Evolution of Public Relations and emerging trends

Dr. Charu Lata Singh

Professor and Dean
Vivekananda School of Journalism and Mass Communication

Delhi

Prof. Dr. Charu Lata Singh, Dean and Professor of Journalism & Mass Communication in Vivekananda School of Journalism and Mass Communication, with which she is associated for the past 16 years. She possesses more than 22 years of the media industry and teaching experience.

With parallel qualifications in Political Science and Journalism & Mass Communication, Prof Singh specializes in areas viz.  Political Communication, Public Relations, Corporate communication, Development Communication, Communication Research, and Media Laws and Ethics.

She has 8 edited and authored Books, 13 Chapters, and around 30 paper publications in National and International journals of repute to her credit. 

She has been research paper reviewer with prestigious journals viz, Media Asia; Communication Today; Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Politics; Asian Research Journal of Arts & Social Sciences. She has been twice awarded ‘Iconic Women Creating Better World for All’ by World ‘Women Economic Forum’  (WEF). She also bagged the Best Research Paper Award by the Public Relations Society of India (PRSI).


Press Release

Public Relations Society of India

 Day 5 of PR – Mass Communication Orientation Programme for Students with

Prof. Dr. Charu Lata Singh

 (Dean, VSJMC, Vivekananda Institute of Professional Studies)

New Delhi

5th October, 2021

Day 5 of the 15 Day PR – Mass Communication Orientation was held on Facebook and YouTube Live. Prof. Dr. Charu Lata Singh was the guest speaker for the fifth session of this academic initiative by PRSI. She gave a lecture on the Evolution of Public Relations and Emerging Trends. Prof. Dr. Charu Lata Singh is Dean and Professor of Journalism & Mass Communication in Vivekananda School of Journalism and Mass Communication, GGSIPU, with which she is associated for the past 16 years. She possesses more than 22 years of the media industry and teaching experience. With parallel qualifications in Political Science and Journalism & Mass Communication, Prof. Singh specializes in areas viz. Political Communication, Public Relations, Corporate communication, Development Communication, Communication Research, and Media Laws and Ethics. The students also keenly took part in expressing their views during the session.

Prof. Dr. Charu Lata Singh traced the evolution of Public Relations right from ancient examples of Indian culture to the present. She defined Public Relations by giving various examples. She then explained the whole concept of public relations. Very beautifully she explained the emerging trends in PR due to the technological advancements and emerging of digital mediums.  She talked about the traditional PR and Digital PR and the various dimensions of Digital PR. What are the characteristics of the new digital environment that were elaborated upon by her?  She also talked about the future requisites for PR Professionals. She said we are living in an era that is: globalised; Post Truth; Technology-Driven; Highly Polarised; Mediated; Hyper abundant media.  Social responsibility and Brand Reputation are always the focus. Talking about the future trends she said that in PR one needs to have strategies in place all the time as the PR needs to go on 365 days and 24X7.

Engagement and personal touch along with a demonstration of what you believe would be the key. She said the AI is not the thing of the future; it is already here and is going to stay and would help in various PR acts. She also stated that specialised content and PR at micromanagement levels will emerge.  Ethics, Transparency, Credibility, and Trust shall remain all-time high.

The lecture was well presented and thought-provoking with interesting examples. The session ended with pleasant remarks by all the listeners. These series of lectures have been organised by Dr. Ajit Pathak- National President of Public Relations Society of India and Mr. Y Babji- Secretary General of Public Relations Society of India, inaugurated by Shri Naresh Bansal – a member of Rajya Sabha and Mr. Phileppe Borremans – President of International Public Relations Association.


Summary of the Presentation

Prof (Dr) Charu Lata Singh, Vivekananda School of Journalism & Mass Commn, Delhi dwelling upon the topic-Evolution of PR & Emerging trends, covered the whole gambit of PR right from it’s an evolution to the present scenario of Digital Media & PR.

