Wednesday, August 16, 2006

What's my next step?

Over the lunch table at office, our director raised a question on what would be the final destination (professionally) for a PR person (an executive working for a PR agency).

He felt that as head of corporate communications one hits the plateau (Peter Principle). There is no further growth for the PR executive. Where does this person go from here?

It was a scary thought. I did manage to tell him that the future should be a transition to marketing or sales function. Our director didn't think so. He asked me to recall if I knew of any corporate communications person who had made this transition. If a Corp Comm ever became the marketing head or CEO of an organization.

Actually, I did not.

While a parallel thought was running in my mind. What does the PR executive at an agency do? MT to Executive, Executive to Manager, Manager to Director. From more media to more clients and then maybe to operations/organization.

I know of Account Directors and Managers who have for over a decade (little less or little more) done the same thing. Have they hit the plateau.

Point to wonder.

Well, most of the PR executive move from agency to client maybe one to expand the role from a service provider to one who manages agencies who are responsible for the image/branding of the company. So, instead of just looking at PR function now one has to look into ads, pr, and other communication tools.

But, is it valued and considered as strategic by the management, thats management's problem.

Well, I do believe that atleast there is more money and exposure on the other side. Or is it just a case of the grass is greener on the otherside. What say you?

Pic source:

Who cares if I don't look like Johnny Depp?

No, this is not about me or Johnny Depp.

I was wondering to myself, how not-so-great-looking guys and gals become stars in the movies.

I am so much reminded of Vijay. The Ilaya Thalapathi as he is known amongst his fans in TN. Oh, how can I forget Rajinikanth.

But then Vijay and Rajini are bigger hits than lets say Ajit, Kamalhassan...

When Vijay was launched, forget men even women would not have kind of liked him. But over a period of time with movies of his releasing, every now and then (thanks maybe to his parent's connections), Vijay stayed on. A couple of good films with meaty roles, Vijay has transformed and is likely to be the next Super Star (Rajini).

No denying that Vijay is very talented.

So, what makes these guys turn around and become successful.

Is it that they are forcefed to us and we get used to them?

Does this happen to brands as well...Can a brand fail initially and then if brand persists and improves, it does have a chance.

What's wrong with me, haven't we heard of Microsoft?

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Pesticide or Pepsi?

There was this Big Fight in NDTV, yesterday. The fighters - an adman, an activist, and, I think, a politician, were vociferously defending their view point.

Oh forgot! The topic was pesticides in cola drinks.

Only in the morning, I watched the documentary 'Supersize me!'. It was a documentary on the effect of fast foods on the American population. How more and more Americans are becoming obese. The documentary claimed that all this was because of McDonald, KFCs, Burgerkings, and the likes. The director takes upon himself to prove that the food served by these fast food (or junk food) outlets are at fault. So, Mr. Director decides to eat McDonald burgers for the next one month. He eats them as his breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Snacks as well. He, intelligently, uses doctors to study his body's response/performance and infers that the burgers are dangerous to the human society.

Wow! That was innovative.

Coming back to the Cola controversy. If the levels of pesticides are not as per the international standards, why is it that cola companies which otherwise would have been accountable anywhere in the West, are strongly rejecting the findings of this communication.

If I were the head of either cola giant, instead of fighting the report, I would choose to work very closely with the agency and try to bring down the pesticide. Just like what J&J did in its worst crisis. The image of the brand would have gone significantly up in the minds of the customer. I would have beaten my competition blue and black.

Well, I guess that is something that one can dream off.

The other party who is central to the whole issue and yet prefers to be a mute spectator is the Government. What is their stand on it? The Cola guys are here to do business and make huge profits. The testing agency has done its job and brought 'facts' before the consumers. But the Government, the one which is more responsible than anyone else for the safety of its citizens decides to not act upon this.

What can it do? I hope, they know. I am not going to give any suggestions to them.

Well, not sure how many of you have heard of 'caveat emptor'. says caveat emp·tor (?mp'tôr') n. The axiom or principle in commerce that the buyer alone is responsible for assessing the quality of a purchase before buying.

If I understand well, its the consumer alone who is responsible for her/his decisions. Of course, has little additional information its says ...Generally Caveat Emptor was the property law doctrine that controlled the sale of real property after the date of closing. Under the doctrine of Caveat Emptor, the buyer cannot recover from the seller for defects on the property that renders the property unfit for ordinary purposes. The only exception was if the seller actively concealed patent defects.'

I guess sellers will always try to conceal facts and figures but now with consumer activism, information is available to all. Despite documentaries like Supersize me! and activists against pesticides in colas, if consumers still take a decision of buying or consuming such products/services, they should be the only one to be blamed and held responsible. Of course, unless, the Goverment decides to do something about it.

I was also upset with the Supersize me!. Savitha, my wife, was all the more. Savitha was upset because she felt that one cannot blame Big Mac or anyones else for selling food stuff. They did not ask you to come daily and eat their burgers, they did not ask you not to exercise. If the consumers prefer to harm themselves despite God offering them the power to think, then do not blame others.

One should not blame other for their own actions is what we are always told. How can it be different in Cola or Big Mac case?

It is stupidity to sue others for your own folly.

Before, I finish, Aamir Khan is considered to be a responsible celeb and ambassador. Will he ask Coca-Cola to prove themselves or will he still say Piyo Sar Uthake, of course, with the pesticides.

Picture source: