Thursday, April 28, 2011

PR Professional is the Second Most Stressful Job in Nation

Uh-oh! Looks like job-related stress is on the rise again! Disappearing pay increases, a slow economy, lack of job certainty and extra responsibility all take a toll on your attitude, motivation levels and overall health. A recent survey by the American Psychological Association found that 70% of all employees say that work is the main cause of their stress, and nearly half (49%) attribute that stress to worries about job stability.

CareerCast ranks the least and most stressful jobs annually. Considered the nation’s most stressful job of 2011 is Commercial Airline Pilots – battling dangerous weather conditions, dealing with faulty equipment, the loom of possible emergency landings and terrorist threats all add to the enormous amount of stress resting on pilots’ heavy shoulders!

While we don’t fly planes, we here at Ant Hill Communications know a thing or two about the stress felt by the #2 position! That’s right – being a PR Professional is the #2 most stressful job in the nation! CareerCast goes on to describe the difficulties of the world of PR:

“Public Relations Officers are responsible for creating and maintaining a positive image with the public for many companies and government agencies. They typically are responsible for giving presentations and making speeches, often in front of large crowds. This highly-competitive field and tight deadlines keep stress at high-levels for specialists. Some PR officers, also, are required to interact with potentially hostile members of the media.”

While we understand our work environment is stressful, it is enjoyable to work in a fast-pace, ever-evolving industry! The world of PR is never boring nor lackluster. The thrill of finding success for your brands and clients and seeing them grow and expand makes our work worthwhile! We enjoy the pressure of our job and thrive on staying up-to date with media trends and meeting deadlines. Here at Ant Hill, we gladly accept the challenge of having the #2 most stressful job in the nation! Check out the entire list at CareerCast. Now, let’s get to work!


PS: This article is shared by Kalyan Chakravarthy from Hyderabad. 

What Sells?

Hot cakes and sex is what they say. While giving due respect to hot cakes and the ‘S’ word and with no offence meant to these highly spellbinding entities on earth, I think I have had hardly ever stepped into a baker’s parlor to buy just a cake. What has usually prompted me is buying that soothing and shimmering smile on the face of my dear ones on their birthday or may be sometimes the ‘desire’ to tingle my sweet taste buds or may be addressing my epicurean desires. 

The second example is a bit murky, so more on it later.

Marketers always keep diving deep into consumer psychology to ascertain their mental signage depicting their needs, wants, desires and demands. The challenge multiplies as the cognitive dissonance of human behavior erupts as a reverse catalyst. ‘What sells’ is the biggest question a marketer wants to explore.

Human psychology is not static.  It keeps fluctuating against a variable ‘x’ time to time, where ‘x’ is the effective outcome of day-to-day activities/happenings on the mind of a consumer. The variable ‘x’ has a direct implication on what a buyer wants to buy at a given point in time.

A number of models have been developed by the experts to spill the beans of reality about ‘X’. One of the famous models that explain the fluctuation of minds determining the need is Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. It says the demand for a need can be determined on five zones of consumer state of mind. The pyramid has basic needs (survival) at the base which includes needs like food and shelter followed by safety needs. The next set of needs is determined by esteem of a consumer followed by his psychological needs. The final set being the needs for self sufficiency.

It must be noted that each subsequent set of needs is created once the previous set of needs is met.
The model all the more relevant, the factor ‘x’ has much complications attached to it. Even if a consumer stands in the zone of self esteem and demands luxury, he may abruptly switch to survival zone if deprived of water.

A smart marketer at different variation of ‘x’ would succeed to sell if he exploits hunger, emotions, pride, self esteem, happiness, fame etc.  at the right time.

What does a PR firm sell? And what should we exploit?