Citing Narad, Sri Krishna, Budha, Kabir, Tulsidas, Shankaracharya, Swamy Vivekananda, Prof said that Communication in the shape of a message is age-old and continuing since time immemorial. Our culture had seen countless communicators such as Mahatma Gandhi who was successful in generating public opinion for a social cause.

Due to the Industrial Revolution, the evolution of the Communication industry landscape has undergone a major shift over few years involving drafts, their execution, media relations, etc.
Consequent to growing competition in the industry, it has become inevitable to maintain customer relations, dealing with crisis management, and importantly the brand building.
Till 1900, industrial corporations hired publicists, press agents, and propagandists thereby PR as such got a negative connotation because of exaggerated and false statements. This could be because of the fact that organisations were not accountable and answerable.
As time passes, it’s Ivy Lee who initiated real PR in 1903 as a genuine, authenticated activity. With the objective of creating interest among the public, he had set up his own Company-Lee & Parker firm and issued a statement to the media entitled Declaration of Principles and released a first-ever press release as a responsible profession with ethical guidelines for the profession.
Then came Edward Bernys who talked about the basic obligations of PR to the media and the public. He wrote a book-Crystallising PR.
The next key figure was Daniel Edelman.
Over a period of time, there came into the picture Communication Executives, HR executives, PROs and Advertising came to surface as a communication tool.
The period 1800-2000 has seen the development and evolution focusing on creating awareness of issues and communication.

Communication has too undergone the evolution along with societal evolution from Feudal society to Capitalist society and finally to Democratic society. Communication took various forms as propaganda, publicity etc demanding to establish Investor relations, government relations, etc.
Corporate Communication gained importance since the organisations needed to establish & maintain good relations with the public’s, shareholders, creditors, potential investors, political & government relations, stakeholders, media relations in order to establish a positive reputation besides maintaining employee relations, community relations, financial relations, and most important segment being customer relations.

Emerging trends in PR is now globalised and highly technology-driven with social responsibility coupled with a brand image which is very important.
There is a marked shift from traditional PR to Digital PR in terms of the size of the organisation & in terms of promotion in corporate organisations as there are multiple problems.

Communication being one of the fundamental element of the business, it’s needed to be in touch with all the stakeholders 24X7, inorder to clear off the misconceptions by addressing them. Image building today is a continuous process because the reputation of the organisation is at risk every moment. In order gain respect & support from the concerned, a need arose to undertake CSR initiatives and activities.

Personalized Communication is essential because the policies or strategies are to be made clear to cater to each individual rather than a whole audience.

Dwelling upon the latest and most important Digital PR, as it is an evolved form of PR, Prof cited different forms of media such as Earned Media, Owned Media, Paid media, Shared media, the tools and the challenges being faced while communicating through digital platforms. As there is likely that fake stories, fake content relating to the organisation figure, it’s needed to tell the truth regularly, displaying regularly and real facts all the time as saying goes-“ Nip the evil in the bud “.

Touching upon future trends, she said that media companies & advertisers work through a better understanding of the different media and by leveraging the channels.

Catering to Generation Z, the demand now is for Specialised Content Communication to retain the customer base which is a huge challenge.
Specialized communication agencies are a must to communicate effectively. Multiple platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Utube, Linkedin…have come into usage.
In a communication process, one can not undermine the importance of Content & Data and is required to follow ethics and responsibility.

Future communication environment would be highly polarised ideologically making individuals as responsible person for social responsibility, she said. She emphasised the need to take care of Brand reputation, Ethics, Stuckness, Use of SEOs, Use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in PR are key factors of communication.

The lecture ended with a focus on PR personnel as responsible for Relation building, creative ideas development, innovative strategy formulation, new ways of storytelling…and the key to success by being -the voice not the echo, learning to challenge the thought process, looking for connects, to be timely and relevant, by acquiring new skills, to be truthful and finally to be inquisitive with eyes & ears for unseen & unheard.

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