Volume 1 Issue 2 June 2011 THE NEW VALUE EQUATION New Age Views: Opportunities for the industry 8 9What’s your favourite Six Stages ofgame? Social Media MaturityA child today is growing up in a most exciting world The framework is rooted in one important insight:today and he knows it. Going out in the sun to play? when asked what their social media strategy is, lessWhat in heaven’s for sir and what really is the point mature marketers tend to talk about tools andof playing a serious sport if you don’t want to make tactics, whereas more mature marketers talk abouta career of it, or if you don’t happen to be very good integrating platforms, ograms and processes.at it?
FOREWORD Here’s to the second issue of Social Konnect. I hope many of you went through the earlier one to understand our objective for this initiative. We intend to become a sort of mouthpiece for the PR and Digital Industry. To bring to the fore best practices and catalyze knowledge of the industry. Speaking of which, at least here in India, PR and particularly Public Affairs has been under the regulatory lens and the law of the land, a direct consequence of which is, no one asks me what I do anymore. In fact, now people look at PR professionals with fascination, imagining that we too would be part of some multi- billion wheeling dealing. But jokes aside, I think the time has come to start defining this part of the practice for what it really is, and the value it adds to society. Lobbying is an acknowledged legal way, in most developed countries, to raise real issues with the elected representatives. The concern being how do the constituents further their issues in a democratic process? Establishing a defined path of course is what the Public Affairs practice helps catalyse. To create a constructive dialogue regarding key issues between people and the powers that be. And to arrive at a solution or a way to go about things. Actually, in the day and age of civil societies, this role has become even more important in the area of filtering out the real issues and creating a debate. The conclusion or consensus thus arrived at, also needs to be transmitted to a larger audience, and who can do that better than a PR agency? All this finally results in better governance and more accountability. In a very concise manner, this is what a Public Affairs practice is all about and this is precisely the pledge we put forward for a transparent Public Affairs network like it exists in most parts of the developed world. Food for thought, anyone? Best wishes Glenn Osaki President MSLGROUP Asia
TRENDS PR in the age of Continuous Partial Attention (CPA) Consumers # 1 Launch your campaign with a page comprising 500,000 consumers social object that people can attach discussing You “2” whacky twin themselves too stories. The community of 63 pair of twins met at a Nokia Twin Carnival #2 Use several mediums to create a where the dual sim was launched and conversation around the social object press got some #3 Having established your presence across adequate mediums move to be AMAZING Amrit #4 Launch your campaign using press We are living in an age of consumers and spread who suffer from what I call a the message ‘Continuous Partial Attention” – a term across that describes consumers who are communities surrounded by a world of screens of and various sizes. They watch television, conversations but are checking email or messages that AMAZE all on their phone, have a laptop switched on to chat with their The recent launch friends….the messenger is taking of the Nokia Dual time to upload the chat so quickly Sim campaign has check what are the latest tweets, been a great Facebook status. So, how do brands example of engage with consumers in a CPA state engaging with CPA all the time? How do they get their consumers. The message across in a world surrounded campaign kicked off by hash tags, 140 twitter characters over radio, inviting and gibberish Facebook messages? twins to be Nokia brand ambassadors As a PR professional there is no other for a day and further way but drive a campaign that is directed them to sign omnipresent across all mediums. The into a Facebook page. most successful companies, products, Conversations and and brands have figured out how to competition got kick become the most of something — started across twins of not just adequate, but downright several age groups as amazing. Brands become amazing they came together on when they catch the attention of CPA a FacebookSOCIAL KONNECT | 02 consumers across mediums. Some thumb rules
great photo opportunities and sound mensch," and that has to do with amount of experience can buy that.bytes. Radio and television what we call character. To be Those are things of the spirit." To beextensively covered the campaign successful means to have developed totally engaged with all clients,and captured soundbytes from the character. You should be looking for brands and consumers, first engagetwins. the joy, the struggle and the yourself and answer a simple challenge of work. What you bring question – Am I a mensch who canThe overwhelming response in Delhi forth from your own guts and heart. succeed in engaging with CPAis now getting Nokia to take this The happiness of hard work, no consumers?!campaign across other cities in India.What I learnt was how a simple ideacould result in downright amazingengagement with consumers. So PRprofessionals, do not think columncentimeters but step back and thinkhow do I engage with CPAconsumers? What do I do to bepresent across various mediums tocatch their eyeballs? The toughesttask is to get your clients to believeand buy in exploring diversemediums and move away from justcolumn centimeters.PR pundits are often struggling with,will this campaign get me enoughmileage and how will I measure if I amsuccessful? – well there is a differencebetween engaging brands and beingengaged yourself in your profession.First engage yourself in the professionand take pride in being a PRprofessional. Very early in my career Ihad a mentor who grew up aroundYiddish language and in Yiddish thereare about 1000 words that mean fool.Theres only one word that means anauthentic human being: mensch. Mymentor would say, "Youve got to be aAs a PR professional there is no other way butdrive a campaign that is omnipresent across allmediums. The most successful companies,products, and brands have figured out how tobecome the most of something - not justadequate, but downright amazing. SOCIAL KONNECT | 03Authored by Amrit. She is a PR consultant who loves the field of communication and story telling. Passionate about technology, its impact on society. VP at 20:20MSL. Also blogs on technology on Techconverse
