HAS PAKISTAN’S PUBLIC RELATION INDUSTRY STOPPED EXPERIMENTING ?

HAS PAKISTAN’S PUBLIC RELATION INDUSTRY STOPPED EXPERIMENTING ?

Disclaimer: All the PR agencies are doing great work and its working for their clients but the objective of writing this blog is to enlighten everyone about how much more scope we have.

You might have come across Instagram stories every now and then where your favorite bloggers and influencers unbox various brands’ PR packages. If you haven’t been living under a rock, you know exactly what we’re talking about. One sees most of the products’ multimedia presence before it makes it to the general populace. Ever wondered if these PR packages have more motives than just appearing on your phone’s screen? Sit tight while we walk you through this million dollar industry.

Meet the gatekeepers of the corporate landscape of Pakistan. The image consultants and public relations personnel who are the minds behind ad campaigns, billboards, product launches and much more. From designing the perfect PR box to carefully or blindly picking the influencers to promote their brands. (We’re looking at you Lawn Brands!)  These professionals work 24/7 behind the scenes to ensure that a brand’s image reaches it’s full potential. The question is whether this ‘full potential ‘ is ever achieved or not? It has been often observed that every brand follows a set pattern depending on their budget.

  •  Product introduction through giveaways.
  •  Ample social media presence.
  •  Creating the “word of mouth” effect.
  • A product launch event with an influencer laden guest list.

As long as those pictures hit the “fashion magazines,” you’re good to go! According to Latitude CEO, Omar Jamil, that’s not enough. “Unfortunately, for most brands in Pakistan understanding of the various tools available to PR professionals is woefully lacking… For PR to achieve its potential, it is essential that brands and companies stop seeing it as a cheaper alternative to advertising.” This reliance on media relations as the pinnacle of public relations is the reason why such events-led PR initiatives often overhype the product. Brands bombard social media to create a viral effect through a few influencers. These influencers market themselves to portray an image of class and social status and hence are deemed top tier by our local PR agencies. This hinders the brands from recognizing their actual target market. This may seem harmless for the brands’ revenues but cause an adverse effect on the longevity of their product’s popularity.  One can infer that there is no effort behind image building. This lack of individuality is the reason why it’s become hard to differentiate popular brands.

Before you categorize us as another Pakistan bashing lot, let’s look at global PR concepts.

PR in the States and the UK go beyond visual concepts. Brands believe in a joint effort between the marketing and PR teams, hence, you see them taking far more innovative approaches. These brands  try to engage the customers as much as possible while striking an emotional and socially responsible chord. Socially responsible, you ask? Scroll down to see for yourself.

  • No brand has had a bigger impact on beauty in the last couple of years than Fenty. The company – which is owned by Rihanna – launched in 2017 with a 100% digital campaign, effectively tapped its potential market. Built on a ‘beauty for all’ concept, Fenty launched its foundation in 40 different shades, thereby setting the tone for its inclusive, body positive, and diverse marketing.
  • Gillette #BeAMan campaign took the media by storm with its take on toxic masculinity.
  • Coca Cola “Small World” vending machines which was a daring step to bring Pakistan and India together back in 2013. Not only did this help build a greater brand image, it also became a great hit at Cannes Festival that year.  Multinational giants are aware that they play a role in influencing culture. Their ethos revolve around the responsibility to make sure they are promoting positive, attainable, inclusive and healthy versions of what it means to be a valuable asset to the society. It goes without saying that these brands’ PR strategies go beyond the creation of content to satisfy the ‘selfie generation’. These PR agencies encourage companies to step out of the old marketing parameters and do good for the world, whether that’s gender equality, racial equality, environmental sustainability and other globally revolutionizing topics.

In west simple practice of  public relation is replaced by Public Relations Activation which is the deployment of one-of-kind, attention-getting marketing installation and stunt ideas.

These PR activation stunts or events can occur at events or on the streets of metropolitan cities across the world. A Public Relations Activation range from interactive installations to edgy outdoor guerrilla marketing tactics. The approach is defined by leveraging it to generate original, compelling content for social media and public relations purposes.

A Public Relations Activation can be activated guerrilla-style without city permission or with permits depending on the concept, location, date and a variety of other elements such as influencer / celebrity integration and event structures (e.g. tents, stages, lighting, etc.)

Whether an on-the-street marketing, inside an event or staged event the best Public Relations Activation ideas are original, entertain, inform and engage the public.

Coming back to our old and tested PR practice in Pakistan, Multinational giants like Procter and Gamble and Coca Cola have shown through their various campaigns that brands like them play a role in influencing culture. Their ethos revolve around the responsibility to make sure they are promoting positive, attainable, inclusive and healthy versions of what it means to be a valuable asset to the society. It goes without saying that these brands’PR strategies go beyond the creation of content to satisfy the ‘selfie generation’. These PR agencies encourage companies and brands to have a point of view and express it. Besides serving the consumers, they go beyond to do good for the world, whether that’s gender equality, racial equality, environmental sustainability and other globally revolutionizing topics.  One can always justify this stark difference by considering the contrast between the companies’ audience. A developing economy with its baby domestic companies try to follow the path that always works in order to survive. Maybe these companies will catch up with the rest of the world once their priorities move past growth and stability.

Maybe the reason why our public relation industry is so regressive is that PR agencies are happy with the way it’s going. They are getting good money, brands completely and blindly trust them and as a result the PR companies don’t experiment or bring something NEW, CREATIVE AND GROUND BREAKING! The PR Company just does what oxford dictionary suggests “the state of the relationship between an organization and the public”. That’s it!  We really hope that our PR agencies push the envelope. And do something completely extra ordinary. Giveaways and launches are such a passé !

 

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