Nakul Ghai urges his young PR colleagues to go beyond CAT A publications coverage post Covid

Ever since I ventured into the profession of PR & Communications, I have come across innumerable remarks and comments on 'Public Relations' as a profession and what it largely entails. I would be lying if I say that none of it hindered my observations or understanding of the much-sought profession in the twenty-first century.

For all the young entrants into the world of PR & Communications, I would urge you to always keep your mind open to the endless possibilities.

There are a lot of people, even in my own family who still struggle to identify and evaluate what I do for a living. They often think that I earn by fits and starts, given my profession is not as celebrated as any other lucrative profession.

Modern PR 

When you are newly introduced to the world of PR & Communications, you see endless possibilities. You perceive yourself as the ultimate brand custodian or a brand's storyteller who wields full power and control over what is being served to the external environment.

Added to it, a lot of fancy epithets and leitmotifs get attached to you and your work.

You feel 'larger than life', working with the best of brands out there. As a freshman, you feel as if you have gotten yourself into a sea, which has no bounds at all, and all you could do is immerse deep into it.

Well, this vision does not hold for long.

Soon comes the tinnitus in the form of unwarranted and unsought interpretations and assumptions of the profession, which disrupts your entire mindset and vision.

People's misconstrued and narrowed viewpoint hits you right in the face and your broader eye view starts getting diminished day by day, reinforcing 'how they feel about the profession' than 'what you, yourself felt or thought of it, in the first place.

Gradually, what happens?

The focus from stories shifts to coverage, the focus from innovation shifts to addition (of clips garnered), and the focus from authenticity shifts to pompous show and tell techniques. In the end, your single most effort as a PR professional is made to be measured on a yardstick of 'the number of impressions appeared in CAT-A publications'.

Having been in the industry for over three years now and having been associated with the best global brands, I can tell you that this is not what PR stands for. It has certainly more to it than just securing coverage in tier 1-media publications. PR and communications is meant to be a strategic profession that requires good research and knowledge, a strategic mind, and a creative outlook.

What I mean is simple- you are not meant to be a facilitator or a mediator but a stimulator.

It is up to you as to what you choose to be.

Public Relations & Communications is a responsible profession where a single mistake can cost you a bad public image and reputation for a lifetime. There is a good reason as to why it is considered one of the most stressful professions. It requires a copious amount of commitment, dedication, sincerity, and patience to stick to such a profession.

The predicament does not end here.

The real struggle begins when I am told to explain what I essentially do. Some take me as a writer or an editor, few others choose to believe that I am an orator and the remaining ones simplify their struggle by labeling me as a facilitator who juggles between clients and media.

However, I let it be and take control over what I believe in. I never let someone else’s narrative define me or my work, and I think that is how it is supposed to be..

Nakul Ghai is a PR and marketing communications professional, with three years of experience having worked with several leading global brands and corporate firms. He is an IIMC alumni.