TRENDS Social Awakening : C2C “We didn’t start the fire… It was always burning….Since the World’s been turning” - Billy Joel – Singer, Songwriter, Pianist At 8.27pm, on Saturday, April 23rd, 2005 something amazing happened. At the San Diego Zoo, a young guy called “Jawed” was watching some elephants go about their mundane cud chewing lives and commenting languidly about C R Vinay how long a trunk was. And the lives of millions changed. On Nov 4th 2008, the cradle of before. It can’t be faked”! democracy witnessed the most eventful There’s a spark at every corner of our A snapshot of you and your family political event in recent times and may world. People have wanted to break enjoying a summer holiday on the be of all times in American history. free since the dawn of civilization and banks of an idyllic river and the video of Barack Obama became the first black not because Freddy Mercury said so! your kids splashing on that river’s banks president of the United States. We’ve simply lit that spark and it’s a for the first time in their lives, caught on And the lives of millions raging fire today! The fire as I see it is your mobile phone. Threads of changed…..forever. simply the explosion of Human Beings expression and conversations that make ie. us, wanting to express, share, engage us smile, laugh, empathize and exclaim. And in January, a young woman from and sieze the day with one and other. Threads that weave the network called Egypt vented her frustration on the Carpe Diem. Indeed! Social Media have changed our lives…. Internet to her friends “I’m going to forever. Tahrir Square”, Today we have the medium and environment, sans geographical Let’s get some perspective now. The frustrated cry that resonated in boundaries to say what we want to say, Egypt was an update put up on to be heard and be what we want to be. Over 50% of the world’s population is Facebook! As is said in the famous Clue Train under 30 Yrs and 94% are on Facebook! Manifesto…People of Earth….. The average Facebook user has 130 And the lives of millions lives A powerful global conversation has friends. People spend over 500 billion changed……forever. begun. Through the Internet, people minutes per month on Facebook. are discovering and inventing new ways YouTube receives more than 2 billion On that languid evening in San Diego viewers per day. to share relevant knowledge with “Jawed” shot a small video of the blinding speed. As a direct result, Businesses today are engaging with elephant behind him and posted it on markets are getting smarter - and their customers and consumers. this new video sharing website called getting smarter than most companies. Promising to make their lives a better YOUTUBE. It was the first video ever These Markets are conversations. Their one and promising to make the world a uploaded on YouTube, Jawed had members communicate in a language better place. But we as modern humans things to say, and found people who that is natural, open, honest, direct, are not listening…we don’t care! life is wanted to hear it. funny and often shocking. Whether too short and social interaction today isSOCIAL KONNECT | 04 Barack Obama’s Campaign was explaining or complaining, joking or only spawning that idea that Life is too significantly driven on the Internet and serious, the human voice is short and we need to live it. especially so on Social Media. No other unmistakably genuine. World Leader had so effectively done so And in this idiom lies the Holy Grail of
Social CRM. It’s not about Business to Volkswagen commercials after being advocating experiences emanatingBusiness, Its NOT EVEN about Business uploaded only 3 weeks ago, have from products, brands, activities etc.to Consumer. It’s all about Consumer to garnered over 7 million views. He or she is your best advocate in theConsumer. social media space. Let loyal customers If music be the food of love, Play on : spread messages easily. And in doing soCustomers are rapidly moving up the 20% of all You Tube uploads are music, they relate to us intherently andTechnographics ladder, and marketers which is universal, knows no demonstrate their loyalty to us. And inneed to be cognizant of which part of boundaries, is one of the most powerful this scenario we need to ask ourselves -the ladder, a bulk of their consumers lie, human expressions. The classic case of Do we really think they care about us as Forrester Research recently published a paper on the hierarchy of the Social Media calling it the Social Technographics Ladder. Shown below: • Publish a blog • Publish your own web pages • Upload video you created Creators • Upload audio/music you created • write articles or stories and post them Groups include Critics • Post ratings/reviews of products or services • Comment on someone elses blog consumers • Contribute to online forums • Contribute to/edit articles in a wiki participating in Collectors at least one of • Use RSS feeds • "Vote" for web site online the indicated Joiners • Add "tags" to web pages or photos activities at least • Maintain profile on a social networking site monthly • Visit social networking sites Spectators • Read blogs • Listen to podcasts • Watch video from other users Inactives • Read online forums • Read custome ratings/reviews • None of the aboveand hence customize marketing much as we care about them?strategies to build and nurture the Businesses today are Ther answer lies in the next question -community. engaging with their “Are we Loyal to our Customers and customers and consumers. Consumers??”Customers today are expressing activelyand willingly across touch points of an Promising to make their lives Here’s what it will take – if we want toenterprise. How can some of our a better one and promising succeed in the Marketplace - the Marketenterprises leverage across business: place of Conversations as so aptly to make the world a better propogated in the Clue Train ManifestoProduct Launches: A company today place. But we as modern - we have to enter the world of ourunveils and launches your favourite humans are not fellow consumers and customers andproducts and services using a social breathe the same air they’re breathing.webcast, create fan pages, integrating listening…we don’t care! Life We have to Listen, Engage, Energize,with social games and video virals. The is too short and social Motivate, Share, Laugh, Empathise andlatest