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Powerful Influencers in Public Relation: Interview with Ashwani Singla | Astrum
How do you view the role of influencers, especially in a challenging field of Public Relations?
Generating credible ‘influencer endorsements’ has been an integral part of professional public relations practice, which is why I would say to my clients “advertising is what you pay for and earned endorsements is what you pray for.” These would-be broad-spectrum influencers across what we at Astrum call the ‘reputation ecosystem’.
Since these are earned endorsements (not paid), their positive impact on reputation is much more and hence also much harder to obtain. It takes combination of good work and persuasive communication to generate trust between the company and the influencer, enough for him/her to associate their good name with the company.
Whom would you consider to be an influencer? What are the qualities and guiding principles that work for you?
Astrum proprietary C(3) reputation management framework recognises three Cs as the foundation of reputation, namely Capability, Character and Communication, hence a good influencer would be one who is seen as an authority, whether for a subject matter (capability) or a role model of conduct (character) and has a far reaching influence to shape opinions (communication).
As a leading name in PR, what’s the maxim that you adhere to professionally?
“Insights fuel Ideas; Ideas drive Impact”.
To shape public opinion ethically, you need to first understand the public.
In a world where one has started to lead their lives on social media, how do you influence this generation in a constructive way?
Our research has consistently shown that millennials only follow those who “walk their talk”. They are not gullible and are well informed. So, the only way to constructively influence them is to ‘practice what you preach’ and lead from the front.
How do you bring about the agility to adapt to an increasingly changing world?
Agility means both speed and suppleness and to retain these qualities, I follow the 3L’s.
Listen intently to be prepared ahead of time, learn quickly to adapt, and remain Lean to act swiftly.
As a leader, how are you focusing on internalising a culture of innovation at your organisation?
At Astrum, we on serving the changing needs of our clients by learning from each other and do things differently instead of merely trying to be different for the sake of it. I am truly proud of the quality of work that I see every day.
Do you think that the confidence in the growth prospects of the global economy has fallen over the years? Why?
I think the world is seeing some challenges right now, for e.g. we have the Brexit in Europe and the US-China Trade standoff that will impact economic growth amongst others. On the other hand, we have softening oil prices, fast-growing South-East Asia economies, changing Middle East and the potential markets of Africa. The India situation is fluid with dark clouds hovering over the economy. I see the remaining of 2019 to be soft and 2020 to be a year of consolidation and measured expansion. I am an optimistic about the future and believe the best is ahead of us.
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