Public Relations

When the COVID-19 pandemic situation began and the whole world went into lockdown, the taxi and food delivery services company, Uber, released a video on YouTube called “Thank You for Not Riding” that was part of the campaign #MoveWhatMatters. The campaign was an effort by the company of thanking its customers for reducing travel and maintaining social distancing. They compensated Uber drivers around the world who were not able to work for many months and provided free rides and food deliveries to front-line healthcare workers and citizens. This was Uber upholding the responsibility it has in such a challenging situation. In the last two years, a lot of interesting public relations campaigns have been taken up by companies and organizations across the world.

Public Relations or PR refer to the process of communication between an organization, company, or individual, and the public. It is the art and science of talking to the right audience in the right way. Public relations can influence and shape a company’s image, reputation and brand perception. A PR specialist or PR Officer is responsible for maintaining the image of the company they work for. To ensure the company’s good image, they can formulate communication plans and use media and other direct and indirect mediums.

The primary aim of PR is to maintain a good relationship with the public, their target audience, investors, employees and stakeholders which would help the company get a positive reputation, encouraging people to believe the company is honest and relevant.

If PR is related to maintaining a company’s relevance within the public, how is it really different from advertising? Here is the difference. Advertising is paid promotion while PR is earned. Companies pay newspapers, television channels and other media to display their Ads but PR promotes a brand using editorial content appearing in various media. Audiences usually look at Ads skeptically while PR promotions help in building trust in the audience because it has a third-party validation by the medium in which it is promoted. They are also cheaper compared to advertising and marketing services in the industry.

PR is influential in building brand reputation. A good PR agency can help a company improve its credibility and reputation. They make sure the company is getting proper attention and positive feedback for all of their projects, works and news updates. PR also has a very important role to play in crisis management or situations in which the image of a company may be in danger, which may be due to some miscommunication. It is the PR team’s responsibility to communicate with their target audience and public and clear the possible misconceptions. They have to work to get rid of the negative publicity the company may have received.

Here are two more examples of great PR campaigns in India:

#TouchOfCare by Vicks:

Companies often try to bring attention to compelling public issues with their campaign. In 2017, Vicks released a heartwarming video as part of its campaign #TouchOfCare. The video showed how Gauri, a transgender woman, raised an orphan girl, Gayatri, with all the love and care in the world, even when she faced struggles in society. Vicks believes that everyone deserves to be cared for and receive the touch of care. With this video, they showed how everybody needs someone to care and love them, whether they are connected by blood or not. The video got lots of positive feedback, generating about 4 million views in the first 48 hours in which it was released.

#ItsJustAPeriod by Stayfree

Stayfree launched the campaign #ItsJustAPeriod in 2020 to encourage period-related conversations and remove the stigma associated with it in Indian families, particularly as India went into lockdown and schools closed. A video was released on YouTube with many actors and influencers coming forward in support of the movement. With the majority of the Indian population at home, this campaign was able to get a huge social media outreach, with 10.17 million engagements collectively on Facebook, YouTube and Instagram.