Start Writing, Now!
By Emmy Kuswandari, PR Practitioner, Global Communications of Asia Pulp & Paper Sinar Mas. JAKARTA, PRINDONESIA.CO – Writing is sometimes scary for many people, especially with minimal skills of writing. Even for PR practitioners, this could be a disaster. Although writing is one of the basic skills that we must have. Why writing seems to be scary? The fear probably comes from a lack of reading. There’s no good writing without reading. Then, what about if there’s no idea or writer’s block? Reading is still the solution. Trust yourself. Do not be afraid. First, make it a habit to make an outline for even simple writing. This outline will be our guide. From this outline, we will see what our writing will look like. Then, start writing with honesty. Honest writing will help us to create a flowing story. Lies, hiding data or fact are a trap for ourselves. If our writing is not satisfying, then read and read. Add more references. Imitating the style of diction choices of your favorite writer is not a sin. Eventually, our own style will emerge. The shorter we write, for example, releases, usually the more difficult it is, especially for information on social media. But this is the challenge. What is beautiful is simplicity. We must also obey the other stages, namely editing. Be a good editor for yourself. This process will be a little bit sickening, especially when we’ve been struggling for a long time with our writing. But go through it. Have the heart to edit our own writing. Position ourselves as a reader. A good editor will make perfect even simple writing. The key, write as interesting as possible. Bad or confusing writing only shows our way of thinking that is not straightforward in breaking down the themes to become simple. Our writing is our signature. Make it as fun as possible for our readers to enjoy it. Get Rid of Nightmare Still, think you can’t write? Get rid of that nightmare. This is a mandatory skill for PR practitioners like us. Because we are storytellers. And, writing is one of the ways to do it. How to make good writing? Move your fingers to press on the keyboard. Start from one word and let the next word follow. We cannot judge whether the writing is good or bad if we never start writing our ideas.
COLUMN || 24 January 2020
What kind of Animal is Public Affairs?
By: Noke Kiroyan, Chairman & Chief Consultant of KIROYAN PARTNERS JAKARTA, PRINDONESIA.CO – In the first article in the Public Affairs column in PR INDONESIA Magazine published in January 2018, I explained about the background of the birth of Public Affairs. The main reference was “The Father of Modern Public Relations,” James E. Grunig. His theoretical framework after conducting a dozen years of study is “Excellent Public Relations”. Until today, it has become a guideline for best practices even though nearly four decades have passed. Grunig also has divided the variety of Public Relations (PR) activities into four categories, namely: press agentry/publicity, public information, two-way asymmetry, and two-way symmetry. The latter is the ideal according to Grunig. There is a symmetrical relationship and there’s no party that dominates, both the corporation and public. I will review press agentry and public information. These two forms according to Grunig, caused CEO in the United States to look for something “serious” so that public affairs was born in the 1970s. In a form of press agentry, public relations has a function as the company’s ”agent” for the press. Sharing news to propagate by creating a good publications about the company. Sometimes the reporting is not comprehensive. It is polished or only partially true. In this press agentry model, the positive news is the most important thing. The second model is public information. This model aims to convey information about the company appropriately to the public. Public relation officer in this model essentially carries out the function of a journalist within the company. Reporting news as-is, with no intention of propaganda or influencing opinion. Inhouse media is an example of the public information function. Specialization In this article, I need to repeat the ideas of Gruning above because there are still many who ask about what is public affairs? What’s the difference between public relations? Is public affairs a part of public relations? Is public affairs is typical to lobbying? Isn’t public affairs another term for government relations? Those questions are common. Given that public affairs is a relatively new specialization in corporate communication. Over the past several decades, there has been a change of meaning as well as many notions that are not part of or derived from an exact science. Moreover, all of the questions above are not wrong because, in its development, public affairs has covered the things that are asked. Even now the understanding has shifted to the direction that I reviewed in the first article mentioned above. Everyone has their own opinion about various things that have no standard or definite formula like public affairs. However, to give an objective and appropriate answer to the questions above, we surely need a reliable reference. My main reference, as said above, is James E. Grunig. Specifically, I refer to the book called Managing Public Relations which he co-wrote with Todd Hunt and published in 1984. Back to the similarities and differences between public relations and public affairs, I can conclude from the experience at Kiroyan Partners that around 50 percent of the activities are the same. However, there are several things that are typically done in public affairs companies, namely regarding public policy and the legal framework related to certain economic sectors. So, an understanding of the system and political dynamics in macro is needed to make the analysis. My two previous writings, namely “Mobilizing Public Support for Infrastructure Development” (October 2019 Edition), and “Public Debate About Energy in the German Public Affairs” (November 2019 