Is PR the next marketing tool for marketers?

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PR‘Media has a restriction on the kind of stories they can cover, but when it comes to PR, the information field is more expansive’, says Kunal Kishore, Founder-Director, Value 360 Communications, who stresses on the need of PR as the next marketing tool for marketers. “With tier II and III cities witnessing growth and becoming drivers of huge chunks of businesses for several corporate players, time has come to devise competent communication strategies,” says Kishore.

Tools of Marketing
Social media emerges as one of the important tools for marketing as it can be an effective platform to track regional markets as well as encourage growth, says Kishore. “A collaborative and pro-active approach to reach out to regional markets is the right way to tap such markets as clients would also prefer those PR agencies that have a better reach in regional areas,” says Kishore.

Kunal Kishore, Founder-Director, Value 360 Communications

Kunal Kishore, Founder-Director, Value 360 Communications

Corroborating a similar view, Nandita Lakshmanan, Founder and CEO, The PRactice said that agencies should not use social media just for the sake of social media. “There is a need to give a meaning to it,” she stressed.

For Dhrubajyoti Gayan, Managing Director, Candour Communications, learning is the main way to enter these markets. “Understand who we are communicating to. Social media has opened up avenues for people to give their feedback, try not to mess with such feedback,” he advised.

Marketing on social media via smartphone route
Stressing on the relevance of smartphones and their ability to tap the regional masses, Sanjay Mehta, Joint CEO, Social Wavelength remarked, “2013 would see double-digit growth of smartphones as their growth is bound to happen at 13 per cent. Regional PR is possible through smartphones and major consumption would come from YouTube and Facebook.”

 Dhrubajyoti Gayan, Managing Director, Candour Communications

Dhrubajyoti Gayan, Managing Director, Candour Communications

Kishore added here, “While doing research we found out that YouTube is a most renowned form of social media. As a communication professional, we need to understand what people are doing on their smartphone’s YouTube and then we can devise our plan accordingly.”

Another important marketing tool in the hands of PR agencies is Customisation for regional markets Kishore believes that customising content as per regional festivities such as Durga Puja in Kolkata would go a long way for these markets and tapping their audience. “For social media, I would invest a lot in video initially and then later customise it for the regional audience,” he said.

Sanjay Mehta, Joint CEO, Social Wavelength

Sanjay Mehta, Joint CEO, Social Wavelength

However, one mistake often made by agencies is to rely on second-hand information, which should be avoided. Sanjay Mehta, Joint CEO, Social Wavelength said, “When you want to talk about social media, make your own case studies and experiment yourself rather than just depending on other sources of information. In case of social media in regional markets, one shouldn’t be in denial mode, which obstructs future growth.”

Stressing on the need for social media as a long-term strategy, Mehta said that social media should be sustainable and that’s what matters at the end of the day. He further said, “It is not right to think just from the mode of having a campaign because it would be short-lived. What after that?”

Nandita Lakshmanan,

Nandita Lakshmanan,Founder and CEO The PRactice

Agreeing with him, Lakshmanan said, “There is need to create content for long lasting and sustained conversations, which is only possible if you understand your client, foundation and context of the campaign that you are running to maintain long lasting and sustained relations.”

This apart, targeting the right stakeholder is important too because a campaign might be able to create a wave amongst the audience, but the question is whether it has been able to create the wave for the right stakeholder.

Gayan noted, “There is lack of knowledge amongst the corporate players in terms of tapping the regional markets via social media channel. While there are examples of tier II and III cities using social media, the question is whether we have really covered that distance from metros to these cities. What is the qualitative change that we are enabling through social media?”

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