For example, a press event is not restricted to just calling reporters on the ground. It also means creating content for a tweet stream per the flow of the event, and continuously engaging with the reporters online and offline.
Just this past month, #GoogleHouse was a fascinating press event where updates about Google’s new product/features were unveiled. Not only did Google India have a house full of reporters, the hash tag also trended in Mumbai (where the event was held) at #1, and which also saw engagement by the reporters.
It is equally fascinating that while clients are jumping on board, Indian PR and communications professionals still remain reticent.
According to this IAMAI-KPMG report, India has over 350 million Internet users as of June 2015; this number is expected to increase over 500 million by 2017. With such a huge chunk of the audience online, it becomes increasingly important to reach them outside of the traditional ways of communicating (newspapers/magazines/TV/radio).
Though the “what” to communicate remains constant, the “how” to communicate is constantly changing.
Here are some compelling PR trends executives need to adapt to if they want to stay relevant in the industry in the long run:
1. Building the social profiles of C-suite executives.
C-suite executives have started understanding that their social presence matters. Their customers are online and, in order to connect with them, it is essential that they have a social presence to connect and engage with their target community.
PR executives can play a vital role in positioning and building such social profiles, keeping in mind the customer and media perspective.
2. Multimedia & crisp communication.
A quick crisp e-mail with images or infographic has a better chance of catching the media’s fancy than long pitch notes or press releases. An innovative way of sharing information is what the media looks for.
If you can communicate the message in 140 characters, you’ve nailed it!
3. Online & blogger engagement.
Given the increasing Internet connectivity in India, PR executives need to start interacting with the online and blogger community from various industries to keep themselves and their clients relevant and up-to-date.
While print media still has a wide reach in India, the audience is glued online, and frequently seek feedback about product and services from the online/blogger community.
4. Twitter chats.
The trend of Twitter chats is catching on in India. While these digital events are still primarily held on a one-off basis (unlike Shonali’s #measurePR chat, which has been going strong for 5 years!), many brands have started interacting with their audience through such chats, helping them form a community of evangelists over time.
An interesting example: a Google Twitter chat that invited entries to share an app idea for the Prime Minister’s office. This initiative was undertaken by Google India in collaboration with MyGov.in (compare this to the White House’s We the People effort).
Influencers in the tech blogger space were roped in, along with spokespeople from Google and MyGov.in. The 30 minute tweet chat reached 2.7 million unique users and garnered over 6.3 million impressions on Twitter. Needless to say, #PMOIndiaApp trended in India.
Similar Twitter chat models are being adapted by various companies in India to discuss topical trends in the industry. Usually, they rope in company’s spokesperson and an influencer/celebrity to maximize reach.
To understand their clients’ industries better, PR executives should start listening to the brands’ communications online. This understanding will go a long way in developing a more effective strategy.
Have you observed any more interesting trends in the communications Industry in India? I would love to know your thoughts!