product commercials are on You interaction today is only Serve. We have to trust as much as beTube and companies are even creating spawning that idea that Life trusted. We have to Love as much as becontent specific to the social channel. loved. We have to relate as much as weOn the other hand addressing customer is too short and we need to seek a relationship. There in lies thequeries & grievances regularly by being live it. truth.in the environment where they thrive isso much easier and more exciting for an a country singer, as a disgruntled We have no choice but to adopt theEnterprise. customer who used YouTube and C2C idiom or be left out…foreverExtend the life of your very expensive Twitter to spread a music video detailing Uniteds mishandling of his Authored by Mr. C R Vinay. He is the Founder & MDTV commercials : Also, with the of Customer Centria and has nearly 14 years’ $3,500 guitar and the companysconvergence of TV and the internet, and experience as an advertising and marketing subsequent refusal to compensate him.the sky rocketing rates of television professional. His penchant for customer The song was called "United Breaks“prime time”, increasingly the channel of management coupled with his strong Guitars." Within one week it received 3choice for all advertisers is becoming background of technology-driven marketing SOCIAL KONNECT | 05 million views – and the reality was hethe internet – the buzz that the helps him achieve his goal of developing sang about it, rather than talk about it.superbowl commercials created, were Customer Centria into a globally competentseen almost instantaneously. The Customers are talking to each other and Customer Management company.
COVER STORY THE NEW VALUE EQUATION Pascal Beucler The changing relationship between PR and Marketing, in the context of the social media turmoil, is undoubtedly the top It should now be clear for everyone that social media is not just "another question which all Boards are channel", but something which has addressing these days. This is “completely changed the way organizations and people interact and what Paul Holmes, during a communicate with each other." recent « ThinkTankLive » we had How big is the change, and why does it matter so much to in Prague, calls "the most us, PR agencies? significant shift in the way Social Intelligence & DesignSOCIAL KONNECT | 06 people communicate since the These are the new boundaries of the Conversation Age, as Marc Zuckerberg inventing of the printing press". underlined it during the recent e-G8
we organized in Paris: « People being Purpose + Participation + Profits: this consistency, continuity, creativity andempowered to share whatever they exactly is what we believe is commitment accross the board.want is THE trend for the next decade determinant today for our clients, at Why are we still talking about: that’s the core social dynamics ». We MSLGROUP. channels, when people should be atare in the age of People andCommunities : « Real people from real Brands need to be built from the the centre of our conversation? Brandcommunities, engaging in a collective inside out. and Reputation are more and more tosocial discovery », as the founder of be managed at the corporate level, In order to make brand (re) building aFacebook summarized it. This is our which requests a far higher level of success in the Conversation Age,business too, as PR people (« PR » is integration, on the client side, as well nothing is more important than tofor us « People Relations », not « as on the agency side. engage with employees first. This isPublic Relations », dead concept) : CMOs want to stop wasting time and the cornerstone of every companyshelping our clients engage with real ecosystem today. See the new HP money with too many suppliers. Itspeople & communities, to spread positioning and campaign, which both a question of efficiency andword of mouth about the brands and was first shared with all employees, effectiveness. It is even more obvious,issues they care about. We are the with 70% of them engaged within given the fragmentation of audiencesexperts of the « earned media » : wordof mouth, the most trusted source for two days. It incredibly helped spread- and channels. This is the main topic ofpurchase decision, peer to peer out outside the company through conversation for global CMOs, andconversation and opinion building.Trust is in peers, not inorganizations.This clearly is a key issue foreverybody, in a world where 8 people It should now be clear forout of 10 say they only trust theirpeers, not advertising. The distrust everyone that social media isequally affects every form of topdown communication. not just "another channel",Organizations and brands are nolonger determined by what they say but something which has(people do not care about it thatmuch), but by what people say aboutthem in the on-going conversation “completely changed the way(and this is what organizations shouldcare about). In other words, its all organizations and peopleabout audiences targeting you, notyou targeting audiences. interact and communicatePerformance with Purpose is thenew frontier. with each other."Having an articulated expression ofwhat you stand for as a business isfine, but its not going to suffice.A clear, strong AND social purpose istoday mandatory for all organizations Facebook and other social media, they have started to reorganizeand brands. And it is crucial for with over 10 million (yes, ten million) around this. Agencies and networkscompanies and brands, to (re)define people engaged in less than a week. should better act quickly too! Indeed,their purpose in a highly "interactive" Social media force collaboration in all siloed oriented approaches andor "co-creative" way. It cannot "just" areas, and reputation is closely mentalities must die, leaving thecome from the Board, or from a group depending upon it. place for Value Creation Partners.of consultants: it has to come from allstakeholders, it has to be shared, it "It takes two to tango".must be social squared. New Marketing and PR MUST work hand in Authored by Pascal Beucler. He is SVP & Chiefconsumers touch points evolve very hand, if they want to maximize the Strategy Officer, MSLGROUP. Pascal has 25 years SOCIAL KONNECT | 07fast: values and sense of purpose of experience in strategic consultancy, image & expected impact. This is not an option speech analysis, consumer marketing, corporatematter to the majority of them. if you want to reach the right level of communications & PR, branding & design.
