True Partners in Business: Communications’ Seat at the Table

Communication is steadily proving to be an integral business function. Many business professionals have advocated the need for communications to have a seat at the table.  Greishma Singh, VP, Customer & Commercial Leadership, Coca Cola delivered a keynote address on Day 2 of PRAXIS9— Getting Business Ready for Communications followed by a conversation with Mukesh Kharbanda, MD, Fuzion PR Pvt Ltd.

Foremost, to establish business readiness, it is crucial to be acquainted with ‘thy metaphorical mother-in-law’—The P&L statement. P&L is short for a Profit and Loss Statement and it determines the longevity of a business. It is not merely a statement of your profits and losses but a picture of accountability in an organization. All the more reason for communications and PR to be acquainted with. The profitability of a business will invite further investment. Investments will promote research and facilitate expansion. Knowing this metaphorical ‘mother-in-law’ will help one’s business survive this cut-throat market. It is also the key to ensuring the inclusion of communications in important conversations. A word to the wise for startups—being in tune with one’s P&L is crucial to surviving in an ecosystem whose dynamics are pronounced.

Having a bird’s eye view of the business is expected of PR professionals. Ms Singh recommends having a ‘Dual Vision’. One has to be looking in from the outside, with emphasis on the larger picture. The other vision must be mindful of the 3C’s — Consumer, Competitor, and Customer. Market visits are a good practice to have and follow as a part of the research. For a seat at the table, PR professionals must immerse themselves in understanding their core customers and the supply chain. She further goes on to state that there is a massive power in simplicity. Making a complex situation simple and simple situation compelling— is the art to master. A professional who can embody a blend of simplicity and empathy can prove to be an invaluable resource to their organization. Good old-fashioned planning must never be amiss in this blend of simplicity and empathy. PR and Communications must have a wholesome understanding of business functions. Being a communicator is being a forever student — learning never stops!

When asked by Mukesh Kharbanda, MD, Fuzion PR Pvt Ltd. about the functions that sum up the universe of a PR professional’s repertoire, Ms Singh speaks of the ‘Octopus Function’. Symbolized by the eight tentacles of an octopus they comprise of Policy, Marketing, Business Continuity, Crisis Resolution, Legal & Strategy, Investor Relations, Narrative Building, and Stakeholder Engagement. To the 8 key pointers, Mr Kharbanda added that content must be disseminated and made available in several languages, and appropriate channels to leverage the power of Regional PR, especially in a country like India with multiple languages and dialects.

The splendid talk came to the conclusion that PR and Communications are the true partners of a business and deserve a seat at the table, with emphatic agreement from the audience!