The implications of global rebranding, by FleishmanHillard India’s Yusuf Hatia

Earlier this month FleishhmanHillard unveiled a newly refreshed corporate brand and associated digital media property. The new branding reflects the evolution of the public relations firm into a fully integrated communications company. Yusuf Hatia, MD of Client Service at FleishmanHillard India, discusses the implications of the global rebranding for the PR business in India.

What does the brand makeover for FleishmanHillard mean for the Indian PR business?

Yusuf Hatia: FleishmanHillard’s new branding reflects the change that we’re seeing in our industry. Across many markets we’ve seen the very definition of PR evolve and India is also on this path. In India, as in other markets, the brand refresh communicates that change to our most important stakeholders – our employees, clients and partners. FleishmanHillard’s new identity states our ambition and aspiration: to be the most complete communications company.

How will be impact of being “channel agnostic” mean for the way PR is conducted in India? Will this result in a shift away from media relations driven communication?

YH: That’s already happening and there are clients out there who are not necessarily looking for just media relations or coverage. They are looking to impact particular audiences and the media can’t always reach some of these groups. If your brand needs to communicate with a young urban audience, is print media the best option or should you consider other channels? The media still plays an important role; but it is not the only channel to think about.

Will the launch of FleishmanHillard True also cover the Indian market and what does this mean for branded content creation within communications?

YH: We hope so and the India market presents some interesting content opportunities that we would love to feature.

Many PR firms believe that a fully integrated communications firms is not the way ahead, but the path to growth is evolving and expanding the PR business itself. What has led FleishmanHillard to adopt an integrated approach?

YH: PR remains at the heart of FleishmanHillard and we are still in the thick of it when it comes to offering PR services to our clients. We’re still committed to growing and expanding the PR business as much as anyone else. But we also hear what our clients are saying: that they want our help in delivering fully integrated communication programs. The change in our industry, clients’ needs and the wider media landscape has taken us to our new approach which is all about complete communications and not just PR.

How does FleishmanHillard rebranding and positioning reflect an increasing trend towards evolving away from traditional PR as we know it?

YH: It depends on the definition of “traditional PR”. If that means media relations at a linear level and working with media to reach the end audience, then things are definitely changing and most PR agencies already realise this. Even simple activities such as press releases need to take on a dynamic form, reflect how the audience consumes media and look at non-linear channels of distribution. It’s not about us moving away from PR as much as it is about PR finding its place in the communications mix and delivering something that we do best – engage, converse and listen to audiences.

Yusuf Hatia is MD of Client Service at FleishmanHillard India