Tagged as one of the fastest growing industries, PR and Corporate Communications is definitely an option for creative and strategic minds
Over the past decade, the public relations and corporate communication sectors have developed and expanded significantly, and are today a highly viable career option.
Though both primarily seek to foster healthy relations via effective communication, they are not the same and slightly differ in their methods of approaching the different audiences.
Bird's eye view
Public relations is essentially focused on developing relations with media people to efficiently communicate information to the public about an organisation's image, policies, services, etc. Corporate communication, on the other hand, seeks to facilitate communication within the organisation and among its stakeholders.
In smaller organisations, it is common to have the PR and corporate communications functions combined and performed by a single body. However, in bigger companies, it is likely that there is a separate corporate communications department.
Another aspect which can be commonly observed is that corporate communications is usually an internal department of the company whereas there are PR agencies that solely provide public relations service.
Vinod, a PR professional, was studying B.Sc. Visual Communication a few years ago, when he heard about the PR industry from his seniors in college. Being creatively inclined and with an immense interest in advertising, he decided to secure employment in the public relations sector.
While it is true that back then there were more or less no specialised courses, nowadays one has the option of gaining in-depth knowledge with courses like M.A. Public Relations increasingly gaining popularity. However, one can still enter the PR or corporate communications industry without acquiring specific educational qualification in that field.
The present, and beyond
An important factor regarding this industry is that it is constantly in the midst of change, evolving continually, making incessant efforts to reach out more effectively to its audience.
One needs to get acclimatised to changing patterns of thought process, and learn to observe, imbibe, adapt and over course of time, modify. As a Senior Account Executive says, “Initially, it was just about advertising. Now, it extends far beyond”.
Another aspect to be borne in mind is that clients may often insist on strict adherence to the marketing budget and reduction of the advertising costs. It is not an easy task ensuring that the client is always in the public eye, especially when one has to work under financial constraints.
So what does it take to make a mark in these fields?
There is no clear cut formula as the industry is one that continually evolves and changes rapidly with time. However, as Vinod says, “It is ultimately all about strategising and yielding a positive image for your clients. You need to have a thirst to know what is happening in the media, and be able to conceptualise and replicate it as required”.
Much of what is learnt in college, even in a Journalism or Mass Communication graduation course, would barely cover a small portion of the vast ambit of the industry. One needs to take the initiative to learn and expand one's horizons, develop fresh perspectives, interact and be at ease with other people, make contacts both within and outside the industry, and develop excellent communication skills.
Above all, as a professional in the industry said, you need to have a passion and love for the work you do. Every day is a new experience, make the most of it.
M.O.P. Vaishnav College for Women: M.A. PR
Stella Maris College: M.A. PR
Bhavan's Rajaji College Of Communication & Management: One-year Postgraduate Diploma course in Public Relations.
Annamalai University, Directorate of Distance Education: PG Diploma in Public Relations and Advertising (Correspondence).
Public Relations Society Of India (Chennai Chapter) in Collaboration with National Institute for Management Studies: One-year Postal Diploma Course in Public Relations.
Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan (Mumbai, Calcutta, Delhi, Chennai, Hyderabad, Bangalore).
Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC), JNU campus, New Delhi.
St. Xavier's College of Communications, Mumbai
Sophia Polytechnic, Mumbai
KC College of Management, Mumbai
Ruth is a III Year student at The West Bengal National University Of Juidical Sciences, Kolkata. Chandini is a II Year B.A. Journalism student at M.O.P. Vaishnav College For Women