Being an ‘Atmanirbhar’ or ‘self-reliant’ doesn’t only apply to individuals, it is for business entities as well. Among other aspects such as financial management, operations management, adaption to newer technologies and innovations, organisations can take the help of suitable PR and communication tools to stand tall.
The COVID pandemic has been a major disruptor to both life and economy, forcing us to transform our ways of working and living. Most businesses are forced to face a severe crisis, like loss of business, reduced cash flow, having to terminate employees, or working at reduced functionality. Under such circumstances, many brands, especially those in the SME and MSME sectors, are struggling to comprehend the effects of the slowdown. They are coping with the innumerable challenge around faster adoption of technology, managing productivity of a workforce that is working from home, and delays in closing new businesses, including international collaborations, all of which leads stunted growth opportunities.
Under such circumstances, the various relief packages and tax exemptions announced by the government are a big relief but to stay afloat and survive, brands have to really look at their marketing strategies. With ‘Atmanirbhar’ being the tone of the country, becoming self-reliant needs to become a way of life, where consumers are more aware of the origin of a product before they are making a purchase. And this is a message that needs to be conveyed effectively by brands. Rather than solely being dependent on advertising campaigns, this form of re-education needs a consistent and impactful Public Relations & communication campaign which can deliver the right message to the right audience in the way brands want to.
Here are 5 ways why PR is the need of the hour for most brands to become Atmanirbhar or self-reliant.
Build A Narrative:
In line with the ‘Atmanirbhar’ narrative, brand communications now needs to be more relevant and aligned with the overall sentiment of the country. The post COVID era is a crucial time to re-build a brands position through impactful a narrative. One can no longer just be a manufacturer which aims to generate employment and earn revenue. A more relevant and holistic approach to businesses is needed to generate brand credibility and support. There needs to be a valuable addition both in the micro and macro level through supporting local businesses, adopting sustainable practices, creating employment and taking conscious business decisions that help create a self-reliant business ecosystem. And strategic PR outreach can help build this narrative and create a positive brand image.
Just like the pandemic has transformed the personal lives of people, businesses too will need to transform in order to survive. Collaboration instead of competition is going to be the new world order in markets and thus healthy and effective partnerships will pave way for a stronger, self-reliant, and fast recovering economy. In order to secure such partnerships, clear positioning and the narrative is crucial so as to reach out to the right kind of partners. Having said this, effective brand image and recall also goes a long way in winning out on competition and creating a loyal consumer base, that can, in turn, help get better vendors, reasonable pricing or credits, and other benefits, that are going to be vital in keeping afloat in the market.
Building Internal Communication:
PR is a vital tool for impacting and shaping the brand perception of internal stakeholders as well. While the external stakeholders have always been extremely important, the pandemic has forced people to work from home, making brands realize the significant role that employee engagement. From giving clarity about the business, keeping them motivated and inspired, and ensuring productivity while working remotely to informing employees on where they stand in terms of remuneration and growth, internal communication has a gamut of significant roles that can be beneficial to both the businesses and the employees.
Building trust and credibility are paramount for any brand to drive sales and sustain long term growth. PR can help brands to build credibility among stakeholders, compared to advertising or other marketing channels and tools. Through relevant and effective narratives across various industry-related news stories, opinion articles, and participation in industry events, brands can leverage PR to create multi-platform engagement.
Create a strong brand reputation:
Effectively leveraging PR during this crisis helps create brand reliability among customers and also internal stakeholders, like employees, vendors, partners etc. Positive and solution-oriented communication helps position the brand and its spokesperson as a strong leader who is in control of the situation and can offer timely alternatives and solutions to challenges. A well-crafted PR campaign can help leverage this to create thought leadership for the brand while enhancing brand credibility and loyalty.
The vision to become Atmanirbhar is well within our reach provided brands utilise their resources well and create a holistic communication plan that lets them connect with their consumers and stakeholders.
The author, Anindita Gupta, is Co-Founder at Scenic Communication. Views are her personal.