presented to them in a file, which they happily sent over to the client. Everyone is happy.

Apparently, the executives never actualy see their material printed in a newspaper, they are happy to see the press clipping. So associated stories, related material, opportunities for better marketing the client's services or product - are never examined or attempted. It goes without saying that television barely enters the picture, and the Web, not at all. It is a genius, and ballsy PR executive who dares suggest an email newsletter, or a better website ot the client or even his own bosses. The jaded bosses are sure to shoot down his flights of fancy immediately.

I am sure there are PR executives and PR agencies in India which are better, and actually tech-savvy. But such horribly incompetent and outdated PR executievs and methodologies comprise the majority of them.

Friday, October 01, 2004

PR and telling the truth

PR people are paid to lie. Its their job.

Now for those of you who are reading this from anywhere else in the world, sorry. That statement applies only to India. Even there, that's not a generalisation - its just that many agencies in India expect their executives to lie if necessary to promote or save a client.

This is what happened to a young idealist friend of mine who went for an interview in Good relations. He is not sure if the Mr. Good was there in the interview board or not.

Anyway, the question from them to my pal was, "say you discover that your client has done something that is going to be a major problem, like an oil spill, or serious pollution, or environmental damage, or diseases... what would you do? Would you go to the police, or would you try to cover it up and save your client?

The answer was simple for my friend. He said, "Go to the police, of course!" Silence. The board and interviewee stared at each other incredulously, both wondering how the other's brain worked. Needless to say, after a few polite noises, the aspirant was ushered out.

So there.


This is so brilliant! See, I was a journalist before I got into the PR profession for its better moolah. And journalism and journalists were sick. But anyway - I always ha a good equation with the PR people. After all, without them, where would I be! Who would give me the data to fill the space? Well, I could always go out and collect it and write it myself, but then it was much better when the PR person would give you proof-checked copy, which then I only had to do some minor rewriting on. But sometimes, some of them were really pathetic. No clue about PR, no clue about their client, and no clue about journalism or newspapers. I think we journalists had some kind of a mental tip-sheet on what to do with those ones. Here, someone has written all of that down. For example....

1. Always wait until 5pm on Friday to call looking for a quote that "has to be in today". PR people like the adrenaline rush.

2. Always tell the PR person, "I'm sorry, I don't regard you as a good source for a quote. I need to speak to your boss." This is particularly effective with female PR people.

3. Always be rude. PR people misinterpret politeness as lack of urgency.

4. Always call to demand invitations to events for which you've been overlooked. Then don't show up. Remind them who's boss.

5. Accept all invitations to one-on-one interviews. Then, just before you hang up, make a comment that implies you've always wanted to have a real go at the interviewee and you're looking forward to it. PR people hate to feel secure.

For more, go here PR Anti-FAQ

The Seth Godin Interview - Global PR Blog Week 1.0

I came across this interview of Seth Godin in the Global PR Week 1.0, a virtual online conference of PR bloggers.

Here's an exerpt.


PR MACHINE: Does the Seth Godin brand have any particular advice to the PR industry in terms of effectively and ethically using the Internet medium via blogging?

SETH GODIN: Two moms are talking. One mom says, "Oy vey! My son is going to become a lawyer! He's so smart and so good and I don't know where we went wrong." The other mother consoles her... "at least he's not going into PR."
Read the enttire interview here.
The Seth Godin Interview - Global PR Blog Week 1.0

Indian Airlines retains Bates, Adfactors

Good for these two.

agencyfaqs!NEW DELHI, September 21
Indian Airlines (IA) has retained Bates India and Adfactors as its advertising agencies, while the two other incumbents, Grey Worldwide (India) and Akshara, have been replaced with RK Swamy/BBDO and Mode.
The pitch process began in December, 2003 when agencies were asked to submit strategy notes, along with the formal application. Some 70-odd agencies were vying for the Rs 25 crore IA account. Subsequently, 15 agencies were shortlisted. The selected agencies were asked to make thematic presentations, and that was to be the final and deciding round for the agencies.
The 15 agencies that had made it to the final round were Airads, Adfactors, Akshara, Bates India, Concept Communications, Crayons, Grey Worldwide, Headstart Advertising, Image Ads, Mode, O&M Advertising, RKSwamy/BBDO, Saatchi & Saatchi, TBWAIndia and Ushak Kaal.
A panel of experts – IA officials declined to reveal their names – evaluated the note and accordingly shortlisted these 15 agencies.
It was learnt that the four empanelled agencies have been signed on for a period of two years, starting October 1, 2004.

A few more words from non-media relations heaven

"The role of PR has gone beyond media relations in India, and while media will remain a critical tool here as it is everywhere in the world, more and more advisory and brand building work will be done by PR professionals."

This is what Mahnaz Curmally, President, South Asia, Ogilvy says.

Not the obvious question. If I believe most PR people believe that media relations is the be-all and the end-all, why do I keep quoting those who say the opposite?

Because they give me solace. Because they were published in agencyfaqs, which means they at least didn't run a mile with their tail between their legs the moment they heard the name of a dotcom.

Then Again, remember that she is in Ogilvy. They are not an Indian firm, and that helps. My complaint about the narrow-mindedness and obsoleteness of PR is only about Indian companies and Indian executives.

Here's a PR babe after my heart!

She is Director, Corporate Communications, Apeejay Surrendra Group. She is Deepa Dey.

This is what she has to say in AgencyFaqs.

"Communication by definition cannot be restricted to media relations; we’ll have to find a way to capture the mind space without taking the media route. Media today is cluttered, has advertising barters and is dictated by page three brigades. The challenge lies in being able to create a brand that media will die to write about."

Lets drink to that.

Media relations is crucial! Its not dead!

Just what did I tell you?

Here is someone who in this time and age, is saying that Media Relations is one of the most crucial aspects of PR in India.

Only last week, I was reading some article which was speaking on the topic - Is Media Relations dead?

The answer of course is, no, not if you are India. Here jaded CEOs and unimaginative executives try to get a rise out of the dead body. And for all we know, they will do it for another decade too.

PR professionals in India are nitwits

The first post!
PR industry, the world over, may be seriously debating the efficacy of using technology in their profession. Search the Net, and half the articles one can find about PR are about how the industry is changing, how it is embracing new media, and how best PR professional scan meld their traditional skills with the powers of new technologies.
But not so in India.
PR professionals in India, even in the largest public relations agencies in the country, are stuck on nothing but plain old media relations. In fact, for them, PR means 90 % media relations and 10 % event management. Even thinking outside the confines of media relations - on what other tools they have to promote their client - is a strange concept.
PR agencies in India have tried their hands at knowledge management - an attempt at harnessing the combined knowledge of the organisation, storing and mining it. All such efforts have failed (at least the ones that I know about).
Partly this can be blamed on their management, which is stuck on ancient principles of public relations. Starting at a time when the only way to get PR for their client was by buying off greedy journalists, they have become stunted, and stunted their companies in the process...