In focus: Public Relations Committee at SPJIMR
“Getting things done” is the underlying philosophy of SPJIMR’s flagship academic programme- ADMAP (Assessment and Development of Managerial and Administrative Potential). The unique programme provides the students with an immense learning opportunity where they are divided into 25 communities each of which handle a different aspect of everyday functioning in the college. The Public Relations Committee in this relation stands apart from the other committees because its prime responsibility is to uphold the “Brand SPJIMR” and to engage all stakeholders- internal (students, faculty) and external (alumni, recruiters, industry) creating a synergy with them at all levels.
To augment a brand and to move away from its cognitive impact via awareness levels and creating an affective impact whereby all stakeholders associate with the core values of SPJIMR – “value for values”; “global outlook + social sensitivity”, “getting things done”, “influencing without power”- ethos that every SPJIMRite breathes, practices and lives by and which the industry appreciates in the batch of students absorbed every year is no mean task. It requires a lot of tactical and strategic planning.
Tactical communication designed by the committee impacts the audience on a periodic basis through organized and structured information dissemination of content through various forums at the committee’s disposal including those vehicles designed by the committee itself such as the Alumni and industry newsletter – SPJIMR News, the internal online newsletter – E Connect, the Media handbook and the annual collation of faculty videos, interviews. Strategic communication on the other hand aims to reinforce the brand image and identity with the stakeholders and helps resonate the basic tenets of SPJIMR- its unique pedagogic innovations in learning, diversity of students, student led initiatives such as Abhyudaya, DOCC, Sprint- the annual sports festival, Ojas- the annual management and cultural festival and the industry integration interface- SBAC- the SPJIMR Business- Academia Conclave.
This year’s strategic initiatives handled and managed by the Public Relations Committee leveraged Social Media Marketing to integrate communication about the Institute and present it to students and alumni in the industry through various social media platforms- Facebook, Twitter, Youtube etc. We interviewed some of the members of the Public Relations Committee 2013 about the work that was done in the year gone past.
Megha Bewtra, 24, PGDM- Marketing: behind the creative team- Facebook and The website
What was the idea behind leveraging Social Media platforms and how did it sync in with the overall goals of the committee?
Our mandate was just pretty clear right at the outset and that was to “To build ‘Brand SPJIMR’ by leveraging our unique institutional guiding philosophy of influencing practice and promoting value based growth and also by involving internal and external stakeholders of SPJIMR”. We came up with a proposal to manage the official Facebook and Twitter pages of the Institute. The idea was to bring information to the people closely and deeply associate with the college- notably the current students, faculty and the alumni base- to the place where everyone is present. We live in an “everywhere computing” age- so naturally our strategy had to evolve accordingly.
Shashank Kumar, 26, PGDM- Finance: The guy who developed the performance metrics
How did you gauge the impact of your social networking initiatives?
We decided to keep it simple. The process was thus: create updates on a periodic timelines covering a range of topics and post them as real time as possible. I used simple metrics on Insights such as Connections which included likes on FB, Followers on Twitter; Engagements : Likes, comments and shares on FB and Retweets on Twitter, TAT scores- The “Talking about This” scores showing buzz activity on FB/Twitter and Reach- Unique visitors on the web pages. These are standard parameters used to gauge impact on social media and it helped us immensely to reshape our strategy in terms of what post worked what didn’t; what content generated more interest relative to the others and so on. The idea was to shift from content creation to content aggregation so that we could have more and more contributors and thus build connect along the student-alumni-faculty trinity.
Atasi Giri, 23, PGDM-Operations: The Twitter Girl
You were managing the Twitter page of Facebook- your thoughts on social media and Public relations?
140 characters is a cool and succinct way to express thoughts especially for the corporate generation on the go. I live tweeted at events held at SPJIMR including the CEO Connect and the SPJIMR Business Academia Conclave on topics covering the Digitization wave in a capitalist economy; Business as HR Partner which would redefine the relationship; SMAC in the Business and many other topics. The point I am trying to make is that we covered a huge range of insightful discussions covering Finance, Marketing, Operations to Information management on the Twitter Platform- aggregating content in a matter of minutes and posting it through the official Twitter handle- measuring engagement and TAT thus adapting our information dissemination in a big way
Vishakh Lakshminarayana, 25, PGDM- Marketing: Straddling Traditional and Digital
You straddled both the traditional and digital media – how did you manage the rather different needs for the same?
I basically handled PR for the education section and specialist education media. Thus I wrote for a range of magazines on the one hand- basically highlighting key aspects of the institute while on the other hand I was one of the core aggregators for our internal e-newsletter which was the E-Connect. As a marketing student media communications and IMC forms a core part of learning and ADMAP through being part of the PR Committee gave me an opportunity to understand aspects of as diverse communication portals as traditional print media and the more evolving and dynamic online/digital platform. Besides I was also part of the Facebook Creative Team and handled a bit of Twitter. I was the quintessential straddle- willing to learn and providing support to the various flanks of the PR Committee. It was immense learning and I was glad to be part of a massive year-long relationship exercise.
Ketaki Goswami, 25, PGDM- Marketing and Maitreyi Bodake- 25, PGDM- Marketing
Ketaki Goswami- Diligent Course Coordinator
Maitreyi Bodake- Reporter, Editor, Manager
The force behind the SPJIMR Newsletter- how difficult was it to professionally manage the Newsletter that goes out to alumni and the industry and to manage the committee processes as well?
Honestly for us it was a huge challenge which reaped dividends in the form of immense learning and praise from our faculty coordinator and faculty in general for doing a good job. This was not just Public Relations in practice, it was as the course is aptly names, a true Assessment and Development of our Managerial and Administrative Potential. From getting ahead of scheduled events, deploying the team to cover as per availability, to content aggregation, editing, adapting it to fitting it in the layout and limits and then engaging with the vendor; every issue that came out was like a tangible rejoinder to our efforts and that was very, very rewarding.
As course coordinators over the year long programme, we had to allocate a good mix of tactical and strategic tasks to the team in keeping with the basic tenets of “influencing without power” and “all roads lead to learning”. Monitoring the timelines and ensuring that tasks get completed on schedule and efficiently was something we imbibed along the way.
Ravish M, 25, PGDM- Operations, Pankaj Joshi, 26, PGDM- Operations and Siddarth Malik, 24, PGDM- Information Management
Pankaj Joshi- Video content and Coffee Tales Campaigner
Tell us about the Coffee Tales Campaign…
“In between the long-work hours, projects and deadlines; there is so much more happening at SPJIMR” – that was the simple idea behind the hugely successful Coffee Tales Campaign featured prominently on the Life@SPJIMR Blog maintained by the PR Committee on the PGDM website. We executed this idea – showcasing the lives of some of these students through their everyday activities- avid reading, social media aficionado, entrepreneurial buzz on campus, singing and jamming sessions on the campus, passionate over-a-cup-of-coffee discussions on the financial subjects among others. We featured it, featured the students and wrote their stories. It was to showcase the campus life in a top tier residential B School in the heart of the country’s financial capital. You can call it the humane side of a tough-to-the world B schooler – we wanted to project that and thus the Coffee Tales Campaign!