TRENDS What’s your favorite game? I asked my 10 year old? Black Ops you say?? Funny, I thought it was cricket! you don’t want to make a career of it, world. Did someone say gaming was or if you don’t happen to be very not competitive? good at it? Remarked yet another 12 Parallel worlds are now real: year adult. Psychologists always told us that Playing performance sports as against children live in parallel worlds, the what I call recreation sports is at an original premise for the birth of super inflection point. By playing heroes and toys. Hero figures that performance sport, I mean sport children would make fly with their which can be later played at a hands. Well, now the make believe is professional level with some financial for real, thanks to the kind of upside. More and more children (and I immersive and almost real worlds that have spoken to a few) believe that gaming creates. sport should be played seriously, and Sanjay Sharma New environment, old audience: they mean seriously, with a coach, All recent data suggests that the classes, proper training, or not at all. moment a child has access to gaming, Given this situation some key trends his consumption of TV dips The next time you go looking for your are emerging and marketers and substantially. Since limited time is kids when they are out playing, you social media experts would do well to available he would rather play than need to look no further than perhaps study them and utilize them for “watch”. This has opened new your living room. Chances are you will creating stronger Brand Engagement. channels for brands to communicate find them there or maybe in their own Gaming is moving to playing: to this audience. It’s a very focused pad. Welcome to the new playground. With the revolutionary Wii and the medium and a very attentive Your own living room. And the new gyroscope in the iphone, gaming is audience. Of course, creating games, “virtual sports” which take no longer the static state we used to compelling engagement between various forms, many a times violent, believe it was. Jumping, waving, brands and this audience is material and are delivered out of a multitude moving in of consoles both, handheld and impossible stationary. Enough to keep children Well ask any typical child today and he will dismiss spaces is the occupied for a few hours if not for the your claim as pure humbug. A child today is growing new cool and entire day. up in a most exciting world and he knows it. Going it has added So when did all that change? the much out in the sun to play? What in heaven’s for sir and Remember when we were growing needed what really is the point of playing a serious sport if up, we used the first excuse to run out “physical” in you don’t want to make a career of it, or if you don’t of the house, get hold of our friends gaming and happen to be very good at it? and using whatever primitive sport now our equipment we had available, children are embarked on an enthralling few really playing albeit not cricket in the for another article. hours of pure sport with nature as the sun, like we used to. As you can imagine, ‘catch them audience. Sure we do remember. But young’ is easier said than done in the Friends are back: those were the “good old days”, were new emerging age of technology. The Thanks to online game play they not? great Bob Dylan sang a few years ago technology evolving, all your friends Well ask any typical child today and “the times, they are a changing”. And are available to play with you in the he will dismiss your claim as pure since this song is still on top of the living room virtually. Why waste time humbug. A child today is growing up charts , guess what ‘the times, they travelling huh? All games now come continue to change’SOCIAL KONNECT | 08 in a most exciting world and he knows with IM built in. No more lonely it. Going out in the sun to play? What children you see, whatever we may Authored by Sanjay Sharma, Senior Strategy in heaven’s for Sir and what really is believe. And of course, they all share Counsel, Hanmer MSL the point of playing a serious sport if playing scores with the rest of the
THE NEW WAY Six Stages of Social Media Maturity integrating platforms, programs and engaging fans and followers in the processes. short-term, they fail to exploit the full potential of social media. Most Stage 1: Let’s create a campaign marketers are still in this stage, but microsite some are ready to move beyond. This fascination with tools can be Stage 4: Let’s integrate social into traced back to the days when our web platforms marketers created flash-based campaign microsites to support After much speculation that the advertising campaigns. These Facebook Page might replace the microsites were heavy on experience brand website, sophisticated but light on content and had the marketers are beginning to view the same shelf-life as the TVC (typically website as their social hub. Marketers eight to twelve weeks), after which are integrating social into web they were either preserved for award platforms by adding content creation entries or taken offline. I’m relieved to features like blogs, wikis, photo- Gaurav Mishra see that most marketers have moved sharing and video-sharing; content- beyond the campaign microsite. curation features like commenting, voting, reviews and ratings; and Stage 2: Let’s create a Facebook / connection features like profiles,Over the last six months, I have led Twitter page groups, activity streams andmore than 50 social media strategy When Facebook and Twitter become leaderboards. Marketers are alsoworkshops with more than 1500 mainstream, marketers rushed to integrating websites with Facebook,marketers across six countries in Asia. create a Facebook Page or a Twitter Twitter and LinkedIn by adding socialThese workshops are often Profile, without really thinking about sign-on, sharing buttons, profilechallenging because participants what they will do with it. Even when boxes and activity stream widgets tohave different levels of experience marketers increased the fan count on their websites. Some marketers likewith social media. Some participants their Facebook Page by buying ads, Dolce Gabbanawish to know how they can start small the fans rarely engaged with the (http://dolcegabbana.com) and thesocial media experiments. Others brand. Even as the first wave