Edition) are activities that are commonly carried out by public affairs companies. In its implementation, it could include activities that are normally done by Public Relations companies, such as media relations and event organizing. The activities that often carry out by Kiroyan Partners are creating stakeholder mapping and then the strategy for stakeholder management to determine company policies and also to help foreign companies understand the ins and outs of running a business in Indonesia. Including the legal framework for implementing activities in the related industrial sector. So, in this case, what is done are activities that include investment advisory. The following is an excerpt from the article made in Reputation Today magazine on April 23, 2019, by an Indian woman who leads the Public Affairs, Communications & Engagements functions in a multinational company, Mahathi Parashuram. This position oversees the functions of Policy Advocacy, Internal and External Communication, Relationships with the Media and Social Media and Corporate Social Responsibility. Closely Related She said, to carry out the Public Affairs, Communications & Engagement position, besides good communication skills, a good understanding of politics, issues relating to public policy and current affairs, organizational skill, and crisis management are also needed. Mahathi stated that public affairs is a communication between one organization with all its stakeholders. The focus is on the contact between politics, business, and the public. The function is to build long-term trust between the organizations represented and the stakeholders. Related to the matters above, it is interesting that there is a writing in the book Political Public Relations (Routledge 2011) that said in public affairs, the term stakeholder is used more often than public. Furthermore, is public affairs a part of public relations? Some argue that public affairs and public relations is a part of a greater understanding, namely Corporate Communications. James Grunig in 1984 even made it clear that public affairs was a special branch of public relations. For me, at the moment, it does not matter what is a part of who. But as I said before, around 50 percent of public affairs activities are typical to public relations. So, there is a close relationship between the two, even though these two notions are not the same and congruent. Therefore, I will discuss this more in-depth in a book that is planned to be published with PR INDONESIA in 2020.    
COLUMN || 22 January 2020
Move or Die
By: Erwinsyah, Head of Customer Complaints Service Unit and Information Manager for Bank of North Sumatera. JAKARTA, PRINDONESIA.CO – One of them is about how we must have the ability to adapt to rapid changes. The digitalization of information technology has brought great changes to the model of public communication and consumption patterns of information media. The changes now affect social behavior, economy, politic, culture, and so on. It seems that there are no more aspects in life that are not in contact with digital instruments, even from toddlers to adults. As a public relations (PR) practitioner, I try to see from the perspective of Corporate PR and Marketing PR in the midst of disruption. Some companies have been running fast to adapt to changes and threats of the disruption era. Relying on media relations skills is no longer enough for PR. Current conventional activities are not enough, such as technical work like media monitoring, public speaking, negotiation skill, friendliness, good speaking skill, stylish appearance, writing a press release, publishing advertorial or press kit, newsletter, and etc. Now, digitalization has taken over most of PR work, starting from the activity of building relations with the consumers and other stakeholders through social media engagement that is winning campaigns and measured. Doing media tracking and searching for news with artificial intelligence tools, doing brand activation, and impactful relationships. A strong reputation building by optimizing various social media platforms or by collaborative strategies with startups to achieve high traffic. PR Spirit Digital PR also requires PR practitioners to have basic skills in social media storytelling, copywriting, and creative content. A PR practitioner in the digital era must be trained in optimizing every digital campaign tool, such as operating the homepage and optimizing the landing page. Either by publishing organically through feeds on the timeline and through social media advertising such as Facebook ads, IG ads, Google AdWords such as Google Search Network and Google Display Network, and the like. A PR manager or marketing manager is required to have the ability to think strategically. Able to read the audience insights to do the right and relevant targeting, managing custom audiences for targeting, planning social media campaigns, organizing social media team, evaluating the work of social media, and mitigating reputation risks by crisis management approach. The question is, has your Corporate PR or Marketing PR team moved quickly towards changes in building a reputation, influencing public opinion, strengthening the brand, or maintaining customers’ loyalty? Reputation is the spirit of public relations and marketing. Without the ability to maintain a reputation that has character, integrity, honesty, right and creativity, the brand will fall and the marketing will be paralyzed. Reputation is an intangible asset, it’s invisible, odorless, tasteless, and intangible. In the digital era, the role of PR as reputation management is becoming increasingly important. The public is the netizens who are critical, fussy, and very quick to spread issues, fake news, or hoaxes. On the other hand, the media platform has changed, and disruption has also occurred in the PR profession. Well, what is your conclusion about the existence of the PR profession and PR management in the digital era? Yes, move or die. It’s a warning!
