Team Wizikey

Written by Team Wizikey

October 17, 2023

“AI aims to cut costs and boost efficiency, but the human element is irreplaceable.”-Shubham from Power Finance Corporation

In this episode, we talk to Shubham, who brings a unique government PR perspective to the table.With a dynamic career journey that spans economics, advertising, and public relations, Shubham’s insights are a rich tapestry of experience. He delves into the impact of AI and data in the PR domain, emphasizing the delicate balance between technology […]

“AI aims to cut costs and boost efficiency, but the human element is irreplaceable.”-Shubham from Power Finance Corporation

In this episode, we talk to Shubham, who brings a unique government PR perspective to the table.With a dynamic career journey that spans economics, advertising, and public relations, Shubham’s insights are a rich tapestry of experience. He delves into the impact of AI and data in the PR domain, emphasizing the delicate balance between technology and the human touch. 

Introduction

0:42

Shubham Saurav Singh, currently a Manager of Public Relations with Power Finance Corporation Limited, shared his professional journey. This Maharatna PSU operates under the Ministry of Power, Government of India. Shubham’s path has been marked by diverse experiences, teaching him valuable lessons through ups and downs. He holds a background in economics, having completed his Economics Honors from Delhi University’s Shri College of Commerce. Following this, he pursued media studies and mass communication, achieving a Gold Medal in advertising and public relations from the Indian Institute of Mass Communication in 2016. Subsequently, he entered the corporate world through on-campus placement at IIMC Delhi campus, joining PFC, where he has dedicated seven years to government sector PR and the power sector. Shubham has had the privilege of independently managing assignments and projects, providing him with exposure to top executives, which has significantly influenced his perspective and thinking. Currently, he is pursuing an MBA in international business from the Indian Institute of Foreign Trade, emphasizing the importance of holistic understanding in PR professionals’ development and linking business processes with management education for a competitive advantage.

Favourite Campaign

3:30 

At Power Finance Corporation, during the COVID-19 pandemic, Shubham and his team initiated a series of digital campaigns. The government emphasized the need to enhance public awareness and education about COVID-19, including dos and don’ts such as wearing masks and avoiding crowded places. Over the course of six months, they launched numerous videos on their social media platforms, along with posters and infographics. These campaigns and initiatives were well-received, even gaining recognition from the ministry and the government. They were able to align their efforts with the government’s objectives of spreading awareness, especially at the grassroots level, regarding vaccination and other critical information. They executed these campaigns efficiently and within a tight timeframe.

Strategizing government sector campaigns

4:51

In the government sector, Shubham outlines the systematic process of constructing a campaign. It initiates with comprehensive market research, followed by a precise definition of the campaign’s objectives. These objectives play a pivotal role in understanding the campaign’s purpose. Additionally, the selection of tools and channels to execute the campaign is carried out meticulously. In contemporary campaigns, the trend leans towards 360-degree approaches, encompassing diverse touchpoints like TV, outdoor media, print, and radio.

Following the initial planning phase, there’s a period of experimentation and trial. This often stems from a strategic intent within the organization. For example, if research reveals shortcomings in areas such as sales or customer relations, the campaign is designed to rectify these issues. The entire campaign, including promotional and advertising strategies, is aligned with the organization’s vision and mission.

Once the planning phase is complete, the campaign is put into action. As it progresses, rigorous measurement and evaluation become paramount. The budget allocated to the campaign is monitored closely, and the return on investment (ROI) is evaluated. This step is vital in assessing the success of the campaign or identifying areas that require improvement. By diligently measuring ROI, informed decisions can be made for future campaigns.

First Interaction with data

6:59

When reflecting on his college years in 2014, Shubham recollects his initial encounter with data during his second or third year. This introduction came through a course called Econometrics, which delved into handling substantial datasets. It involved tasks like regression, modeling, and various analytical processes, demanding hands-on experience, exposure, and effective teaching. From that point, data became an omnipresent element in his professional life.

Today, the ubiquity of data is undeniable, with major brands like Adidas and Apple actively using data and IT applications to shape their strategies. Data is no longer an afterthought; it’s a fundamental component linked to corporate-level and business strategies, as well as environmental scanning. In every aspect of operations, from supply chain to sales and marketing, data plays a pivotal role. Organizations explore different applications to manage data effectively, both in standalone and enterprise-wide contexts.

