GM-Corporate Communications at INOX Leisure Ltd
How important is it for PR people to understand a company’s business and marketplace?
I believe having a complete understanding of the business is the most important aspect for any PR person. I believe the PR person's line of sight of the business should be same as the line of sight of the CEO. As a PR person, it is extremely important that 1) you know the business processes and business models 2) you know what are the responsibilities of every function/department in the organization. The more you learn and know about the organization, the business and the sector, the stronger will be your abilities to innovate, identify story telling opportunities and defend your company's reputation in times of crises.
How do you deal with negative press?
Dealing with negative press is the most challenging, but also the most interesting part of the PR person's professional responsibility. What to do before the news appears - Have a complete understanding of the situation which is creating negativity - Investigate the reason of the situation and have your facts ready - Understand the implication the negative press would have on the business - Prepare a media statement which should talk about the reason behind the situation and what is the company doing to overcome it. Never forget to include the consumer's perspective in your statement - Do not reach out to the press proactively - React only when press reaches out to you - Understand the press query properly and buy time - Share a statement which should also be used across all your customer-facing touch points incl call centers, retail outlets, employees etc When the news is being written - Understand how big is the story in the mind of the journalist - Ensure that your company's perspective is included in the story - Try and spin it into an industry matter, if possible - Sound apologetic and not authoritative - Try and convince the journalist to drop your company/brand's name from the headline Once the news is published - Take corrective action and inform the publication and customers - Take corrective action internally and ensure that the same is not repeated