COLUMN || 20 January 2020
Building Genuine Friendship with the Media
By Emmy Kuswandari, PR Practitioner, Global Communications APP of Sinar Mas JAKARTA, PRINDONESIA.CO – They are always ready whenever we need them, and vice versa, I am ready whenever they need me, including at the time when they are grieving. Just like at the time when I received sad news about a photojournalist who died while on duty covering a flood in East Jakarta. It was sad. A sense of responsibility in assignments makes us sometimes neglect our own health, and probably that was what happened. Even though we do not know when our “contract” ends in this world. At the funeral home, there were already many colleagues have arrived with a sad face. They did not heed to the heat of the sun, they worked hand in hand to relieve the burden on the family so that the funeral procession went smoothly. They also took turns shoulder to shoulder to carry the coffin to the grave. My tears ran freely. Yes, I am sensitive about such matters. On the other hand, I salute them about their high solidarity. There was one time, almost at midnight, I who did not know the way other than from my house to the office had to slowly comb the streets around Bekasi. When I arrived, there were many colleagues who had come to the funeral home first. They are the friends of a journalist who passed away after previously having been absorbed in playing futsal with his colleagues.  This sad news alone was very moving. I could not bear my tears when I saw his two-year-old son clinging affectionately on his father’s body. Maybe he thought that his father was just sleeping as usual. There was also a fellow journalist whose child died before the age of 17. He only companied of dizziness, then taken to the hospital immediately by his parents. A few days later, it was sad news that we received. We call left and right to confirm this sad news. In a position like this, I was not sure if I can be as strong as my best friend. They were so strong and sincere in accepting this trial. We also once intended to visit a reporter who was sick. We were held in front of the hospital room door for a long time because the doctor was taking action. When the doctor was out of the room, the doctor called the reporter’s family to deliver the sad news. We can only be stunned. How we do not know the amount of time God gave. For this reason, whatever the time, if it is possible, I always try to come to the funeral., even if it’s only to offer a condolence to strengthen the family or to give prayers to the deceased. I always try to build friendship not out of necessity, genuine friendship is not merely come from work. As a PR practitioner, it seems that this is what we must do to remove the stigma of making friends with journalists only when necessary. Genuine friendships will transcend the boundaries that we create ourselves. I believe, friendship like this will enrich our personality. I will always try to be there for friends who feel like my own family, whatever the time.
