Leveraging PR for business results can be a game-changer

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The pandemic has led to brands embracing the need to communicate more, thus increasing the role of PR and corporate communications. With the women leaders of the industry rising to the occasion in these testing times, we spoke to one such leader – Rosanne Rodricks, Vice President, Golinopinion.

Rodricks was recently awarded “Innovative Leader of the Year” at the exchange4media PR and Corp Comm Women Achievers Awards 2020.

Edited excerpts:

  1. How do you feel being the winner of the Women Achievers initiative?

It is an absolute honour to be recognized by exchange4media, one of the most reputed media companies around. To be sharing the stage with some of the best women leaders just made it so much better. I believe that platforms like this will not only help recognize great talent, but also motivate more women to join (and thrive in) this industry. A big thank you to exchange4media, the management and the jury for this fantastic opportunity.

  1. What are the attributes/ qualities required to be a leader in the communications industry?

This may sound too generic but I truly believe that becoming a leader is largely about determination and will. What most fail to realize though, is that the journey is as important (if not more important) than the destination. Apart from determination and will, I would lay emphasis on a curiosity to learn, the agility to adapt and an openness of mind.

Becoming a communications leader also involves maintaining a fine balance between expertise of craft and relationship skills. Good leaders are always hungry to learn and collaborate. Growth stops when learning stops. Most importantly, work by design and not default. Have a goal in mind and design a path to achieving it. Ask for mentorship and guidance along the way and work really hard. Don’t look for short cuts to success.

  1. What role have women played in the restructuring of the industry and how has the communications industry changed over the years for the women workforce?

I am proud to be working in an already woman-dominated field and I would attribute most of the growth to the many women that have played their part in making this industry what it is today.

From a nascent profession in India, today PR has the power to shape brand perception, build brand purpose, enhance business outcomes, guide consumer-brand relationships, strengthen corporate reputation and even mitigate crisis. Having said this, PR as an industry in India is still greatly undervalued and has huge scope for growth, both in value and importance in the marketing mix.

This industry has given birth to many powerful women leaders, who have an amazing opportunity to take this industry to much greater heights, while grooming more women leaders along the way.

  1. Why do we need to have more leaders at the helm of organizations in today’s scenario and what value do women bring to the table? 

Having only a woman or a man’s perspective of anything is incomplete and one sided. A lopsided workforce will limit internal effectiveness and productivity, and can unintentionally deliver client work that is skewed. I believe that most women are naturally able to multitask and juggle multiple roles better as they are used to doing it at home. They also tend to have a higher emotional quotient, which comes to great use when managing teams and ensuring team effectiveness and motivation.

Workplaces that realize this and prioritize inclusivity and equality will reap the greatest benefits in the long term. The real change I wish to see is for all companies to offer an equal footing to both sexes, right from pay parity to equal opportunity at the workplace.

  1. What are your future goals? What initiative would you like to take as a responsible woman leader for the industry/society?

While I got into PR by chance, I genuinely love this profession on account of the many strategic outcomes it can deliver for brands, through highly credible and organic communication formats. I am determined to leverage my strategic skills to make PR a lead marketing function for brands and garner the industry the kind of attention and accolades it deserves.

The possibilities in PR are immense, and I can’t emphasize enough the role of creativity and strategy in PR, to bring about disproportionate outcomes for brands. Well-thought out PR initiatives have the power to garner business results, change perception, reputation, behaviour and even policy. Covid-19 has changed the way consumers engage with brands and this has made the focus on ROI and success measurement for brands even keener. Leveraging PR effectively to link to business results at this time could be the game changer in being able to make PR a critical function for marketers.

  1. How do you see the PR and Corp Comm industry shaping up in the years to come and what is your message to the future women leaders?

PR today is at an inflection point. Conversations through PR are shaping trends around the world. Consumers are seeking ‘meaningful’ and ‘authentic’ engagement with brands. At the same time, crisis management and protecting brand reputation has become more important than it has ever been.

The best way to serve our clients in this dynamic reality is by staying ahead of the curve and exploring more of the unexplored. Constantly push yourself, your teams and your clients out of their comfort zones. Treat your client’s business as if it were your own. Take some calculated risks and lay much more focus on creativity.

Lastly, spend time investing in the success of your team members. Try to mentor your team members to find what they really thrive at and then sharpen it. This will ensure much happier, motivated and productive teams that deliver over and beyond for clients. Investing in your teams takes a substantial time investment and keen observation skills, but those you groom will thank you many times over for it.

The above interview was originally published here.