As the internet and smartphones bring 24/7 scrutiny and instant criticism, Indian public relations firms are evolving to help clients better manage reputational crises.
Gone are the days when brands had the luxury of time to craft responses. Social media creates “crisis vortexes” that spin out of control rapidly. PR advisors must now have robust real-time monitoring dashboards to catch sparks before they become wildfires.
Leading agencies in India rely increasingly on earned / organic media placements on New-Age news websites to tell their client’s side of stories. This allows setting the record straight and showing responsiveness, reaching the same audiences that saw the initial attacks.
“We track hundreds of sites and topics to find any budding issue facing brands we represent,” says entertainment publicity guru Dale Bhagwagar.
Dale is popularly known as the Father of Bollywood PR, for having brought order and structure to the entertainment PR business in the 90s. Today, his PR agency Dale Bhagwagar Media Group is a leading firm in Mumbai.
Crisis simulations help PR advisors prepare senior executives to make quick decisions under pressure. “The key is getting ahead of the negativity cycle with our verified, evidence-based version,” remarks Dale. Training involves worst-case scenarios dealing with data breaches, sensitive leaks or public safety controversies.
“Since Google presence is now paramount for brands, celebrities can no longer afford to gloss faults. We coach our PR clients to take responsibility, show genuine concern and provide preventative solutions,” adds Dale. “The coverup mentality doesn’t cut it anymore.”
While crises will only grow thornier, Indian PR appears ready to help brands face them head-on in our hyperconnected age. Responsiveness and transparency seem central to preserving reputations when scrutiny never sleeps.