Public Relations is the art and science of building and managing reputation of a brand or organisation or individual through planned communication to various stakeholders that can be measured
Any adult with loads of common sense, a flair for storytelling and a passion for excelling can be in Public Relations. People in PR come from various streams including medicine, law, technology, marketing, literature etc. Typically, those graduates or post-graduates who have specialised in media, mass communication opt for a career in Public Relations
Jobs in Public Relations are of two types – In-house in the communications or PR department of a corporate or social organisation or in a consulting firm. A PR firm is similar to a law firm but has the vibe of an advertising company. Salaries start at Rs 3 lakh per annum and every five years close to triple for best-in-class professionals. PR professionals end up as Communications Directors and CEOs at PR firms by the time they are in the 15th to 20th year in the profession.
Public Relations firms act on behalf of their clients. A client brand is called an account and four layers of professionals work. Entry level professionals are called associates or executives. Mid-level professionals are called managers or supervisors. Senior level professionals are called directors and then the hierarchy narrows into various avatars of Vice Presidents. An entry level professional is expected to monitor media – mainstream and social using various tools. This also includes voraciously reading the daily newspapers for news on the client, the competition and the industry at large. The news is tracked and shared with the client. This is followed by connecting with and interacting with various stakeholders including the media. Another crucial task is creating content which could range from speeches, press releases, white papers, social media posts among others. Dealing with potential and existing crises and planning events is also part of the job.
A job in corporate communications is like that in a PR firm in some ways. However, there are areas which are generally managed in-house. These include corporate social responsibility and employee engagement. In a PR firm, there is scope to work on multiple clients across diverse areas. In a corporate communications set-up, one has to work for the business that the company is into. Corporate communications is a good option after having worked three to five years in a PR firm.
Amith Prabhu, Dean, School of Communications & Reputation
Amith is a native reputation management professional with over twelve years of experience having worked both in leading consultancies and in-house. He holds a Masters in Communications Management. He is the co-founder of PRAXIS, world’s largest PR Summit. Amith was chosen as the Indian PR Professional of the Year in 2014. He writes India’s longest running weekly column on Public Relations.