of CP+B Group (http://cpbgroup.com)would like to start using social media marketers are seeking ways to are even reimagining the website asmore strategically. Still others want to increase engagement, the next wave an aggregation of their social mediabenchmark themselves against the of marketers are still setting up their activity streams.best in the world. social media presence. Stage 5: Let’s integrate social intoOver time, I have found it useful to Stage 3: Let’s do a Facebook contest our marketing programsstructure my workshops around the / Twitter influencer program Some sophisticated marketers aresix stages of social media maturity As marketers seek to increase beginning to realize that theirframework. The framework is rooted engagement on social media marketing programs are mostin one important insight: when asked platforms, they often start with tactics effective when they don’t only usewhat their social media strategy is, that are specific to the platform, like a social platforms, but also becomeless mature marketers tend to talk SOCIAL KONNECT | 09 Facebook contest or a Twitter social at the core. As a result,about tools and tactics, whereas more influencer program. While these marketers are moving from TVC-mature marketers talk about tactical programs are successful in centric 360 degree campaigns to
THE NEW WAY | Six Stages of Social Media Maturity community-centric 360 degree campaigns. PepsiCo is leading the way shifting the focus of its marketing Over time, I have found it useful to “from moments to movements” and creating path-breaking multi-year structure my workshops around the six community-centric marketing programs like Pepsi Refresh Project stages of social media maturity (http://refresheverything.com) and Mountain Dew Dewmocracy framework. The framework is rooted in (http://dewmocracy.com). Stage 6: Let’s integrate social into one important insight: when asked what our business processes their social media strategy is, less mature The most sophisticated marketers know that social media is most marketers tend to talk about tools and effective when they leverage it for doing the right things, instead of tactics, whereas more mature marketers merely saying the right things. Companies like Dell, Starbucks and GE talk about integrating platforms, are using social media as a tool for business transformation by programs and processes. integrating it with their sales, support and innovation processes. Early experiments to crowd-source innovation are particularly promising, platforms in the incubation stage I have found that this simple with Dell Ideastorm might be different, but the six stages framework helps marketers not only (http://ideastorm.com), My Starbucks of social media maturity still remain contextualize their own experience Ideas (http://mystarbucksidea.com) the same. In China, for instance, both with social media, but also plan for and GE Ecomagination Challenge consumer brands and corporate strategies to extend their engagement. (http://challenge.ecomagination.com) brands tend to focus on creating Sina Begin by asking yourself which stage being the most prominent examples. Weibo pages and running Sina Weibo of social media maturity you are at, I have also seen some interesting KOL programs in the incubation and plan for platforms, programs and trends across geographies and stages. processes to move to stages 4, 5, 6. business context. While consumer While most companies go through brands tend to focus on Facebook the six stages of social media Authored by Gaurav Mishra pages and contest apps, corporate maturity, they realize meaningful Director of Digital and Social Media, and B2B brands tend to focus on MSLGROUP Asia. Gaurav Mishra helps global results only when they move beyond brands benefit from Social Squared, the Twitter profiles and influencer tactical experiments in stage 1, 2, 3 intersection of social as in connecting people and programs in the incubation stage. and integrate social media into their social as in benefiting the society, as Director, Digital and Social Media, MSLGROUP Asia. Read In specific markets, the social platforms, programs and processes in more articles from Gaurav on stages 4, 5, 6. www.gauravonomics.com. SIX Stages of Social While consumer brands tend to focus on Facebook pages and contest Media Maturity for apps, corporate and B2B brands tend to focus on Twitter profiles and corporates influencer programs in the incubation stage. 4 5 6 Let’s integrate Let’s integrate Let’s integrate Integration social into social into our social into our our platforms! programs! processes! 2 3 Let’s run an Incubation Let’s create a corporate profile influences pro- on Twitter! gram on Twitter! 1 Let’s create aSOCIAL KONNECT | 10 Inaction campaign microsite Platforms Programs Processes
VIEWS By Mahima KaulGOI’sSocial Skills There seems to be these waves of imagination and creativity passing through the Indian government, especially when it comes to the internet. But it will have to trust its people, and it will have to trust its own ability to respond to the people. Governments need to learn from private companies who have employed social media to connect with their users and strengthen their brands. Otherwise this system is going to crash.Those of us in the digital So, at a conference called "The Power to a BJP youth meet where Advaniinclusion/innovation space have of Social Media for Governance" in was speaking, and to my surprise heunderstood the crucial need for e- New Delhi, March 2010, a new did not answer a single questiongovernment. Were not alone, the dynamic emerged. It was called the asked of him or even address thegovernment has realized it too and Gov2.in forum. Social media, we all topic at hand but gave a speechmany states are making a direct play know, can be employed to create about the first time he saw a cellto turn dusty old files into online knowledge networks, disseminate phone and then basically said whatfolders. This intention has been information and keep track of the he wanted and left. Contrast that tofurther solidified by the first draft of world around you. Twitter is a better what we see online today, withElectronic Delivery of Services Bill, source of news than any newspaper politicians actually answering2011, which has proposed that all homepage can hope to be, and individual