0

When do you send press releases for an upcoming event and how often?

Answer by Deepika Gumaste:

There are two types of releases. Pre event and post event. You can send out two releases with respect to an event. However, it depends on the kind of event. To give you an example: My team  recently worked on two projects. A leading mobile handset maker had to launch a new product. As there was not much information that could go in the pre-event release (If information is put in pre-event release, there will be nothing to say at the launch event!), therefore, we issue a post event release detailing what happened at the launch event- What was launched, the new mobile handset, its features, was there a brand ambassador, etc

For another client event- The brief was to announce the launch of national talent hunt property. For this event, we had about three releases. One was pre-event- announcing that the client is launching a national talent hunt competition. In the release, we also shared the details of brand ambassadors, various partnerships, marketing tie-ups and the gratification rewards for the winners of this hunt.

As the event was a national event and was divided into different rounds- Quarter finals, semi-finals, city heats, etc, we had the chance to localize our press releases depending upon the rounds.

Once, we had the final round wrapped up, we issued a post-event release which shared the information on the final winners of the talent hunt and details like how they won it, what did they do,which city they represented. etc.

Having said this, it completely depends on the client needs and you have to work and set expectations accordingly.

My $0.02

Cheers
D

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1

The age old debate- Agency v/s Consultancy approach

The unfortunate part of being a public relations consultant is that it is very difficult to define. Most probably if you are in PR, your work is not going to show any tangible result, because PR is not short-term. It is a long-term game. Nevertheless, more than often you will end up with flak either from media or the client. PR in India, has always been a media function. The definition of PR (By experience) = Coverage in The Times of India or The Economic Times. 

This was not enough, therefore, the PR invited god’s wrath upon itself in the way of ‘social media.’ I work in a technology PR agency, along with a few stints in companies specializing in healthcare, Aviation, sports, education, etc.Most of the clients think SM= Facebook. Half of them, would even be unaware of a platform called Quora (Non-tech clients, I mean).

Yes please, check with any PR/digital consultant and everyone has the same story to tell. I am not blabbering! This is the reality. These are the responses clients give.

All of them want to be on the social media- because it’s the new thing. Because my competition is doing something on Facebook, I also need to be Facebook. My competition is on Twitter, I want to tweet! Believe me these are the kind of responses, I as a consultant receive, when we  present our digital offerings.

This to stop- needs a two way approach. First, the agencies need to stop projecting themselves as ‘agencies’ fighting for ‘retainers.’ Their needs to be more of a consulting approach- “We have dabbled with it and this is what our experience says. Therefore, we recommend this. However, agencies don’t do that. Unfortunate but true! 

Looking at the other side of the coin:

The CEOs and CMOs are equally clueless. As a CEO, isn’t it your duty to be clear on what your business goals and strategies are? I have had so many experiences, when I have gone for client briefings asking for client’s business goals. The clients responded everytime- “You tell me what  should I look at!”

It’s your business, your company! How can an outsider help you with what goals should you look at or what should you achieve?  

Any social media/PR goals can be achieved only when the agency and the CMO work in tandem. It’s a two-way street and both sides should be bearing the responsibility equally.

 Some thoughts to ponder, while you hire an agency:

  1. Did you give your agency a proper written brief?: A brief that would detail your vision, mission and business goals for the company. Please pardon me, but these are not just words. These will form the foundation of your PR/SM campaign.Therefore, ‘how much’ an agency can deliver depends on this very brief. Have you explained your agency, what exactly are you expecting out of PR/SM? Sales, reputation management, crisis management?
  2. BudgetsMost PR/Digital partners complain- that clients are not ready to shell out big money as they would do for their advertising campaigns. Ask yourself- have you ever faced such a situation. Are you willing to shell out that kind of money? True that PR/Digital is different from advertising in a way, that you don’t need to buy space in leading publications. But don’t forget that even a PR agency is a company. Even they need to take care of their employees. They need to ensure that their employees are not overworking. They need to equip their employees and train them. And these things, require budgets.
  3. Specific Outcomes of Engagement: I have so many clients being clueless about why are you engaging with the vendor! What do you expect out of the engagement and exercise? What are the expected deliverables?

Hiring a Digital/PR agency does not mean leaving an issue to a third-party for which you hired them. Offcourse, you hire them because they are experts and are  equipped to handle things in a better way, but the client too needs to be equally involved.

Only once this happens, will the PR/Digital/ Communications business in India will be able to achieve their true potential.

Remember, it’s a two-way street!

My $0.02

 

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Originally posted on: http://worldofstorieson.quora.com

2

Being a teacher in somebody else’s class

Well, hello! Do not go by the headline. Let me tell you, I am not a teacher and I did not teach. What I am about to tell you is that I recently had an opportunity to be a guest lecturer (for the lack of a better word. Oh come on, you know those types, who visit you  in your college days just once to share their experiences and then disappear for life.)