COLUMN || 15 January 2020
Must Have Competencies for Impactful Communication Guidelines
By Maria Wongsonagoro, PR Consultant, President Director of IPM Public Relations JAKARTA, PRINDONESIA.CO – The first condition for effective internal/external communication is leadership. Companies/agencies need leaders and directors who understand the importance of public relations as a strategic management function, understand that communication is the essence of public relations (PR). A leader must support the system and procedure of strategic communication. If this condition is not met, then effective communication is difficult to achieve. The second condition is the governance structure. Communication governance, systems, and procedures in the form of Communication Guidelines, both for external and internal stakeholders. The third condition is competence. Companies/agencies need a competent communication team to run the communication system and procedure. I want to discuss the third condition more deeply. Several PR figures provide input about what competencies to look for if you want to recruit novice staff. Boy Kelana Soebroto, Head of Corporate Communications of Astra International said, recruiting novice staffs who have characters that are in accordance with Astra Leadership Competencies. Additionally, the minimum competency is to understand the knowledge and skills of corporate communication, as well as the interest in the field of communication. Arif Mujahidin, the Director of Communication of Danone Indonesia said, if he is looking for beginners for his team, the requirement is that they must be able to write, good in verbal communication, and fast to learn. In addition, they must be resilient because those who work in corporate communications need to work hard. If the candidate has had internships in several companies or PR consultants, this will be a plus. Ani Natalia, Head of the Directorate General of Tax’s Public Relations Sub Directorate, recruits candidates who are able to communicate verbally and nonverbally well, master the concept of stakeholder mapping, mastering digital communication, and have writing/photography/graphic design/video/public speaking skills. Dyah Rachmawati, Head of the Public Relations Division of the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI), said that the basic competencies sought are writing, foreign language (English), then graphic design skill, and ability to manage social media. The rest, various competencies are trained while running their tasks. Character and Attitude If the inputs above are summarized, it can be seen that mastery of knowledge and skill or basic competencies of PR and communication are necessary. But, what is more, important are character and attitude. They must have good interpersonal skills because they must be able to interact with other people, able to work in a team and resilient. In addition, analytical skill, strategic thinking, and strong reasoning. Above all, passion has to be there. Besides attitude, the basic competencies needed are verbal and nonverbal communication. PR will often speak in public. The ability of public speaking is a plus in recruitment. Furthermore, the skill of written communication or writing. PR is expected to be able to write at any time for various needs, not to mention bilingual skills, Indonesian and English are very necessary. An additional competency that is also sought nowadays is the ability to master digital communication. These competencies include understanding social media management, as well as capabilities in the fields of photography, graphic design, video production. If all of the above capabilities are mastered, then the PR candidate has a great opportunity to be recruited, because they are battle-ready. If you have not mastered all abilities, then join the public relations training program.
COLUMN || 13 January 2020
2020 PR Trend: Authentic, Relevant, and Humanist
JAKARTA, PRINDONESIA.CO – The dynamics of national politics which happening throughout 2019 did have a quite strong influence on PR practitioners in designing their PR programs. Some restraint themselves, but there are also those who dare to use the political momentum to grab the attention of the audience for their corporation/organization. This kind of story will still possibly appear in 2020, although the intensity is not as high as in 2019. The reason is that in 2020, simultaneous regional elections will take place in 270 cities/districts/provinces. Whatever it is, continuing the issues and dynamics that are developing this year, in 2020 it seems that the world of PR will still be tinged with issues surrounding the use of big data and the further effects of the disruption phenomenon. PR INDONESIA gathered several insights that will hopefully be used as a reference for PR practitioners in Indonesia to create more effective and optimal PR programs. First, the data will be a new best friend. As reported by, since digital has become an integral part of everyday life, then interpreting data is an important skill for every PR professional. In 2020, data will play a greater role than before. This will be needed to guide PR efforts, measure the impact and determine the value of PR comprehensively. In 2020, PR will be greatly influenced by in-depth and precise data, changing the way campaigns are made, run, and evaluated. So that next year, there will be many more highly focused PR campaigns that are designed to reach a specific audience. Second, more focused on PR specialists. As consumers become increasingly critical of marketing, PR professionals will receive more pressure. In 2020, there will be more PR agencies that focus on one industry. PR agencies’ work is also getting more specific. If it happens, the phenomenon of specialist advertising agencies that began to grow in the early 2000s will repeat. Quality Content Third, PR will be a part of the strategic marketing campaign. As many public relations companies will become specialists, then PR activities will be more integrated into the marketing function. The boundaries between PR and marketing will vanish. PR practitioners and marketing will work together, share their knowledge of the 2020 trends, and collaborate to produce success. Fourth, emotions become the focus. The world is now increasingly governed by an algorithm and electronic devices, which means that PR needs to have “human” elements to stay relevant when sharing a message. In order to be a “proof of the future”, PR practitioners need to deliver relevant content. To quote, in 2020 there will be more demand for relevant and authentic quality stories and content. Trust will play an even more important role in the success of a business and its relationship with the public. And fifth, PR must be the strategic function of management. The increasingly complex challenges of PR work make PR must be in a strategic position in front of the management. This is so that PR practitioners have adequate authority to execute strategic PR programs, to become a reliable spokesperson for the management, and able to manage sufficient budgets. In the end, in the midst of a speed race, the desire to get the most attention, it takes effort to get out of those traps. This is so that the message being communicated looks different so that it has a clear positioning for the audience. In short, looking for a “quiet space” among the crowd is a choice that is worth a try next year, so that PR campaigns are really effective, relevant, credible, and glorify human so that public attention can be attained. Welcome to 2020. Happy new year!