questions online, with theministries and government Facebook is an interactive address safety net of being measured if theydepartments will have to deliver book. Social media allows strangers to want, because they can type, deleteservices electronically, be it through connect over a decidedly neutral and retype before pressing enter.the internet or mobile phones. platform and talk about issues. Sure, Tharoor, of course, ended up onDigitizing the internal processes of people get nasty, but there is the national TV in (for the most part)government departments, or else, distance of a computer screen retarded "scandal" after "scandal" anddigitizing the front-end delivery (mobile) to save you from any social media was perceived assystem have for the most part defined unnecessary facetime. something "serious" politicianse-government projects. This is The first time any government official should not do. However, there weretypified by projects like Bangalore really engaged with people online signs of positive influence as well. TheOne, MP Online and so on, which offer was probably Shashi Tharoors twitter Ministry of External Affairs’ Publiccitizens a way to pay for utilities, book account. LK Advanis homepage had Diplomacy Division set up a Twittertickets, get certificates and even created a lot of buzz during the last page to let people know about what SOCIAL KONNECT | 11renew passports from offices littered elections but it wasnt quite as chatty the ministry and diplomatic missionsacross the city. as Twitter can be. In fact, I was invited do. At the time they were focusing on
VIEWS | GOI’s Social Skills government departments to social the reasons why the government has media, because it seemed, in his banned them. The person asking mind, it would go the way of TV News. drew the comparison to books and The way TV news picks up a topic and said; we all know which/why books wages war against it has clearly left a are banned. IT lawyer Pavan Duggal lot of politicians burnt, and it seems also pointed out that state Sibal was looking at FB and Twitter governments have a lot of power in (and other social media which we use blocking sites and in the case of non next) as a device by which campaigns national interest reasons, they must against the government will be disclose what the reasons are. (There waged, and complaints made even has been an indication from Kapil more public. He chose to, instead, Sibal that he is open to revising these focus on simple delivery mechanism rules, but the statement came after e-gov stories, which kept the much protest from internet activists). narrative simple. "I build software, you What all of this is adding up to is that save time = less corruption". there is a divide between the The panel that followed, which governments instinctive reaction to promoting Indias soft power (even *not* trust people with the kind of included many bureaucrats, was more within the country) by creating freedoms the internet’s intrinsic encouraging. These were IAS officers goodwill among people. The whole nature allows them, and harnessing who had taken steps to engage with theory turned on its head in the light this power/potential goodwill to the public, specifically, using social of events in Egypt and Libya, where become a better democracy and a media to complement e-government the MEA actually had a Twitter more responsive government. They work. account set up, with MEA officials seem to say: we want to adopt e- manning it, and they were able to The takeways were simple enough: government because “technology” is save lives through the technology. although there is criticism, however, if here to stay, but we are wary of MEA officials themselves were taken you respond to it then social media blogs/social networks because aback as individuals users came to users will also come to your defense. citizens can offer direct and public their twitter site and updated them And even if the technology seems opinions, and the tide may go against about their (or relatives) whereabouts alien to you, if you keep at it, you can us. and asked them to help them exit the really bring people over to the side of countries. And the MEA had to give governance. Perhaps the most There seems to be these waves of real time responses. The entire important was: if you dont have a imagination and creativity passing experience has changed, in a sense, team in place to deal with all the through the Indian government, the functioning of the MEA. questions/comments/complaints that especially when it comes to the come your way, people become very internet. But it will have to trust its Other government departments were people, and it will have to trust its impatient and think your department experimenting too: Delhi Polices own ability to respond to the people. is lazy. So, all in all, its not easy to *just Facebook page which helped citizens Governments need to learn from begin* but as someone noted, if you turn in photographic complaints private companies who have are not in it, you are out it. Sounds about violations and give traffic employed social media to connect simplistic, but being out of it will cost updates, the MCD’s online FB page with their users and strengthen their a lot. that focuses on garbage disposal, brands. Otherwise this system is India Post, which helps people track However, there is also the IT policy to going to crash. parcels through Twitter etc. Now keep track of. The draft amendment imagine being able to converse with to the IT act places intermediaries any and every department, finding responsible for content. For example, Authored by Mahima Kaul. Mahima is a ICT4D out about electricity issues, passport now that bloggers have been called professional and a consultant with the Digital Empowerment Foundation, New Delhi. issues and having someone get back intermediaries, they will be to you the same day. responsible for comments on their blogs. However, these experiments are And because of these changes, personality driven and only a few the government can then shut government departments have down blogs and sites because of warmed to them. At the Gov2.in concerns, none of which they conference, Kapil Sibal, Minister for are really concerned about Communications and Information spelling out. Technology, gave the first speech. During the conference thisSOCIAL KONNECT | 12 I was immediately struck by the question was asked twice: is reluctance Sibal had in opening up there a list of banned blogs and
