Telecom companies operating in Pakistan employs notable resources in Public relations or external communication departments. Along with internal PR departments, majority of telecom companies also enjoy the assistance of PR agencies to manage plentiful of their work.
Due to the size of business that telecom companies do and that coupled with the amount of customers they manage, public relation dept in this specific sector bears huge responsibility and significant amount of work.
PR people are not only responsible for doing press releases, seminars, interviews or building relationships with key media personals, instead they are known as most informative persons in a certain corporations in terms of understanding the attitudes and concerns of consumers, employees, public interest groups, investors and the community.
This is what generally happens in corporations, however, not the case if we talk about Pakistani scenario.
Majority of companies in Pakistan do not involve PR people while planning or designing a product, policy or any strategy. Instead PR people are considered to release the information to end customer and media in the last minute, when everything is ready to be executed. Usually that’s what PR is meant in local industry.
Instead, as mentioned above, Public Relation people, either internal or external, are the ones who interact not only with-in the organization but outsiders as well, so they happen to be the most informed resource in any organization. This attribute makes PR people as best positioned to judge the direction, qualities and features of products, policies and behavior of any situation, individuals or organizations.
It is universal truth that without PR’s consultation organization cannot achieve its desired results.
PR people also bear the brunt during any crisis, product failure or under any undesired or unwanted situation. That’s understandable, due to the role and size of responsibility PR people bear, however, if they were not asked for any consultation or role during product or policy making, it becomes extremely unfair to blame PR department when anything goes wrong.
We have seen couple of examples already in local industry when PR people were blamed for any such mishap, while it is evident that they can’t do any good to a situation which is sudden to them and not in their hands at all.
It must be kept in mind that in today’s era major brands are born with publicity, not only with advertising. Many of us may not agree with this statement, however, a closer look at the history may reveal that most successful modern brands in the world were built with virtually no advertising, for instance, Starbucks, the Body Shop, Wal-Mart, Red Bull and Zara.
Here comes another discussion, common person and the news media in Pakistan and its behavior is different than the rest of the world. I agree, however, I would argue that we have seen huge marketing campaigns being unsuccessful here in Pakistan too, making it clear that without PR it is almost impossible to take a brand to the next level.
Here I would count following reasons why PR is so crucial,
- Advertising lacks credibility, the crucial ingredient in brand building, and this is where PR can supply that missing juice.
- Advertising can’t absorb the sudden shocks if anything goes wrong with the product, instead, at times, advertising can be of negative impact for a product with some exposed flaws.
- Advertising should only be used to maintain brands once they have been established through publicity.
Conclusively, I would say that telecom companies in specific while all other businesses in general should incorporate public relation departments while planning or building something, and they should not be used only for drafting press releases or to counter negative stories when it’s too late for them.