“Data analytics should be a fundamental part of any communications function”

As part of our latest series on ‘PR Conversation’, we at Adgully are speaking to some of the industry leaders from both PR agencies and the corporate communications world about how PR as a business and communication tool has evolved and grown over the years. In the last 10 years, PR has taken a different dimension, especially after the entry of social media in a big way. While the PR business has grown, some of the challenges that the industry is facing have also multiplied as clients are becoming more demanding and are expecting their consultants to be on their toes to manage their brand reputation, as news today travels fast and clients are expecting quick response and action in case of a crisis situation. 

Also read:  PR will become more data and AI driven: Sujit Patil, Godrej Industries

In this interaction with Adgully, Vipin Nair, Head - Communications, Wipro Ltd, speaks about the benefit of having long-term agency partners in these times, the importance of data analytics as well as continually evaluating the company’s performance. 

How has PR evolved in the last 10 years? Going forward how will the industry shape up as the dynamics of PR are changing with the acceleration of digital?

We’ve gone from an industry where success was predicated on how good you, your agencies, or media contacts are to one where success depends on a deep understanding of the industry and the audience, based on robust data and analytics. This growth in the use of data and analytics along with the laser focus on showing impact has transformed PR over the past decade. Moving forward, we need to continue to balance science and technology with human creativity and relationships. 

The Pandemic has disrupted everyone. In these times how have you managed the expectations from your PR agency? Did you redefine your objectives to them and revisited your deliverables?

To a certain extent, yes, but we’ve had long relationships with our agencies. All of us must adapt to this so-called new normal and the benefit of having long-term agency partners is that they know our expectations. 

Today, artificial intelligence and data analytics are becoming very important in marketing and communication. How are you making use of this to help in your overall messaging and achieving your ROI?

Data analytics help us understand our market and audience in a deeper manner, and in my view should be a fundamental part of any communications function. 

PR measurement and effectiveness of PR has always been a subject of debate. As a PR professional, what steps the PR industry should take to bring in uniformity so that everyone speaks one language when it comes to PR measurement?

I don’t see the debate on PR measurement ever going away. As we build our data and analytics capabilities, we’ll have access to more measurement tools, but the reality is that there will always be differences in what companies would want to be measured. 

Getting the right skillset and training has always been a challenge in the PR profession. What is your view on the same and what would be the valuable tips that you would like to give to the budding young professionals?

Good companies and agencies invest in their people and they give them access to training and mentoring regularly. However, nothing is more valuable than learning on the job. Experience is what makes the difference between having a good idea and knowing how to bring that good idea to life. For young professionals, what matters most is to stay curious. That will keep us engaged with our audiences, informed on our subjects and connected to the media. 

Do you feel the traditional role of interpersonal communication which was so critical to the profession has somehow been put to the back burner because of too much virtual engagement? How are you experiencing that, is it bringing down the efficiency and the final output?

We all miss the days of face-to-face interactions, but in the tech sector we’ve been used to working remotely for some time. Interpersonal communications matter more when you can’t join someone for a coffee and a chat – it means you must work harder to understand the journalist, their audience and to craft a story that will resonate. It is about putting the audience first. We have been able to adapt well to the new demands. 

Your PR partner plays an important role in building your brand reputation and also helps you in shaping a positive opinion of the company. How do you measure your agency’s performance and evaluate them every year?

We continually evaluate our performance as a team and how effectively we are working towards our goals. Evaluation should be consistent throughout the year so that the campaign is always on track. We work with PR partners who understand that philosophy.

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