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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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Palm Oil and Public Affairs Dispute
By Noke Kiroyan, Chairman and Chief Consultant of Kiroyan Partners JAKARTA, PRINDONESIA.CO – Related to international trade, the issue that has drawn the attention of the public is the conflict with the European Union. The climax of the conflict occurred when the Renewable Energy Directive (RED) II was passed on March 13, 2019. This regulation would have a negative impact on palm oil export from Indonesia to Europe because palm oil is classified as a product that does not meet the principle of sustainability. Starting in 2030, palm oil cannot be used as biofuel. The European Union runs a policy about biofuel as their commitment to combating climate change as stated in the Paris Agreement on December 12, 2015. At first glance, the position of Indonesia and the European Union is difficult to reconcile, because the conflict is at two different levels. Indonesia’s economic interests in palm oil are huge. On the European Union side, the commitments they undertake have a long=term aim to mitigate climate change. In addition, their steps have been through a complicated legislation process and agreed by all member countries. The obstacles on both sides have caused the negotiation of the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement between Indonesia and the European Union to halt until today. We can analogize the European Union as a complex of 28 buildings. That complex is surrounded by thick and high walls. On the contrary, Indonesia is outside of the complex. No matter how angry we are, it could be undetected and blocked by high walls. Occasional visits or the effort to break through the wall through high-level visits will be less effective. There needs to be a consistent effort to influence policy. Stakeholder Analysis The path that we need to take is how we can jump over the wall. Make efforts to lobby in a planned and systemic manner from within. The European Union is a complex construction and difficult to understand by ordinary people in Europe, so it requires a public affairs consultant based in the European Union. Through stakeholder analysis, we map the parties who are stakeholders as well as what underlies their attitudes. Thus, it can be seen who is an obstacle to our palm oil commodity or on another hand can be an ally in fighting for the interest of Indonesia. In addition, lobbying has become an activity that is welcomed by the European Union as an instrument for obtaining input from various parties. All activities are in the Transparency Register which records complete locations of companies, specific organizations/NGOs, to whom officials are met, and for what matters. This list can be accessed by anyone on the European Union Website. There is an assumption that the European Union is a monolithic block that aims to block palm oil production. They are considered as rivals for biofuels developed in Europe itself, especially in the east, which is a plant called rapeseed. In fact, the world’s largest producer of this commodity is China, not the European Union. So, how far this cause becomes the main consideration that needs to be reexamined. We will find out through stakeholders analysis and after that advocacy through groups that can be made allies. This is where the palm oil industry (not individual companies) plays an important role. Other than the government’s effort at the level of government to government (G2G) through multilateral diplomacy, including bringing this issue to the World Trade Organization (WTO), the palm oil industry needs to take steps to maintain its market share in this high purchasing power continent through a public affairs approach. We still have time until 2030 to bring a change of attitude in the European Union.
COLUMN || 25 November 2019
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Types of Job and Consultant Business Ethics
By Noke Kiroyan, Chairman and Chief Consultant of Kiroyan Partners   JAKARTA, PRINDONESIA.CO – Pricing must be based on a fixed and clear reference, so that variations in contract prices are accountable. In terms of a long-term job and the nature of the job is relatively lack of variations, the form of the contract is generally retainer. This type of contract has a fixed amount and time of payment. For example, media monitoring and issues management. For a non-repetitive and large-scale job, payment is made in terms. Advances are paid the job begins. Then, the payment is made while the job is in progress. The benchmark is the agreed milestone. Then the last payment is before or after the job is finished. Jobs like this are called project-based consulting, such as training, campaign, or advocacy. For jobs that are difficult to determine at the beginning and also difficult to estimate the scale such as crisis management, the payment is usually set at a certain hourly rate. The billing is done weekly based on the hours spent. Consultants usually divided clients into two categories. For a new client whose reputation is not yet known, advance payment needs to be made. Conversely, if the client is well known and has a good reputation, prepayments can be ignored. There are also jobs with a high level of complexity or a large scale. This job requires a variety of jobs. The contract can include several types of billing. Jobs like this are certainly coveted by consulting companies. The company considers that about 2/3 of revenue coming from retainer is in ideal condition. Fixed costs for running a company can be coveted from this post because of the fixed amount of income. While the costs are not fixed and profits are derived from payments for project-based and time-based consulting. From a brief overview above, it is clear that projects that combine retainer and project-based consulting have the potential to give huge benefits. On the other hand, if the project ends, it will directly affect the company’s operation. What should we do? How to find reasons to extend the contract life so that income for the company continues to run? Honest and Open At the age of thirteen, Kiroyan Partners faced several such dilemmas. Even so, the decisions that we make always refer to business ethics. There was once a big project and for a quite long period of time. The retainer obtained from this client was a major component, about 30 percent of the company’s revenue during the duration of the project. We could have been looking for reasons to extend the contract. But at that time, we decided to remain honest and open with the client. When sending the final bill to the client, we include a not that the assignment for the project has been completed. We also did not forget to express our gratitude and readiness to work together again in the future. Clients really value our ethical attitude. Our relations are still well established today. On another occasion, a client provided additional work in the form of a research and training project. However, some of the recommendations we gave were not implemented. We believe that the company’s effort to improve its reputation must be preceded by a number of internal changes. When the contract is almost over, the client wants to extend the contract. While we know the steps that need to be taken have not yet been implemented by the company. In this case, the choice is very clear, we are not willing to extend the contract. We believe that consultancy will not succeed without change. In the end, as a consultant who upholds ethics and principles, we must not hesitate in doing our work. If we believe that there are steps to be taken based on data collected we must not compromise with our principles, even if it will result in the loss of a contract. The company’s reputation and sustainability are at stake.