Anyways, the point being I went as a guest lecturer to none other than K.C. College Mumbai. The college where my tryst with  Mass Media actually began. Yes, I gave my first entrance test exam for BMM at KC. 🙂

So, the point being, it was a boring dull evening at work. When I spoke to Ashish {Ashish Arora, the man who hired me at Text100 😉 } asked me over g-chat, if I would want to come and join him for his PR lecture at KC College. At first, I was a bit alarmed. Then nervous and then scared to death. It had just been a while that I had stopped yawning my professor’s boring life-changing lectures, that I was now again asked to step in a class room. And this time, the joke was on me. I was going to talk to a bunch of 20-23 year old  kids, who would be looking at ceilings, putting nail-polish, BBMing friends “Kya paka rahai hai yeh”. LOL. Assuming, this is what we all did! 😉

But Ashish persisted. He said it will be a nice experience. Considering, that Ashish had asked me to come to his lecture before also, I thought, I better join him this time. And then he had also just uttered those words “Experience”. At this stage of my life, I am willing to experiment.I want to drink, eat, sleep, talk, walk and sleep experiences. I want to know everything, anything.

So, I hopped on Ashish’s scooty and wooop we went. Reached KC college just to find a class of less than 10 people. I was in a trance. This used to be attendance during our times too 😉

After stepping into the class, what happened next is a big mystery to me. I blabbered. I blabbered for close to 2 hours! Phew… and I spoke..

To put it in Ashish’s words, I spoke as I had lost it! (Mentally, off course!). I spoke about PR, press releases, about doing random shit, difficult and shitty clients, tough and sweet colleagues, howling, scowling and loving media, huge media lists which are the only dope in a PR consultant’s life, etc etc.

Woah! I had stepped in, thinking- “Just 3 years of experience I have in PR. What will I tell them, what will they learn?”

Well, I don’t know if those kids (Look, I am suddenly very old now ;)) learnt or not, but I did. I learnt about my own body language, my own diction, pronunciations, my own experiences, how I reacted at them, my challenges, how I overcame them, my  pressures, my wins and my loses.

In retrospection, I felt, probably I could have been doing something else. May be, if there was not a tough colleague, who gave me a tough time, I wouldn’t have understood what perfection is all about. If I wouldn’t have worked hard, when I was left alone to, may be I wouldn’t have been the easiest choice for Ashish to invite to give a gyan session to his students….

May be…. And that’s when I realized… Whatever happens, happens for good. So Adios Amigos. You never know which one will be your last. So, learn, teach and breathe, whenever you can!

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0

When do you send press releases for an upcoming event and how often?

Answer by Deepika Gumaste:

There are two types of releases. Pre event and post event. You can send out two releases with respect to an event. However, it depends on the kind of event. To give you an example: My team  recently worked on two projects. A leading mobile handset maker had to launch a new product. As there was not much information that could go in the pre-event release (If information is put in pre-event release, there will be nothing to say at the launch event!), therefore, we issue a post event release detailing what happened at the launch event- What was launched, the new mobile handset, its features, was there a brand ambassador, etc

For another client event- The brief was to announce the launch of national talent hunt property. For this event, we had about three releases. One was pre-event- announcing that the client is launching a national talent hunt competition. In the release, we also shared the details of brand ambassadors, various partnerships, marketing tie-ups and the gratification rewards for the winners of this hunt.

As the event was a national event and was divided into different rounds- Quarter finals, semi-finals, city heats, etc, we had the chance to localize our press releases depending upon the rounds.

Once, we had the final round wrapped up, we issued a post-event release which shared the information on the final winners of the talent hunt and details like how they won it, what did they do,which city they represented. etc.

Having said this, it completely depends on the client needs and you have to work and set expectations accordingly.

My $0.02

Cheers
D

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0

2012- The year, why I will remember

I know, this is comes in a bit late. But then again, I don’t do things as people do. Do I? 😉

2012 has been a very memorable year in the sense. The entire year so as to say- has given me memories. Most of them good memories!

A lot of changes, lot of experiences, lot of emotions, lots of experimentation. On my way to 2013- I also met a lot of new people. Well this post is not about people but experiences. And again, I never write of people, I only write of experiences and emotions beneath them.

I have a superstition. Whenever, I write of people and their names in my diary or on any paper, I end up losing them. So I don’t write about people. This year, I met people, whom I don’t want to lose any time soon. Well, again some people will fade away into the waters of the time. However, I will stick to my usual ritual and tell you about my experiences.

  1. Year begins with a joy and a loss: The year began with a loss of loved one and the joy for my best friend as she figured out she’s getting married. I threw a not-so surprise bridal shower for my bestie- Krutika Bhaskaran. The theme was fairy-tale. And we were dressed as princess, queen, king, Prince, pirate, witch, etc.

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As the proverbial sequence took a toll on me, I realized that indeed we realize the importance of a person, only once they are gone forever. April 01, 2012- I lost my aunt. What seemed as a pathetic April fool’s joke, slowly seeped into me as the realization dawned- She’s has gone. Yes, I will never ever meet again. I always thought, she wasn’t so close to me. But I cried. I cried a lot that day. She was my dad’s real sister. I saw he did not cry, so may be I wept. But I could see the pain in dad’s eyes. The universe works in a strange way indeed. I can’t explain the emotions.

