New Media- Friend or Foe (India-specific)



I attended the E4M Corp Comm Summit in Delhi last week, and here are notes from the conference for my future reference and for those interested in reading on the topic.

In a panel discussion on holistic communication and PR, one member commented that the guys who worked for TV or radio marketing 3 months back, are now diehard patrons of social media (SM) as against traditional media just because they changed jobs. His point was that the new media is still in an evolving state and to take the trends as final will be a mistake. Discussion primarily centred around if the new media business is going to social media firms instead of mainstream PR firms.

Another speaker termed Quit India movement of Mahatma Gandhi, a classic example of holistic communication. Where the value system was Swaraj (self-rule), and the principle was engagement with all stakeholders.

The second panelist highlighted the point that we need to get public back into public relations, and how Advertising is we talking about ourselves. PR is public talking about us. She pointed out how PR can create message and positioning which is relevant. PR is more close to social media because conversations, the sine qua non of social media, are natural for PR professionals. PR DNA is attuned to SM.
Content is first and foremost- was the consensus view of all panel members. There may be need of someone like a chief integration officer for integrating messages. Heart of communication is a good idea. And Corporates should not tweet for the sake of tweeting but for engaging. A CEO was hesitant in entering the social media. Then he joined twitter all of a sudden. 1000 complaints came as tweet. He had to back off. Agency had to undo the damage. So that is not the way to go. Thus SM is a dangerous media for clients as it is transparent and there are dynamic changes. The age group of users drops. Response has to be immediate.
A PR agency owner remarked that it is wrong to say that social media is useful if your TG is 15-25 years. Linkedin has been used for thought leadership and CSR by corporates, and that has no linkage with any age group.

An interesting point of view that came out was that just as the way ad agencies wanted to do PR 10 years back, but failed. So will PR agencies, now that they are trying to enter social media. It makes a full cycle.

PR agencies need to package and market themselves better and they need to win awards. To prove their worth.

Ethics and SM also came up. Case of Black PR in China was quoted as an example, where agencies offered to make fake pages and posts and monitor them.

A panelist quipped that no. of likes and shares, say on Facebook page, is like no. of people in a political rally. Just like all people are not converted to votes, all likes shares will not lead to purchases.

There is no delete button in SM.

SM can not be used as a standalone media.

Idea gets the budget.

No PR company can work without SM, because media of any kind is part of their job.

Digital means heavy investments.

Companies need to sensitise internal stakeholders about the importance of SM.

If employees have to use FB, they need to be conditioned.

Old CXOs think SM is for kids.

Elements of government and democracy are

1-Electoral voting
2-Opinion polls
3-Referendum etc.

How SM can be used for democracy

Advocacy & agitation
Conventional voting

Examples are Egyptian revolution, Delhi gang rape casce, Anna Hazare movement, Blackberry riots in London (BBM), Vajpayee’s personal phone calls, Delhi traffic police FB page, Nirbhaya, cartoonist arrest.

There is social democracy and there is corporate democracy.

In future, emphasis will be on lack of privacy.

Media linked to SM linked to democracy

Brands alignment with social issues
Tata tea- Jaago re campaign

Vodaphone-Women empowerment

With SM, there is a transition from a neutral to a participative democracy.

Raj dharma in olden times is today’s public policy.

FDI Policy on retail was where PR might have played a role, in assessing signals of public pressure.

Three elements of public policy
3-media (in daylight hours) because one day or the other it will come out

Difference between healthy and unhealthy lobbying

Bags of money is now trucks of money.

CSR should be secret like gupt-daan. Can be interpreted as under the table gupt-daan.

Calling people on weekends and curfew hours (say after 12 night) is a strict no-no, in India same people don’t bother.

There is a group media list on FB.

PR is custodian of conversation, which have to be interactive and inclusive.

PR is story telling.

Ad and media agencies are in touch with CMO who has budgets.

PR agencies are in touch with CEO.

Corporate reputation or selling product, which is more important.

Cadbury crisis, Ford crisis.

SM humanizes the company.

It does help in creating awareness and buzz.

Sales generation lead is top of funnel not bottom of funnel.

Ford Ecosports has changed the rules of marketing. Extended pre launch promotions. Can be called BTL or SM. Cross-pollinating discussions. Buy-in from people.

Ford Figo was launched online first.

SM-What is in it for PR.

SM is must for PR to stay relevant. Internet is predominant tool for information, so influence.

SM is must for Revenue/budget.

Out of 5-6 verticals in a co. using SM, like Legal, customer service, technical support, HR or PR, PR is most suited to own the SM.

SM can be measured in real time

Deep customer insights in shorter cycles.

More interactive

Cost effective.

SM critical for biz growth.

Emerging PR trends are

Story telling, visual communication and proactive monitoring

Quants are SM analysis providers.

M&M parking space tweet went viral.

SM helps measure perception and not milestones.

PR also helps in pulling out or killing a message that can not be measured. Or toning down a story.

Funnel matrix of SM measurement

Ripple effect
Process flow
Data extraction (proprietory tools)
Spam filtering
Data validation
Buzz tracker
(theme, reach analysis)
Influencer mapping
Network mapping
Trends thrown up

Anand Mahindra is 4th most followed global CEO of the world.

SM should not work on campaign thought but sustained thought


How to videos

Book digital age by Eric Schimdt and Cohen

Fair & Lovely example by Irfaan Khan

Tata Nano catching fire





3 responses »

  1. Hey! these notes sound really interesting… could you guide me to the official website of this Summit or any other resource with details? Would also like to figure out if they are having another summit in Mumbai sometime…

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