VIEWS By Aravind G Shivkamal (Columnist)PR / Advertisingsector fails to tapgovernment as a ‘market’ It is surprising to note that top PR and advertising firms of the country have failed to treat government as a ‘market’ though enterprising , ministers and officers are willing to explore tie- ups with PR firms and advertising agencies.The Karnataka government organizes advertising firms of the country have These reforms are not just restricted toa cultural festival, Hampi Utsava, every failed to treat government as a ‘market,’ citizen-centric services of theyear in the ruins of Hampi, North though enterprising ministers and government agencies, but the entireKarnataka, with a budget of Rs 10 officers are willing to explore tie-ups administrative machinery and thecrore; similar events are held in other with PR firms and advertising agencies. allied functions. The reforms mandateimportant places of tourism interest The only government-related event the government organizations tolike Dharwad, Davanagere, and that has generated considerable adopt the latest and best practices /Mysore, with budget of each event interest among the PR agencies is the communication tools in reaching outbeing not less than Rs. 1.5 crore. annual Bangaloreit.com, aimed at to the intended audiences.However, a glaring omission at such attracting investments in the IT sector. Many of these organizations have triedhigh profile events is organized PR Major Opportunities the external PR model by hiringactivity and advertisements-based Bangalore can be the main market for Bangalore-based agencies. However,promotions, which result in poor PR firms looking for business with wide gap between the expectations ofresponse from the sections of government departments or agencies. these organizations and thoseaudiences / business communities A number of departments are in the delivered by the PR agencies, proved aconcerned. modernization mode and reforms are major hindrance for PR agencies toThe government PR machinery – in place. For instance, utilities like pursue such contracts.Information Department – is tasked Bangalore Electricity Supply Company Bescom and Bangalore Metro Rail hadwith the job of handling PR and (Bescom); Bangalore Water Supply and hired local PR agencies in the past;advertisements relating to such events Sewerage Board (BWSS); Bangalore however, the contracts were notand programs. The government Metro Rail (Namma Bangalore) and renewed because of lack of expertiseofficers, who have limited exposure to Bangalore Metropolitan Transport among the PR agencies to handle suchPR, media and the advertising world, Corporation (BMTC), which have clients. Even now, Bescom and BWSSB SOCIAL KONNECT | 13invariably end up disappointing the borrowed from leading financial seek external PR support for specificevent organizers. institutions or World Bank, as a rule, events. In 2008, the World BankIt is surprising to note that top PR and have to undertake reforms. implemented a special program
VIEWS | PR / Advertising sector fails to tap government as a ‘market’ makers, when it comes to finalizing PR contracts, always face paucity of time. It is for the PR agencies to convince officers, particularly those open to ideas, to try the external PR model. Some of these officers in key agencies, such as government-owned Boards and Corporations (PSUs) are empowered to take decisions independently even without seeking the consent of the government. The state PSUs, by themselves, constitute one huge chunk of market within the government. Bangalore may be the major market for PR agencies to tap business opportunities, but beyond Bangalore, there are greater deals. through the BWSSB on creating accountability. The In Mysore, every year, on the awareness on water-related health government departments routinely occasion of Dasara festival issues. Shockingly, the funds allocated place advertisements in newspapers, celebrations, the government for PR activity, Rs 10 lakh, went especially linguistic dailies, seeking PR organizes various cultural, sports and unutilized because of flawed rules. support during the beginning of fiscal literary events, running into more than year. Rs. 25 crore. Similarly, in the northern Paradigm Shift Required tourist town of Bagalkote, the Tourism The PR agencies need to keep a regular These tenders appear to be Department organizes a cultural tab on various government cumbersome. For, the PR agencies expo, which is attended by cultural departments and organizations, interested in applying through the czars and Bollywood celebrities. particularly those that regularly tender model should quote their However, these events hardly receive interface with the people (customers). pricing; specify media plan and predict any importance, both in terms of Only experts can understand the the outcome. media attention and commerce. processes and procedures of Unfortunately, such advertisements go The average size of the market from government organizations as they are unnoticed by leading PR firms, as they the government sector alone complex in nature. The PR agencies appear more in the linguistic constitutes more than Rs. 10 crore need a paradigm shift if they have to newspapers. Consequently, PR each year in Karnataka, taking into emerge successful in bagging agencies that neither qualifies to account the budgetary important contracts from the service the clients nor have the announcements. If the private PR government. requisite expertise bag contracts for a sector is successful in taping just 10 The government sector rules deviate limited period. In the process, poor per cent of this market through from those followed by the corporate servicing of the clients leads to early appropriate strategies, the returns are world. The government agencies and termination of contracts. immense. departments follow a typical rule to Creating Awareness partner with external PR agencies. The awareness about external PR Authored by Aravind Gowda. With more than 13 Unlike the private sector, the focus is years of experience in diverse segments of the support or the understanding of the media, Aravind Gowda is a columnist, who writes not on series of meetings, PPT PR world is