Akshit Pushkarna
Corporate Communications and PR

"Media will continue to lead reputation management for brands": Kunal Kishore, Value360

Kunal Kishore, founder and director, Value360 Communications, opines on the evolving nature of public relations operations and how the brand is navigating it. 

With social media empowering almost everyone with the ability to express their thoughts and take on almost anything going on in the world, it is safe to say that effective communication for businesses has become more critical than before.

The evolving landscape demands increased reliance on public relations (PR) functions, ranging from early-stage startups to market-listed companies. Kunal Kishore, founder and director of Value360 Communications, emphasises the significance of PR within the marketing landscape.

Kishore asserts that PR is not only integral to the marketing department but has become a crucial component of the overall business function. He highlighted certain examples where lack of proper communication had a profound impact on both brand reputation and share market pricings for businesses.

"Instances of inaccurate messaging or negative media coverage have led to substantial value losses for companies, with billions of dollars being wiped away in a single day due to the absence of effective communication strategies," he elaborates. 

Kishore says that through the course of 2023, PR has gradually emerged as a critical business function, garnering increased attention and involvement in overall business strategies. "As an entrepreneur in the PR industry, I've observed a trend where PR professionals are now receiving more CEO time. We are actively participating in strategy-building discussions, contributing to overall business strategy meetings, and becoming integral parts of annual business planning sessions."

The function's primary responsibility was to accurately represent the brand in traditional media. Since traditional media has changed now, the function has moved beyond managing multiple communication channels. PR now addresses complex challenges like fake news, toxic internet culture, and ‘Cancel’ culture.

Kishore highlights that the advent of social media transformed communication dynamics, shifting from a brand led monologue to a dialogue with their consumers or target audiences as they now have a platform to express their sentiments about brands and personalities, influencing brand perception, reputation, and even market pricing. He elaborates that as this complexity has deepened, companies have realised the need for a more strategic approach to communication.

He believes content creators or influencers will now play a more crucial role in brand communications moving forth. However, media will continue to play a very critical role because they continue to be the key opinion makers for the masses. "Influencers' weightage in brand communication budgets will increase gradually in the coming years. But the media will continue to lead reputation management for brands.”

Diversifying PR offerings

As communication complexities grow for brands, companies in the PR business need a strategic approach for business expansion, he opines. Navigating diverse mediums requires individuals adept at understanding the various dynamics involved across mediums. Further, the focus for efficient PR has now shifted towards creating a comprehensive strategy, not just for brand building but also for safeguarding reputation.

"Navigating this landscape requires the right mix of marketing, content review, advertising, and storytelling. From brand building to reputation management and stakeholder engagement, PR has become indispensable for effective communication."

"This involves establishing a robust network to mitigate potential risks. In this heightened complexity, communication has become critical, with amplified stakeholders, an expanded ecosystem, and diversified channels for message distribution. In this, PR's role has elevated, becoming a crucial strategic partner in managing and navigating the complexities of modern communication."

He elaborates that unlike traditional growth patterns observed in many Indian PR brands, the group is taking a different approach. The group’s focus is on building practices that are future-ready.

“With Value360 as our PR arm, thepopkorn as the creative arm, and ClanConnect managing influencers, we aim to create a holistic service offering. Our intent is to complement existing services with new aspects, staying on the lookout for interesting stories and upcoming ventures that can contribute to future growth and make us future-ready,” he adds. 

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