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Corporate communications presentation to XLRI on January 8, 2010

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Corporate communications presentation to XLRI on January 8, 2010

  1. 1. PRESENTATION BY HARSH SHRIVASTAVA TO XLRI, JAMSHEDPUR JANUARY 8, 2010 Communications are Critical: In good, bad, and new times
  2. 2. Why is communication important?  Managers are managing people.  A changing environment.  Many stakeholders to business.  Every one in an organization uses it it, every day. 2
  3. 3. Targets of communication  Employees  Customers  Investors  Suppliers  Business associates  Government  Local communities Details later … 3
  4. 4. Tools of communication  PR agencies  CII and other industry bodies  Seminars and conferences  Online  Facebook, LinkedIn  Exhibitions  Auto Expo: long legs and luxurious limos  Apart from normal media like websites, brochures, newsletters. 4
  5. 5. Good times: good for corporate ego  Boost the company’s image and strengthen its brand among:  Investors  Customers  Employees  Reliance Capital’s Meet Our People site  5
  6. 6. Tools in good times  Retreats  Glossy Reports  Heavy sponsorship of seminars events  Lavish pre-placement dos at B-Schools! 6
  7. 7. Good examples in good times  Apple’s continuing PR, now followed by Google.  Survived the backdating of options to Steve Jobs.  Gujarat’s continuing image as a good place to work  More than Modi  Feedback Ventures  entirely using CII and PR  Infosys—and its squeaky clean image  Since 1992; helped it survive sexual harassment charges 7
  8. 8. Making bad times bearable  Employees  Jobs  Bankers  Solvency  Suppliers  Getting paid 8
  9. 9. Tools in bad times  Town Halls  But with honest answers to tough questions!  Regular letters to all employees  That show sacrifice by the top and what is being done to deal with a downturn.  Involve employees through polls on the intranet  Use the media (PR); cheaper than advertising.  Lobbying the government for bailouts/packages  Continuing PR asking for the stimulus to continue 9
  10. 10. Good examples in bad times  GM India after its parent declared bankruptcy.  Satyam just after it was bought by Tech-Mahindra.  Jet Airways during its pilots’ strike. 10
  11. 11. Bad examples in bad times  The BJP’s inability to tell its workers why it lost a second consecutive general election.  SEZ developers. Gung-ho in good times.  Can’t sell the concept to government.  Can’t get farmers to sell their land.  Can’t get the media to support it.  And that’s before they find customers for their pricey land. 11
  12. 12. Heralding a new world 12  Delhi Metro (  Ananda in the Himalayas ( Both used PR well.  Monsanto and GM  Regulators  Farmers  Media
  13. 13. 13  IIM-A’s sky-high image  My ET article on Feb. 7, 2007 “Where are the other IIMs?”  the-other-IIMs/articleshow/1552983.cms  IIM-L hired a PR agency to improve their profile in the national media.  Tier 2 and 3 schools are investing in ads and surveys.  But not enough credibility. B-schools: Placements, Professors, and Patrons
  14. 14. Target audiences: our own team 14 Employer branding: Winning the war for talent  Campus events for freshers  Feedback Ventures’ SEZ game at IIM-A  Smallest company at Day 1.  Participating in Vault reports (  Guest lectures  Mid-career: Press and Great Places to Work survey  Indigo: in the air  “All is Well” campaign to energize employees at Reliance Life Insurance. The Infosys MIL test
  15. 15. Customers 15  Facebook  Product placement in movies  PR  Managing bad news  Pesticide Pepsi Mostly covered in regular marketing courses, especially those relating to branding.