EDITOR'S NOTE || 13 January 2020
Speak Wisely
JAKARTA, PRINDONESIA.CO – Your tongue is fire. The classic proverb illustrates the risk of a speech that is often not thought of, and then it can result in a fatal consequence for the speaker. There are so many cases of misspeaking that trigger insult, offense, to personal and institutional crises, especially that comes from public officials. For example, a Minister’s words about “ankle-length trouser” “niqab”, and “radicalism”. Later, the Minister clarified all his remarks were not as the public interprets. He said that he did not forbid women from wearing the veil, but it should not be worn by the state civil servants while serving in a government agency. As well as the ankle-length trouser which is only forbidden from being worn by state civil servants while on duty. Another case is about a Governor who banned “poor” tourists from visiting his region. Again, this (wrong) remark was clarified by his subordinate as a “marketing language”. Although it has been clarified, both the Minister’s and the Governor’s remarks are a sign of a lack of good public communication. Whatever the reason, the racket has already occurred in the public. Imagine if they were never have spoken about some of the issues above, surely the potential for a racket in the public would never be created. Being a public official should have control over their speech if they are not sure about what you intend to disclose. Recklessly sharing a discourse to get a public response is not beneficial at all. Speak the Truth An important lesson for public officials from so many cases of misspeaking is the importance of learning to speak the truth. True in content and context. There is a Javanese proverb that says: “Bener ning kudu Pener”. The right speech must be accompanied by the right context or momentum. Because if it’s not, even if the content of the speech is true, if the momentum is wrong, it will potentially have a negative impact. How does public officials realize that their style of speech needs to be managed so that they do not speak recklessly?  There should be an alert from the communication team around the public official who dares to provide input on how the official speaks. Unfortunately, not all communication teams in the public official’s inner circles have the courage to remind the Boss. Sometimes they even ask for help from a third party to provide a good perspective on how to speak to the leader. Of course, this is not wrong. However, those who accompany the public official every day that must be able to remind them. This is a serious and interesting challenge for public relations (PR) practitioners who are in the inner circle of public officials. Either the Special Staff of Communication, the Head of the Public Relations Bureau, the Director of Communications, and the Communications Expert Staff. Their very important task is the same: Giving advice to the Boss in order to speak appropriately and wisely. I remember the principle of Ivy Lee, the father of modern PR. That PR, and of course the leaders, when speaking must deliver truth with accurate facts. Especially for PR, Lee advice for them to try to be close to the boss and can influence the policy/communication style that will be conveyed by the boss to the public/audience if it has the potential to cause a racket. O public officials, manage your communication (style) wisely and always remember Ivy Lee’s advice and the classic Javanese saying. If not, be prepared to face the storm of communication crisis due to incorrect and inappropriate remarks. Adieu! (asw)
EDITOR'S NOTE || 02 January 2020
Communication Harmony
JAKARTA, PRINDONESIA.CO – Communicating does require equality of position between the parties because communication is not only a transfer idea, there is also a character exchange. If the parties that communicate with each other have the space to accept each other’s opinions, surely the communication will run smoothly, and then harmony is created. The harmony of views, as well as the harmony of differences. The difference in every group to the nation is a gift, as well as a blessing that should be nurtured. Differences in ideas can result in a diversity of points of view. Differences in social backgrounds will give more colorful characters. Hence, social harmony always requires a willingness to “share”. Share opinions, share stories, to share wisdom. In this digital era, the disharmony phenomenon has the potential to spread everywhere, no