_____sorrow_longing_tears______by_Westia

2. Desi girl looks eastward– Yes! It was my parents’s 25th marriage anniversary. I had all big things planned for them. Mostly a surprise party. However, since the news of my aunt’s sudden death broke out just 18 days before, nothing much could be done. However, my parents gave us- my brother and me- we looked eastward- Yes! It was my first chance to taste the foreign waters. Horray! Hurray! :D.  We went to Singapore-Malaysia – Thailand. Hell of a journey! I did things, which otherwise I would have never done. Yeah, apart from losing my expensive sunglasses, losing a few bags here and there and most importantly losing my photographs 😦  {Yes, these are the given} I did things, which I would never imagine.

I saw great buildings, great people, different cities- Singapore, Kuala Lampur, Bangkok and Pattaya (It’s pronounced as pa tti yaa). I learnt a few words of Malay. Susu means milk. And in India it means- Urine. Yikes

Better infrastructure, clean roads, huge transport facilities, designer buildings, fresh air, cultural differences, Thai food (Yucks- the smell was yikes. I am a pure vegetarian-by choice off course)

I saw the Sea-lion at Singapore, Genting Highlands (I took those scary rides), I saw KL Towers in Malayasia, I did para-sailing and sea-walking on the waters of Thailand. So much, so fun!

So what did I see and learn?? Let these pictures tell you these:

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3. My best friend’s wedding: Yeah man, after the trip, it was time for my best friend’s wedding day.

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There are so many things that happened. I went to Hampi, about which I told you earlier. I was promoted as a Senior Account Executive at Text100 and as I said I met a few people- who I better not name 😛

So much for the year- I have included in this post, the incidents which were a major turn in my life. Not to forget, there are many others which stand to change my life forever.

This year, therefore, would defintiely be the biggest and most loved year.

Cheers to 2012.

And waiting in anticipation of things to come in 2013.

Signing off

Deepika (@Miss_nautanki)

0

Why is AR before PR only in the dictionary?

Answer by Deepika Gumaste:

I have no clue where this question comes from. I work at a global technology communications firm- Text100 and we manage AR as well as PR for our clients. Off course, the major consideration, is also sometimes, the client requirements and restraints like budget. I have two points to share:

We need to understand that the agency itself is a business. Therefore, when we think of AR a whole lot of considerations go into thought- Do we have the budgets, do we have the resources (mind it, AR requires a lot of concentrated efforts) and off course how it will help my clients.

In case, the answers to all these questions are in affirmation, then offcourse, we go ahead with AR.

I can’t really comment about other markets, however having worked in India, I can assure you that for many clients- AR forms an integral part of the communications plan. We therefore, arrange many interactions and create opportunities wherein the client can interact with the analysts. Once, the initial contact is established, I have had so many analysts connecting with me for my client inputs on some industry reports that they might produce.

Also, analysts are very important as they produce forecasts,  that could be used to be shared with the media (taking care of media relations.)

Also, participating in these reports help us highlight the ‘thought-leadership’ position in the market. So yes, AR is definitely considered an important part of the 360 communique plan.

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0

Is it best to hire a PR agency early after launch or wait until the service is more established?

Answer by Deepika Gumaste:

Great question. I will try and answer this question to my best abilities. Having worked in the business of communications for almost 3 years now, most of the clients, brands and agencies alike have a mistaken view of PR. PR is one of the marketing functions and none of the marketing activities can function in silos.

In your case, since your company is a star-up, huge budgets is out of question and therefore let us keep mass-advertising (One of the marketing/communication/promotion function out of the business.) Then what are the options you are left with?

Public Relations and off course digital communications. Use them in collaboration and see them producing results for your brands. As a start-up, you can't expect to grab a headline in mainstream media. Business newspapers, for eg: ask for revenues, investments, finances, funding, etc, which a start-up perhaps can't talk about.

Therefore, it is best recommended that you work in tandem with your agency to tap in what we call as the 'trade media' and online media. Online media is usually open to carry up news related to start-ups. Mostly, they carry all the news as they don't face 'space' issues as their print counter-parts would.

In such scenarios, you must exploit online media to the hilt. In India, we also have many start-up based portals which caters to entrepreneurs and so on. Also, I am assuming FRM means Financial Risk management? Then there would be a couple of financial media- not business newspapers but magazines and websites which talk about the same. Reach out to them.

Once you have your first few success, establish presence on requisite social media channels and connect with the right TG. Again, don't consider any tool in silos. All of these are pieces of a big puzzle called 'Marketing.'

When used in right proportion and at the right times, you will be able to get results. And yes, be patient. Don't expect your PR machinery to give you results in a day, month, 6 months or even in the first year. It's an investment that builds-up and gives you a result over a period of time.

Hope this helps.

My $0.02

Cheers
D

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