New media success tips for the management education community

The management education community (students, placement professionals and leaders) can derive immense benefits from new media/social media/Web 2.0 and its popularity.

Rising interest in new media coupled with faster, cheaper access to the internet has fueled opportunities for interactivity, community and brand building. But, awareness of how new media impacts our personal and professional lives is limited.

On June 27, 2008, while conducting a new media  workshop for students from the Bangalore Management Academy, Bangalore I learnt a few interesting insights.

– Although new media tools and techniques are already being adopted by the community, they are unaware of its implications and usage.

– There is a thirst for learning – from the basics to the complexities of how the new world operates.

– Differentiation in the Web 2.0 era is yet to be understood and so it personal branding.

– There is a fear of the unknown and the risks involved.

At the workshop, the key take-aways were around positioning in the web world, being aware of what works and what doesn’t and making the most of new media tools and trends for reasons ranging from easier access for search executives, branding and credibility.

Opportunities exist for placement officers and the management of educational institutes as well – from opening up new channels of communication to keeping track of new trends among Generation Y, their students.

Look forward to your comments and feedback.


Is there clarity on what PR, HR and Internal Communication can achieve?

Over the last couple of days, I have received mails from students – one from the UK and the other from a leading institute in Pune. Though the questions were fundamental, it highlights the ambiguity in the minds of those wanting to pursue communication as a career.  

For the benefit of others, I am taking the liberty to first articulate the queries and provide my take on the subjects.

Question: “The lines between HR, internal communications and PR are quite blurry and senior management seems to be unsure regarding how IC is related to PR but different from HR. I would like to know if this is an area that has been widely covered. Apart from what is being discussed regarding the importance of internal comms and how it is increasingly important now to address its key stakeholders – the employees, as an internal comms professional, do you feel that there are other aspects of internal comms that has not been looked into before? Internal communications is a largely debated topic here and if organizations do not get their key messages right from the inside then they pretty much will not be able to do a good job externally either.”

My response which is open to debate:

“There is very little clarity on the roles of HR and IC but in terms of what IC and PR does, management and communication professionals do know how each creates an impact. Undoubtly, both have a linkage – the messages to the external and internal audiences must be in sync. It again depends on how organizations and senior leadership value and view communication. There is a large role of communicators to demonstrate tangible benefits to convince their respective management.

 That said, there are some areas which need attention. With the advent of new media/social media, there is a shift in the way communication is created and shared both internally and externally and that is something communicators do not have too much control over.

 Research also points to a lack of trust and transparency within organizations which is further deepened by the web 2.0 trends.

 Crisis communication as part of internal communication needs more focus and attention like the way leadership communication is taking centrestage.

 Another area of study should be around communication satisifaction and effectiveness/measurement.”

The second query was on the topic of ‘PR in the Corporate Sector’ assigned to the student, which I felt was too broad based.

Below were my recommendations to improve and therefore arrive at a more meaningful project result.

“The suggestion is to narrow down the direction to a few key areas.

1. Perception of PR agencies among media and governmental bodies

2. The role of PR in the Web 2.0 era

3. PR and ethics – how much of hype can be tolerated?

4. Measurement in PR and role for communicators

5. PR and social responsibility in India – where to draw the line

6. Is PR as a domain redundant?

 After you decide along with your guide, talk to at least 10 PR professionals and understand their perspectives on these areas.

 I think the industry and your college will gain a lot more from the insights you will get from these areas.

You should then use Google Scholar to get papers and articles on the topic – talk to media folks and get a 360 degree viewpoint.

The third question was with regard to Internal Communication (IC) as a subset of Corporate Communication.

“Internal Communication (IC) falls within the purview of Corporate Communication but is very specific to communicating with internal audiences. In some organizations, there are niche teams which focus only on employee communication directly reporting into the CEO or the Executive Office, while in some they are nested within HR or as seperate outfits. There is a strong linkage of IC to PR and it is in the best interest of the organization to keep their messages consistent.”

Look forward to views, suggestions and comments.



Insights from a communication stalwart – Mike Green of Intel

At a recent communications gathering in Bangalore last week, I had an opportunity to meet up with Mike Green, who leads employee communications for Intel.  A veteran at Intel, he took time off from his short visit to India to talk to communication professionals and share insights from his experience.

Mike stressed on the need for communicators to understand their role as strategists and mentors for employees and leaders. He is credited for bringing significant changes within Intel through transformation in communication, engaging employees and helping leaders do their jobs better.  Mike explained how challenges like information overload and decreased engagement were forcing communicators to think differently.

He fielded a host of questions from the audience ranging from print vs social media influence, global communication and culture, outsourcing and implications for communications, leadership blogs, consistency in messaging and dealing with the press.

I was drawn by the significance of the questions posted by the audience – most of them were tactical, probably a reflection of the work internal communicators in India handle. On the contrary, Mike extolled participants to focus their sights on the core mission and values which keep their respective organizations in business.

In my interactions with the participating professionals, I could gauge a sense of urgency to shore up internal communication efforts within their organizations due to the constantly evolving dynamics and business expectations.

Overall, an interesting knowledge sharing session. Kudos to Vijay Shankar and team for organizing the event and to Arun for engaging participants for an interactive evening.

Participants, do feel free to share your views here…

On the minds of senior management……

Over the last few weeks I have been conversing with a host of senior management in India and getting to know their views on the challenges and significance of internal communication and branding.

Some common themes emerge.

While internal communication is accepted as a practice, some professionals were unsure if it is a part of the communication mix and how it played a role.

Public relations and reputation management as communication drivers were top of mind, more so the latter due to its long term implications. Public relations is seen as a means to the end.

Most accepted that internal communication and PR were interrelated but were unsure how.

Those professionals exposed to the US and European markets had a far greater understanding and expectation of communication; viewing it as a long term investment rather than a short term one. Periodic briefings, regular meetings and closing the gap between what is perceived vs reality are some of the improvements expected.

Internal communication is not a silver bullet but a significant step in building a brand from the inside out.


Listen to a podcast on new media and internal communication


Welcome to my first podcast on my blog!

In this podcast, I summarize the implications of new media influence on internal communications and provide a strategy for managers to leverage opportunities to their advantage. The views from this podcast are from a workshop conducted on the same subject in 2007.


Below are some starter-kit recommendations.


  • Leverage internal expertise
  • Constantly beta-tests with your best critics
  • Tap the power of citizen journalism
  • Monitor the web
  • Build policies
  • Start a conversation

Finally, don’t be afraid to experiment. Be flexible and get feedback from users and finally, don’t get frustrated…the internet is an evolving media. Leverage it to your advantage. Absorb – Adapt – Apply.