The Need for Speed – the PRCAI Annual PR Summit 2012

Chief Guest Smt. Sheila Dikshit, Chief Minister of Delhi, addresses the audience

The recently concluded Annual PR Summit 2012, organized by the PRCAI in association with the Hindustan Times, brought together some of the industry’s most prominent figures in a robust, vibrant, and timely discussion on the issues pressing the Indian public relations industry. Held at the beautiful Long Champ Hall at the Taj Man Singh, New Delhi, the one-day summit not only allowed for fruitful interactions, but also provided several key takeaways for the PR professionals in attendance.

The central theme of this year’s summit was ‘Need for Speed’ – and, as the name suggests, much of the discussion centered around how a rapidly evolving environment is affecting how PR pros operate and what this means for the future of communication. After a welcome address by PRCAI President Sharif Rangnekar which outlined the summit’s theme and agenda, the summit began with a key note address by the Chief Guest, Smt. Sheila Dikshit, Chief Minister of Delhi.

Smt. Dikshit addressed the crowd on the vital role of the media and was fairly candid about the complicated relationship that she, like most political leaders, shares with the media. While she praised the media for being “very helpful in highlighting causes,” she also bemoaned the “great sense of cynicism in the media” and urged the press to understand and execute the enormous responsibility that is placed on them.

The rest of the day featured a series of vibrant panel discussions which explored different aspects of the topic. Following Smt. Dikshit, a panel of eminent print and broadcast journalists discussed the changing newsroom. The panel included R. Sukumar, Managing Editor of LiveMint, Sourav Majumdar, Editor-in-Chief of Entrepreneur, and Anubha Bhonsle, from CNN IBN, and discussed how a combination of technology and changing expectations from consumers of media has evolved the concept of the traditional news room.

The second panel discussion of the day featured an eminent mix of industry experts who discussed the relationship between speed and substance, and how an evolving scenario has created a proverbial battle between pace and space. The panel featured discussions between Nandini Chatterjee, Brand and Communications Director of PWC, Kapil Kaul, CEO, India and Middle East of CAPA, and Pallav Sinha, President and CEO of Fullerton Securities.

Ex NDTV journalist and current Principal at The PRactice, Shivraj Parshad served as the curator for the first two sessions. By relying on his journalistic background, Mr. Parshad was able to serve less as a traditional moderator and more like a curator who allowed fluid dialogue to take its course, while trying to get the audience involved in a collaborative environment. Sharif Rangnekar, President of PRCAI and head of Integral PR, moderated the next session after lunch and consistently posed thought-provoking questions to the panelists.

From L to R: Prema Sagar (Principal and Founder of Gensis BM), Ranjivjit Singh (CMO of PSG Group HP), Dilip Cherian (Co-Founder and Consulting Partner, Perfect Relations), Sanjaya Baru (Director for Geo-Economics and Strategy, IISS) , Atul Ahluwalia (President-India, Corporate Voice Weber Shandwick), and Sharif Rangnekar (President, PRCAI)

The next panel featured Dr. Sanjaya Baru, Director of Geo-Economics and Strategy at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, Dilip Cherian, Co-Founder and Consulting Partner of Perfect Relations, Ranjivjit Singh, CMO of PSG Group HP, Atul Ahluwalia, President-India of Corporate Voice Weber Shandwick, and Prema Sagar, Principal and Founder of Genesis Burson-Marstellar. The topic was Gone in 60 Seconds and focused on how the windows of opportunity are shrinking – particularly focusing on how governments and public  figures can lose credibility if they are not nimble footed and proactive in the face of crises.

The final panel of the evening focused on whether communicators were “losing sight of our consumers” and featured Tanmoy Mukherjee, Head Brand Integration of Lavazza India, Sandip Dahiya, Senior Vice President, Consumer Products and Communications MTV Networks India, Santosh Desai, MD and CEO of Future Brands, and Sanjeev Lamba, CEO of Reliance Entertainment. The panel was moderated by Ajay Lamba, COO of Intergral PR, and primarily discussed whether the rapid pace of communication, and sheer amount communicated today by brands, was causing a disconnect with the consumers.

Image Management served as Online Partners for the event and had an opportunity to interview several of the panelists; do look forward to our continued coverage of the event and video footage.

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