What top communications professionals love and hate about the PR industry

As the industry’s top minds, the communications leaders featured below are clearly very passionate about PR. Image Management surveyed them to ask what is one thing that they love and hate about PR. The answers vary from the macro to the micro, but all clearly demonstrate the hope that the PR industry can only grow and improve. Tell us in the comments below of you agree with these leaders. What do you love and hate about PR?

Jaideep Shergill, CEO, Hanmer MSL

Jaideep Shergill, CEO, MSLGROUP India

I like the fact that the PR industry is dynamic, challenging and doesn’t let one sit still. It brings out the best and the worst in people.

I hate that we are not valued enough. People, our employees, our clients don’t value us enough. Most importantly, people in this profession don’t value themselves. They need to get over their insecurities and any inferiority complex, and make a difference about their perception.

Lisa Ashworth, President, PR Newswire, EMEA and India   

It is good that people who take this profession and industry seriously, go right up to the top of the organization. For instance I meet some very powerful people, including CEOs and CMOs all over my region.

The worst thing is that all the customers want monitoring, but we don’t do it. We send their stories out, but we don’t monitor them and take responsibility for it because we don’t own them.

We guarantee and prove that the story has gone out, and we can do some Indoor monitoring; but sometimes our customers say “Until you give us monitoring, we don’t want to try your service.”  One can’t fly to New York on British Airways and expect British Airways to be responsible for the content of meetings in New York.

Yusuf Hatia,Senior Vice President, Fleishman Hillard

Yusuf Hatia, Senior Vice President, Fleishman Hillard

PR is a good combination of writing, as a journalist would and creativity of advertising. It is not all creativity and campaigns; it gives the ability to understand media from a journalist’s point of view. I am one of the few people who studied PR at an under graduate and post graduate level as opposed to a lot of people who stumble into the industry from journalism .

I don’t like that PR is mentally exhausting, and sometimes even physically. One can’t simply do a campaign, sit back and relax. One is thinking constantly, it makes the industry interesting but difficult. PR is not for everyone. One needs to work very hard and always try to evolve.

 Yuvraj Mehta, Vice President & Group Head – Corporate Communications at Reliance Infrastructure Ltd

The good thing about this industry is that budget is negligible. When recession hits, our job is secure and advertising budgets get slashed. In absence of advertisements and marketing, PR goes on. It is challenging, but this challenge keeps my job secure even during recession.

The bad thing about PR is that it is the most hated profession. One does everything they can, send the press release, and wait for results. The release can be turned into something different or it might not appear. People in advertising have full control on the end product. As a corporate communications professional, I don’t have any control on the product, the headline, the photo, the placement and the story. This uncertainty is the biggest challenge. Another thing I dislike is the people’s lack of understanding about this industry.

Roma Balwani, Chief Group Communications Officer, Mahindra Group

Roma Balwani, Chief Group Communications Officer, Mahindra Group 

What I love about PR is the recognition and appreciation. However, this is specific to my commitment to Mahindra, and it manifests itself because I can create that connect with all the stake holders. I feel gratified that my campaigns and inputs have been professionally appreciated. My efforts have been validated externally by awards and trophies, and internally, by the recent change in designation.

I’ve been elevated to the position of Chief Group Communications Officer; it’s a CXO level positioning.  I love my role and the fact that it has been recognized as strategic within the organization.

I dislike the fact that some organizations and people do not see it as a profession worthy of value. Even people within an organization do not consider the function of communication to be as important as that of marketing or HR.

PR professionals have to create that profile and value for themselves, instead of expecting an organization to give it to them.

Marketing and sales have that value because they give returns to the organization. Only when a function gives absolute returns to the organization do they consider it as a valuable strategic input to their business.

Communications professionals have to persevere towards achieving that connect with the organization.

Deepa Thomas, Head – Corporate Communications & Pop Culture, eBay India

I like that PR has the ability to impact brand reputation. There is some marketing and customer service but maintaining the reputation of the brand or corporate lies at the heart and soul of PR.

But it affects the work life balance, and it is very troublesome. I hate that one can’t just switch themselves off mentally, because they are either concerned about a potential crisis or dealing with one. It is very difficult to sleep in such a state, perpetually plugged and worried.

R Nand Kumar, Head, Corporate Communications, ACC Ltd.

Nand Kumar, Head, Corporate Communications at ACC Limited

I always liked communication. It is nice to be in a profession where there is respect and opportunity for written word, unlike other professions. But it is a double edged sword, because it is terribly language oriented.

I don’t like the stereotype around PR. This stereotype is partly because of the functions the industry created for itself, and partly because of the way other functions view it. PR doesn’t always get the attention it deserves, that of a mainstream function. To others, it only becomes important in times of a crisis.

Akansha Pradhan, Head, Corporate Communications, Piramal Enterprises

I love that we are able to make a difference. We help lift a campaign and build the right image for it when certain organizations don’t have money for advertisements and marketing. I also like the fact that we create stories and real content.

I dislike that not everybody understands PR. A lot of people still perceive us as people who are good at English , write press releases and edit copies. They also can’t differentiate between public affairs and public relations.

 

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