matter the social and economic strata, and even culture. Counterproductive narratives that often circulate on social media are the trigger. Taking cover behind the anonymity of social media, it only takes a few seconds to trigger. Social Media Mask The “tragedy” of public polarization in the legislative election and presidential election last April, some of which was the result of the discretion of utilizing social media. The hereditary social assets of the nation in the form of tolerance can hardly be a catalyst for the disharmony potential of political choices. Harmony, social solidarity, and tolerance almost no longer shows its real face and covered by the masked face of social media. Communication harmony gets its real test in this digital era. Moving away from the digital approach is impossible. However, allowing counterproductive communication practices on social media is truly unwise. Educating the public in communicating in the digital era is the right way to strengthen back the social harmony. Additionally, it surely requires an exemplary attitude from the leaders. Counterproductive narratives that are displayed to the public at all times are the spice of conflict potential that triggers social harmony. It is time for the leaders to hold back the lust for excessive communication. More listening, less talking, and self-restraint are wise choices for the public. Carry out the communication at the right momentum and with a narrative that is nurturing for the social foundation of the public. Perhaps, it is sometimes necessary to keep silent, so that harmony is created when the communication occurs, instead of bombarding the field of communication with meaningless narratives. (Asmono Wikan)
EDITOR'S NOTE || 06 December 2019
Relevant Communications
JAKARTA, PRINDONESIA.CO – What Ridwan Kamil mean was that the messages and leadership style of every leader must really adjust to the public they lead. In concrete, if the people lead today use a lot of gadgets to communicate, then the leader must also use the same thing so that the messages they communicate are right on target. Although simple, but in practice, it is not easy to communicate in order to stay relevant. There are many factors that influence it. For example, the leadership ego. There are many leaders who are over-confidence if their leadership style is correct. The proof, they were re-elected as a leader through direct election democratic mechanism. So, what else needs to be changed so that it is relevant? The leadership ego also makes it difficult to adjust to the changes in the communication program being carried out. “If the program has been successful so far, why should it change again?” More or less that’s the answer that often came out when discussing program updates. Of course, programs that change every time are also not good. Continuity of work and communication programs is needed as long as they are still relevant to the targeted audience. If so, how to encourage “relevant” issues to become the “key” to any communication efforts? One of the best ways is to test the product/communication that is run through a competition. Another way that can be used is by using the audit approach. Ask the public, are the messages being communicated so far still relevant to the needs that the public wants to hear and know? If not, it is appropriate to make changes as soon as possible. Act Strategically Relevant in every situation becomes very urgent to always be confirmed, guarded, and reminded. Irrelevant communication messages, especially which are delivered by the wrong person and the wrong situation, will only worsen the situation. It can even lead to a correction of their reputation. The good news, if every communication message is able to be created and manage relevantly, it will further strengthen credit for the institution, leader, and whoever delivers it. The benefit, the reputation will rise high to become a positive balance to guard against a crisis situation. Building relevant messages also don’t need a lot of costs. It is enough to act strategically in understanding a situation, map clearly, design a good strategy and message, surely the communication will obtain a good result. And, of course relevant! Have your messages and communication style relevant? If it hasn’t, it’s worth to introspect, relearn, and test all the time without stopping until finding the relevant point to be communicated to the public. (Asmono Wikan)
EDITOR'S NOTE || 27 November 2019