pathetic in the corridors of for reputed newspapers on Current issues. He has presentations or examining proposals. power. Many top officials in the worked for premier media houses like The Times of India; Business Standard; The India Today The government organizations follow government are of the impression that Group;and Deccan Herald. He has also the archaic ‘tender-based’ model to PR exercise means just generating contributed to international publications, such as, invite participation from the PR optimum media coverage for the The Khaleej Times (West Asia); Global Sources agencies. It is not that they deliberately departments or the campaigns they (Hong Kong); and EE Times (Europe). He is aSOCIAL KONNECT | 14 lead. Communications & Content Consultant for pursue this model, but government various MNCs. He has also featured in award- rules compel the organizations to The IAS / IPS officers, the key decision winning TV documentaries. follow it in view of transparency and
TRENDSIn bed dreamingdifferent dreams heard. (A little embarrassment, which appropriate infrastructure to teach all is eased by kind editors of the day these subjects, are conveniently who were my once my juniors.) But it overlooked when the mad rush for affirmed yet again the trend I have admission in a “good college” and in a been noticing: the vast majority of course with “good prospects” is driven students in graduate and post by extra-mural considerations on all graduate courses under the university sides. scheme of media studies are not This is largely why any kind of media dreaming to be journalists. They practitioner – the fancy colleges at would much rather be in public least try to have guest lectures and relations. From what I deduced send students to intern – will find talking to her, varied levels of disinterest in his/her this kid who is doing a BA with an area of work in a classroom and is alleged media orientation, would like flummoxed by the contradictions in to be a marketing communication aspirations which he/she dared to ask professional. Can she? Yes, if she is John Thomas as a way to fathom what and how trained right. (She has the personality much to teach an apparently bright and the background, going by what I lot of students. Yet some determined know of her family and schooling.) ones from this cohort will manage to Therefore, at issue is the make contact and get into the PRThe other day I made a courtesy call catch-all media studies industry (as also to Journalism andat the editorial of a prominent English courses into which all kinds of Advertising) and how well they do ordaily in Bangalore where I had tinsel ingredients are tossed have done is the burden of my thesis:commended a media student from a to attract all kinds of confused What if they had been given therenowned city college for summer children at inordinately high requisite grounding and traininginternship: to thank the editor under fees compared to other before they came seeking a job?whom she’d be working and to check bachelor’s and master’s How comfortable the wonderon how things were. What I heard to degrees in these colleges with years (for both sides) wouldmy dismay was the editor concerned diminishing glamour value. have been and how better andtelling me how unprepared this kid Clearly, there is a demand for higher the young ones wouldwas for the practical experience and media courses. But to do what, have grown!media industry exposure the college is the question.in its wisdom had made mandatory Professionals (industryfor her to acquire during the vacation. One can point to lack of suitable practitioners) suggestingWhat was worse was to hear the career guidance and aptitude a customisation of theeditor recounting what she said on assessment. But peer pressure syllabusbeing given some reporting work, which parents and children face,“But ma’am, I can’t write.” negates any sensible advice. handed down from Questions about the the university’s innerHaving been in the role of mentoring academic or professional sanctorum istrainees in my journalist years and competence of the teachers abhorrent to SOCIAL KONNECT | 15having since taught in colleges, to teach what’s blandished in the academicians whoincluding the one this student is from, curriculum or the availability of place greaterit didn’t shock me to hear what I
TRENDS | In bed dreaming different dreams value on academics than on employability of their wards. But there is no reason why the PR industry should not find volunteers Therefore, at issue is the catch-all media with the aptitude for teaching to try getting a foot in the door of colleges studies courses into which all kinds of from where there has been a supply of talent. Alumni provide the best tinsel ingredients are tossed to attract access for this effort. It’s a way of all kinds of confused children at talent spotting and talent-grooming. The PRSI and PRCI can campaign to inordinately high fees compared to create trainers for this outreach work to sustain the growth of the industry. other bachelor’s and master’s degrees Even training those in employment is essential for the health of the industry in these colleges with diminishing to face the challenges of quality and standards that come with expansion glamour value. Clearly, there is a through globalisation. Some PR companies can also venture into demand for media courses. But to do training as a CSR activity for the good what, is the question. of the profession. and confused protagonist mentioned There may be more examples of earlier may well turn out to be) and individual and collective training ensuring a steady supply of talented ventures in journalism because news and qualified professionals to stay operations have been around far committed to excellence. longer and staff demands are many times more than public relations. But Authored by John Thomas. He has work what stops the PR industry from experience that spreads over 34 years and six stepping up? It’s a choice between newspapers in India and two top news agencies abroad. He currently holds the position of Dean at making do with stragglers into the team.i - a media institute focusing on event profession who may or may not turn management, public relations and advertising. out to be geniuses (as our diffidentSOCIAL KONNECT | 16
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