Even in the government sector, data plays a critical role, impacting areas such as human resources, information technology, and, notably, public relations, Shubham’s area of expertise. Dealing with data necessitates structured and easily accessible formats to facilitate future analysis, trend analysis, and informed decision-making. Proper data management not only reduces costs but also enhances customer retention, streamlines business processes, and improves various strategic functions within the organization.

Ultimately, the aim is to become an agile and adaptable company in both micro and macro frameworks. Adapting to these changes is key to achieving that goal.

Important metrics to track

10:23

In the realm of government sector PR, media tracking plays a significant role. Typically, we have media tracking agencies on our panel to monitor and analyze various aspects of media coverage. While many times, the management is primarily interested in the quantity of media coverage across different platforms, such as print, digital, electronic, and social media, I’d like to emphasize the importance of quality as well.

Yes, quantity matters, but the quality of the stories, the angles journalists bring to the coverage are equally vital in media planning. To evaluate our media efforts, we employ several metrics. These include measurements like “share of voice” and, for electronic media, metrics like TRPs and TVPs. We also engage in sentiment analysis to gauge public perception. Some agencies are proactive in providing these metrics.

For instance, when working at Power Finance Corporation, we track how often PFC appears in the media, the frequency of management’s appearances, and their viewpoints. Depending on our focus, such as renewable energy, we can assess the media coverage specific to that area, like the renewable energy policy. As PR professionals, we must remain vigilant because we are at the monitoring level. It’s our responsibility to brief both the client and the agency. Staying informed and constantly aware of these factors is crucial to fulfilling this role effectively.

With the advent of AI, even government media bodies like the Press Information Bureau of India and the Press Trust of India are using AI and data extensively. It’s a dynamic environment, and we must adapt to these changes and nuances to stay competitive and effective in our field.

Impact of AI 

13:42

Shubham emphasizes that in both the Western world and India, there have been numerous seminars, symposiums, and heated debates about the impact of AI. Several key points come into focus in these discussions. One is the phased adoption of AI. The question arises about how quickly India can adopt AI processes in comparison to what the US has already embraced. The evolving nature of AI prompts some to consider that it has been around for some time, and there may be future technologies that could outperform it. This dynamic landscape leads to shifts in focus as people explore new possibilities.

For the realm of PR and corporate communications, he highlights that AI has become an integral part of daily life. AI tools play crucial roles in tasks like drafting, vetting, and extensive editing. Young professionals have swiftly embraced these tools and integrated them into their work processes. However, Shubham, like many experts, agrees that the human element remains irreplaceable. While we might see AI news anchors, the human touch and connection endure. Various industries, including the public sector, have adopted automation and chatbots to reduce costs, improve efficiency, and streamline processes. Yet, the human element remains a vital component.

He stresses that adapting to changes in AI, machine learning, and artificial intelligence is essential. PR professionals should not confine themselves to silos; communication is a strategic function that necessitates a broader understanding of how these technologies integrate within an organization. Seeking knowledge and staying informed about these integrations is crucial for professionals in this field.

Dream metric/feature

16:28

In terms of predictive analysis, Shubham envisions the development of an AI tool that can assist in budget allocation. For instance, if he has a fixed budget and various overhead costs related to PR, such as advertising, publications, printing, and publicity work, he envisions a tool that can analyze historical trends. This tool would then recommend the most optimal allocation of funds for executing a media strategy. It could help determine whether resources should be directed towards out-of-home advertising, TV channel production, or radio jingle production, ensuring a swift and efficient decision-making process. Such a tool, if realized, could greatly benefit PR and corporate communication professionals, allowing them to work at a steady and effective pace.

My two cents

17:47 

Shubham provides valuable insights into the field of PR, emphasizing the importance of research and the specific PR niche one wishes to pursue. Understanding and selecting the right PR type is a crucial decision. Furthermore, he underlines the significance of relationship building. Trust is a fundamental factor that he believes PR professionals should prioritize in their interactions with clients, stakeholders, and shareholders, recognizing that we are all integral parts of a larger society and culture.

He highlights the importance of cultivating strong relationships, not only with the media but also within the organization itself, which comprises diverse individuals. Building and leveraging goodwill play a pivotal role in a PR professional’s journey. Shubham also stresses the value of continuous learning, particularly for young practitioners. He encourages them to aim higher and better, reminding them that there are no limits in the pursuit of excellence and growth. The key is to keep striving for more and better in their careers.

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