COLUMN || 20 November 2019
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Message Acceleration in Internal Communication
By Krishna Pandu Pradana, PR Officer of the Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Indonesia. JAKARTA, PRINDONESIA.CO – Today, the majority of the people of Indonesia have been using the internet. According to data from the Indonesian Internet Service Providers Association, in 2017 there were 143.26 million Indonesians using the internet. Meanwhile, based on We Are Social, a British company in collaboration with Hootsuite, it was mentioned that in January 2019 there were more than half of Indonesians (150 million) using the internet and social media. Based on the data above, we can find out that social media is one of the important mediums in accelerating the message of an organization, both vertical and horizontal. If there was an SMS (short message service) that was only vertical or horizontal, now with the existence of social media platforms such as WhatsApp, Instagram, Facebook, Line, YouTube and so on, it has changed the communication pattern. Communication now is not only vertical or horizontal but can be a combination of both. For example YouTube, it can help accelerate message in a form of audiovisual. Instagram is suitable for targeting the youth with an interesting visual display. WhatsApp is very effective in accelerating messages because it can easily send messages widely in groups. The users of this platform are based on interests and similarities in the type of message that will be delivered. With the base of phone number on smartphone that is connected to the internet, WhatsaApp users can activate through a code that is given via a short message then send it to their personal cellphone. All telephone contacts that are saved are directly connected with other individuals in real-time. To become a member of a particular group, there needs to be someone who invited to join the community or organization. Informal Communication WhatsApp conversation group in the office becomes an example of internal communication that is able to accelerate messages both at the employee level to the leadership of the organization. The example of its implementation is in the Communication and Information Service Bureau (KLI), Ministry of Finance. WhatsApp can be used for various types of messages. Both the direct directives from the Bureau Head, notices from the Administration Section to small talks related to personal matters. The positive impact of WhatsApp at the KLI Bureau is at the time of tagline drafting and the making of the bureau logo which is now known with the tagline Building Public TRUST. All employees were involved in the form of competition determined by a deadline for submission. In addition, the Head of the KLI Bureau also rebranded the tagline and logo of the Ministry of Finance Library to Your Unlimited Knowledge. Several examples above were done to improve the communication relationship between employees so they can participate and contribute to advancing the organization and have high values and work ethics in each area of duty. Although it has many positive impacts to accelerate messages and improve communication within the organization, social media also has weaknesses and negative impact, such as the dissemination of invalid and unverified information (hoaxes), decrease productivity, causes indifference with the people around, easy access to get bad information, decrease creativity, and causes hatred. Despite the strengths and weaknesses of social media, norms and manners remain a very important factor. Because all members in the group have different characteristics and perceptions of the one messages delivered. Therefore, it is appropriate that formal internal communication for the organization (led directly by the highest leadership in the organization) can also be balanced with informal communication. The aim is to break the ice between the leaders and their employees in order to achieve the desired goals together.
COLUMN || 13 November 2019
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Learning from the Avengers
By Rita Nurlita, Research Sector Coordinator of Iprahumas/Public Relations Officer of the City of Depok JAKARTA, PRINDONESIA.CO – However, all are able to combine it into one powerful force. Maybe because of the increasing challenges faced and the strength of the enemy that must be fought, so they can no longer fight using only one or two forces, but they must be able to optimize and collaborate all the forces they have to save the earth. Observing this condition, I am reminded of my daily work as a government public relations (PR) officer. PR officer is a functional position that is given the responsibility, authority, and right to provide information and public relations services. The duties and functions of government PR officers are to conduct information and public relations services ranging from upstream to downstream which includes planning activities, information and public relations services, building internal and external relations, conducting public relations communication audits, and developing information and public relations services. The government public relations world is now developing very rapidly along with the increasing challenges of the government’s public relations work itself, as a result of the existence of the internet and the development of information and communication technology (ICT). The abundance of information that is crowding the public space every second, both through the mass media and social media, makes the work of PR today can no longer be completed by old ways. A government PR must be able to adapt, keep creating, and find new ways to communicate various government programs and policies so that they reach the public. Today, it is not enough for a PR to be able to cover, make releases, make clippings, and make publications in the conventional media. But, they are required to also have complex skills. Like the Avengers in the Endgame movie, a PR in the Industrial Revolution 4.0 must have the skill to analyze the situation like Doctor Strange’s character. Be nimble and never give up like Spider-Man. As tough as Thor. Have a good focus on setting targets like Hawkeye. As strong as Hulk, as well as gentle as Black Widow. Have high empathy like Mantis. Adaptive like Ant-Man. Have the ability to build networks and collaborate like Nick Fury. Have leadership skills like Captain America. Understand technology and have digital skills like Iron Man so that PR is able to be a content producer, as well as communicate them through various communications channels according to the target audience.
COLUMN || 09 July 2019

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