  16. 16. Investors: retain their faith 16 Institutional: Buy  Roadshows  Tie-ups with brokers  Speaking at conferences  Proactive reaching out Retail: Bye  Cluttered websites that don’t answer FAQs  No dedicated helpline  Gujarati more than English
  17. 17. Suppliers 17  Pampered in good times  Events  Newsletters  Bullied in bad times  Only money, honey No Nos for the Nano: the Tata talisman
  18. 18. Business associates 18 Respect from peers  Speakers at CII conferences  Articles in newspapers  Vinayak Chatterjee’s Infratalk column in BS  Blogs and books  Nandan Nilekani and Imagining India  25 IIM-A entrepreneurs profiled in Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish
  19. 19. Government 19  Class Nine Civics  Constitutional separation between Union and State  Different target audience  Bureaucrats  English, Powerpoint, suits, big numbers  Ministers  Hindi, printed material, jobs generated, tax revenues  PR in the vernacular media  Regulators  Proactively shape regulation, rather than react.  Use CII as a platform for this
  20. 20. Local communities: your partners 20  Land acquisition problems all over India  Water problems  Coke  Employment issues  Mumbai for Maharashtrians  Effective engagement: earlier the better  Bharat Forge at Khed  CSR for continuing support
  21. 21. Common mistakes  Bad language; boring writing  Grammar, pompous language  Too many colors and effects  Especially on PowerPoint  Using English, when Hindi would be better  Especially when talking to government  Confusion between British and American spellings  And between crore and million  Out-of-date websites 21
  22. 22. Good communications 22  Training for all managerial employees  Speaking: how, what  Writing: common mistakes to avoid. Tip: interline spacing.  Guidelines to talk to the press  Especially in places away from HQ  Handouts about yourself in the local language  To give to government; local communities, and others  Invest in:  An attractive and useful calendar  a regular newsletter: families, far away teams appreciate it  Regular updates to your website  Selecting a good font: Segoe UI
  23. 23. Great communications 23  Vibrant intranet: an internal Facebook  Informed suppliers, dealers, and bankers  Reputed image in the media  Your comments are taken for industry stories.  A website that’s useful to current and potential:  Investors, clients, employees  Tip: A map to all offices.  Local communities respect  Including local officials: corporators, police, etc.  Prepared response to crises.
  24. 24. Useful websites  The Economist style guide   About Public Relations   Basics of event management   Good website (for Rs. 5 lakh)  24
  25. 25. Reliance Capital writing guidelines 25 Standardization of dates and numbers  All dates will be written in the format: MMMM DD, YYYY or October 1, 2009, which is the format used by newspapers in India. We should not write October 1st, 2009 or 1st October 2009 or 1 October 2009.  All numbers will be in lakh and crore. Large monetary values are written as Rs. 249 crore, and NOT Rs. 249 crores. Similarly, it is Rs. 43 lakh, not Rs. 43 lakhs, and not lacs. (That’s because the plural is already used in writing Rs.) A period will be used after Rs. There will always be a space after Rs. and before the number.  Only for any matter that is being presented to a foreign audience, should we use million and billion.  Commas will be inserted after thousands, and then for lakh and then for crore. More than one thousand crore will have a comma after the thousand. Large numbers will be in crore, and not in lakh  For instance, Reliance Capital’s standalone turnover for 2008-09 is to be written as Rs. 3,017.29 crore, and not Rs. 301,729 lakh.
  26. 26. Writing guidelines 26 Typos to avoid  Double space between words. This can be removed by doing a search and replace command in word (Ctrl+H). Search for double space, and replace with single space.  No space before commas, semi-colons, and colons: Again Ctrl+H for [ ,] to be replaced with [,].  Avoid informal language like Its—please use It is.  Numbers from one to twenty are written out in full (and so are thirty, forty, etc.). They are not written as numbers 1, 12, 40, etc. Glossary of terms  Wherever possible, every document should have an annexure that gives a glossary of terms. Our financial services sector uses many abbreviations and terms that maybe understood by many of our readers, but not by all. Even if one person cannot understand one of our abbreviations, the entire document has lost its appeal. A glossary of terms will help—the writer is clear what CDA or what MDRT or PMS or FY10E or what EBITDA means, but not every reader will be.
  27. 27. So what does this mean for you? 27  Be aware of the power of effective communications to different stakeholders.  As middle managers often posted outside HQ, many others will turn to you for guidance.  If your top management doesn’t make enough info available to you, prepare your own (especially relating to your region) to answer FAQs.  Work with other colleagues to provide information for newsletters and websites.  What you see is what you give!