A PR professional sells a single idea at two different touch points. At one hand, we have to engage a journalist, who already presumes himself/herself as a connoisseur of communications. So what do we market him? It could be being a facilitator to meet his/her deadline, addressing his penchant for ‘cracking a story’ and his fondness for establishing ‘I am the first one’. On the other hand the clients always look for developing their credibility, getting respect and the ‘worry’ to get the acquittal from any bad baggage.
Now let’s come to the second example. For all those who are still expecting me to write on the ‘S’ word, I would like to remind that the subject matter being very perplexing, baffling, mystifying, bewildering and what not, is holding my endurance to take a chance.

P.S: Am I using the word itself to sell this article?
- Faisal Banday

Friday, April 1, 2011

How old do you need to be, to be called a "Professional"?

I'm literally compelled to write on this topic. A little Background on my professional front: Ive studied Media for 9 years and have been pursuing jobs in the media, ranging from advertising to PR, for 7 years now. What made me write on this topic? Well in my little work experience that I have, I've come across some really good, inspiring professional people and some who don't know how to use their power in a good and productive way.

So does being "Professional" refer to any particular age? Well I guess, the answer is NO. To my surprise I have found and met people who are very young in their careers following a really humble path, which will take them a long way. These guys are aggressive, when needed! A classic example is my ex. boss- Ms. M. She is aggressive when she needs to be. and aggressive in her work and not in her behavior. In fact  I'm lucky to have trained under someone who is as motivating and passionate like her and I hope I can guide and train my resources the same way, or even better, in the future.

On the other end, I've met some hard nuts too. I would really like to narrate one of my old experiences. 

Situation:  So we are coordinating with the media, for this gentleman, who is here in India to announce a big business venture. I will name him (MR. X). There is a lady who is heading the Indian team of the Brand. I will name her (MS. B)  She is very senior and is at a high position. Well, I get all of that, I do! But what surprised me was the way she treated people. Yeah fine, she has a bagful of experience and all that bullshit, but that doesn't give her the authority to talk rudely and disrespectfully with anyone, whether a junior or senior. She treated my team as if we were her slaves. She spoke so loudly on the phone herself and when we were literally "Whispering", she shouts back and tells us to keep it low. I mean, you might have all the experience in the world, but what’s the point of all of it if someone doesn't look up to you and admires and learns from you. A visual example- she comes with her "branded- expensive" bag and before sitting on the sofa, she literally threw/ swung her bag on the floor. I mean Calm Down Woman!!!! Haven't you had your happy pills today?? Where as Mr. X, who is at such a senior position was a class apart from MS. B. He treated us a professionals and not just mere doormats. I might have met him for those 5 odd hours, but I learnt from him. I learnt that no matter how old you are in your career, be grounded. Don't just be a sheep in the herd. Stand Apart. Have "Class"- its not defined "monetarily", but "behaviorally". 

In today's age and time everyone demands respect in every form. Even something as simple as a "Stipend". I hate companies who do not even give a minimum stipend to an intern. Well in all my internships, I have never even been reimbursed for my travel. I never understood this. Is it because they are young, so exploit them Or train them so they become good professionals in the future and contribute to our economy?  You don't acknowledge an employee with just his sheer presence. 

I'm not being a "Handsome" here, but I've had enough experience with men and women, to have seen that men and women who are in their 40's single, divorced or single are just 'F****d" in their heads. (Exceptions are always there) I don't know what it really is, maybe they are just frustrated and it gets reflected in their emotional behavioral pattern. I remember having women bosses while I was in advertising. No doubt, these women were super talented, but they were so uninspiring. All they did was smoked, worked, abused and abused!

The reason why I really was compelled to write on this topic was because I feel no age defines you as a true "Professional". You can be as young and as old in your career to motivate people around you. These people are a class apart and are not just working for a livelihood. They inspire, motivate, guide, train young professionals like me to do better in life!

I request everyone who reads this blog, to start respecting your employee, junior or senior- Doesn't matter! Become a source of inspiration and not a source of Negative energy!

By Kalyan Chakravarthy
Hyderabad IMPRIMIS