-By Swati Bhattacharya
Sulekha have been on my case to submit like a million articles for the
Corporate Reputation section of Potpourri!! The words have been bubbling around
in my head, and my fingers tingling to write but, alas where's the time.
Today, I put
it on my calendar, refused to accept meetings or calls, and sat down
determinedly waiting for my fingers to fly over the keyboard, with all the
thoughts that I've been thinking. I waited, and waited and waited, and guess
what' Nada, zilch, nothing would come to my mind.
So I thought
I'd start the first one telling you a little about my role. What would a
typical Corporate Relations team take care of And hold your breath, (or actually
don't) here I go. My role encompasses all of Industry relations, media
relations, Government relations, Internal communications, customer events,
corporate marketing, advertising, corporate social responsibility and any other
and all branding related activities. Yes, that is a lot! And just as stressful
as it sounds.
A role like this
has actually been my dream role forever. Usually, in most organizations, they
would have different people or teams to take care of internal communications,
PR, 'advertising, and sometimes even a
different team for CSR. I would think all this should roll under one person for
the sake of consistency and the fact that all those activities complement each
worked with an Agency for a pretty long time, and I would find it so amusing,
that among my clients, each of these teams would try so hard to outdo each
other. Except ofcourse the advertising/marketing guys! They were the God's with
their huge multi-million dollar budgets that everyone else had to tip toe
around. They lorded it over the rest, while 'the rest' were always fighting to
be heard above each other. I always wondered why they didn't all just become
part of one large team, so they would see the same vision, buy in to the same
strategy and work together, instead of each trying to prove a point. The big
picture is important, and has to be the same jigsaw puzzle that each of them
were trying to fit into solve.
its also different businesses of a diverse organization that run into similar
issues. Each business does their own thing, and again end up losing, sight of the big picture. What's the
corporate ethos, the culture, the values. How can people be passionate towards
it, if you're tweaking it to suit your need as and when you feel like it.
also a question of ethics. I met with a senior director of the World Economic
Forum recently, and he told me about this anti-corruption cell that they have.
He said only 5 organisations in India had signed up for it, because they could
not commit to the fact that they're organizations were completely non-corrupt!
And mind it, these are large organizations! Well, you could feed a million
economically disadvantaged children, build a zillion schools, train the
differently abled or whatever else you want to do, but if everyone of your
employees and leaders are not able to say with confidence that you are an
ethical organization, then you will never be able to build a credible, socially
responsible brand for yourself. Everything after all is not just about the
outward sheen. Some things like ethics and values transcend everything. If
organizations don't get that right, you can advertise and threaten your PR team
to get you coverage, but one day it will all fall all around you. Branding is
important, but some things are non-negotiable. They have to be inside out.