Akshaara Lalwani
May 04, 2020

Opinion: How PR professionals strategise for ‘unprecedented times’

Thought leaders need to establish an emotional connect with consumers with the help of PR, states the author

Opinion: How PR professionals strategise for ‘unprecedented times’
As Covid-19 continues to rapidly spread across the globe, effective communication plays an integral role in building a stronger connection between brands and their audience. With print media shut and many campaigns on hold the industry is focusing new ways to communicate with their audience and re-structuring its strategies. Sensible brands are doing everything they can during this pandemic by maintaining and building meaningful relationships during this lockdown.
Due to the lockdown, technology now plays an important factor to be connected, whether for work or for entertainment. People are investing more time online and constantly looking for relevant news and fresh content. It has become essential for everyone to keep themselves informed every hour and minute of the day with the current situation. This is where PR takes centre-stage and brands are relying on to make it easier for them to overcome any stress or challenges they are facing and also to create quality content that viewers will benefit from in some way, be it information or leisure.
Our aim is to look beyond this situation and gain a long-term view of the picture to give that return of investment to the clients. Globally we have witnessed many leaders communicating about the situation.
For instance, “With over a billion people around the world living with some form of disability, it is critical that we find new ways to use technology to enable everyone to fully participate in the socio-economic environment around us”. - Anant Maheshwari, Microsoft India
Hence, planning is about understanding the world around you, the culture, consumer behaviour, trends and traits. Using these to develop plans that help clients move forward in engaging and sometimes in unexpected ways is of supreme importance. It is important to use the past and the present to help brands and clients manage the future. For instance, Indian dairy brand Amul put out a series of messages encouraging people to wash their hands, greet others using the no-contact namaste method, and to work from home. The work featured the famed Amul girl.
Being a PR planner, it gives us the chance to not look for what differentiates people, but what unites them, what they all have in common. By understanding this we as experts try to uncover the elemental truths; hopes, concerns, fears, that everyone shares which help us unlock how to communicate with them.
At the present, thought leaders need to establish an emotional connect with consumers with the help of PR. We choose the messaging and medium carefully for the brand to get maximum visibility. The brands messaging can also give insights on business tips, safety measures and how to stay calm during this pandemic. As all the traditional marketing efforts are almost entirely out of the picture, it is important to get visibility through other mediums. Since, people are still working from home and also making purchase decisions on what they will spend once everything settles down. 
I believe this change is going to bring a positive difference if brands continue to maintain transparent communication with the community. One needs to be prepared for a successful comeback rather than fall down. We are making sure to deliver the best and re-visit their plans, goals and messaging for the year. Now is the time to grasp this opportunity and build your trust with your target audience.
The author is CEO and founder, Communicate India


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