Mumbai: PRestival, a two-day Public Relations festival was organized at the Devi Ratn Resort, Jaipur. Delegates included CEOs, Agency Heads, Marketing/Communications Heads, Bureaucrats and students.
Over 200 corporate communication experts, journalists, and students from across Asia attended insightful keynote addresses and discussions on Brand Building, Public Relations, and Social Media in the Communications industry, along with fun, interactive activities at the event.
Harish Bijoor, of Harish Bijoor Consults delivered the opening keynote address, speaking on the current status of brand campaigns. Speaking on the need for a fresh take on strategizing brand communication, he said: "The consumer is yawning at PR that is old." Delivering a presentation on the effectiveness of corporate CSR campaigns, he also advised companies to add value to CSR by monetising campaigns.
A discussion on Brand Communication Through PR was moderated by Nikhil Dey, (Genesis-Burson Marsteller), with Tanmoy Mukherjee, (Lavazza), Gautam Paul (PR Newswire) as panelists.
Gautam Paul explained the need for genuine brand activation, stating that "You can buy as much editorial as you want, but paid media is a waste of money."
Sameer Patnaik from Coca Cola discussed Coca-Cola‘s iconic ‘Support My School‘ campaign, highlighting the importance of social outreach and sustainable development.
Sharif Rangnekar, Integral PR, PRCAI, moderated the day‘s final discussion on ‘Social Media: Pokes, Tweets and Censorship - the Challenges of Online Communication‘ and the panel comprised of Ramesh Srivats, (TenTenTen Digital Products), Ranjit Nair, (Germinait Solutions), Preetham Venkky, KRDS (Facebook‘s Preferred Marketing Developer), Anurag Batra (Exchange4Media Group).
Ramesh Srivats spoke about the need to change perceptions and expectations from social media and online campaigns. "Social Media is a tool, but people are the real media now. Therefore, A real scalable brand is one when people talk about the brand." He also identified the need for brand action to generate conversations and buzz in the online space. Tomorrow your TV and newspaper will also be social and digital, and Brands will always need to create buzz to generate interest."
Preetham Venkky spoke on the web as an important experiential medium. "People are experiencing brands and products online before physically testing them. Brands are pushing people to the digital space." He also raised the issue of measuring and determining ROI in Social Media. "The demographic on social media is still nascent, as its only 6 years old."
Ranjit Nair, Germinait Solutions identified how brands should perceive social media. "Brands should be listeners about their products in the social space for service, pre-sales, and addressing complaints. Only this can ensure participation from customers. During the discussion, Anurag Batra (Exchange4Media Group) also identified a key arena in the emerging social media platform. "Branded content will be more and more valuable. All social media is essentially about content delivery, and content-led business for this medium is a powerful opportunity."
Day 2 of PRestival saw an opening discussion by Atul Kasbekar (Bling Entertainment), Sidharth Singh (Glaxo Smithkline), R.D‘Souza on Reputation Management: Building Reputations for Brands, Companies and Celebrities, moderated by Valerie Pinto (Perfect Relations).
Atul Kasbekar delivered frank insights into world of celebrity image management. "Typically a celeb in India has to deal with 2 countries- the Hindi market and the south market .We bridge both markets for Bollywood celebrities." Sidharth Singh spoke on the value-add from reputation building : "The more reputation you have built up, the more price you can command. Consumers are willing to pay for brands."
In his Keynote address, Rahul Kanwal, Executive Editor, Headlines Today spoke on media, ethics and corruption. Talking on government regulation, censorship and editorial freedom, he stated: `News voyeurism needs to be clamped down on, via a mechanism of licensing." He also spoke out on the media as an agent of public accountability in recent media-led investigations. "There is a public accountability revolution in the country, due to the people due to flow of two-way information."
Meenakshi Menon, Spatial Access Solutions spoke on Measurement: Campaign, Impact, Assessment - Do We Have A Solution?. She spoke on the spoke on key aspects of branding, brand measurement, and establishing perceptions. "In PR, if you cant measure it, you cant manage it PR messages need to be crafted with the kind of painstaking detail thats seen in advertising. We need to raise the bar, build relationships rather than transactions."
Speaking at the event PRestival, Kunal Pal, Event Manager stated: “There is great need for more such events to bridge the gap between professionals and experts from the communications industry spectrum, and share learning and insight on a fun, interactive platform. PRestival also serves as an essential platform for fun, learning and networking for aspiring professionals and students.”
PRestival entertainment arrangements include performances by psychological illusionist Karan Singh, stand-up comedian Neeti Palta and DJ-duo ‘Toyz in Panic’ jamming with Rajasthani folk musicians.