JAKARTA, PRINDONESIA.CO – He seemed in a hurry when we met him in one of the rooms of the Astra Tower, Jakarta, Friday (13/12/2019). "So, what should I do?" he asked in a quick tone.
It has been eleven years that Boy, the father of one daughter, worked with Astra International. During that same period, he was a witness and was involved in bringing changes to the Astra Corporate Communications. Along the way, the existence of PR is even more calculated and strategic.
There are many dreams that he wants to achieve with Astra, especially in the field of communication. One by one the dream came true. For example, the communication manual named Astra Communications Management System, a legacy dedicated to Astra and its future generations. To Ratna Kartika from PR INDONESIA, this 47-year-old Hong Kong-born man told the story.
What are the dynamics of PR in multi-industry companies like Astra International?
Public relations (PR) must always move to keep up with the dynamics of the times, not stop innovating because world development is accelerating, including at Astra. From the digital side, Astra strives to be active on social media. Although relatively new, Astra is trying to build the character of Astra's social media accounts so that it can always be present in the lives of each of Astra's stakeholders who are increasingly dynamic.
In terms of internal communications, Astra built the Astra Communications Management System (ACMS). The goal is that all Astra Group communication teams can move and work with good standards that have been mutually agreed upon, which is in accordance with ACMS competency standards.
What are the ACMS competency standards?
There are eight competency clusters. The first is for Internal Landscape, participants understood the basic knowledge about Astra. The second is Business Landscape, participants understand the factors that can influence Astra (focus on the economy, finance, law, and public policy). The third is Corporate Communications Skills, participants can understand Corcomm's knowledge and skills, both hard and soft skills.
The fourth is Corcomm Strategic. Participants understand the strategy and framework as a process flow, concepts, and use of data for long-term organizational goals. The fifth is Internal Communications. Participants understand the scope of work of internal communication as an organizational function, including employee and Astra Group communication.
The sixth is External Communications. Participants understand the scope of work of external communication which refers to information between the organization and external stakeholders. The seventh is Media Engineering. Participants understand how to build relationships with journalists and the media to convey company information in a positive, consistent, and credible manner. And, eighth, Digital Communications. Participants understand how to utilize communication technology and create persuasive communication in digital media.
What crucial issue is the industry currently facing?
The era of the industrial revolution 4.0, known as the era of disruption, is a challenge for a PR. In this era, information is spread faster and more widely where the community is not only a recipient but also a conduit of information. This certainly makes PR have to be more alert in responding to existing issues.
How do you and the team respond to the issue?
Don't reject technology. Public Relations must take on the role of channeling information with a publication supported by technological knowledge. In responding to an issue we must also try to package the narrative well and lead to positive news.
In addition, as a PR, what is needed not only the ability to prepare content in accordance with the communication channel, but we must also know how to use and respond to the communication channel.
What communication program is currently a priority of the Astra International PR unit?
Throughout this year, we are still communicating the flagship Astra SATU Indonesia Awards dan Kampung Berseri Astra – Desa Sejahtera Astra. The Program Semangat Astra Terpadu Untuk (SATU) Indonesia Awards which this year has entered a decade and has awarded 305 young people. It consists of 59 national-level recipients and 246 provincial-level recipients in five fields, namely Health, Education, Environment, Entrepreneurship, and Technology. Some recipients of the award have been collaborated by Astra with 86 Kampung Berseri Astra and 645 Desa Sejahtera Astra in 34 provinces throughout Indonesia.
How strategic is the role and position of Corcomm?
Corcomm Astra is directly under the President Director. This shows that its existence is important for the corporation. Secondly, our line of communication goes directly to the President Director, so there is no need to wait too long and everything can be decided faster. This is also because we have to know all the information because Corcomm is tasked with building a positive reputation and company image. These tasks and responsibilities are quite big and hard.
Moreover, as the saying goes, the higher the tree the stronger the wind blows. Likewise, with Astra. Issues can arise at any time, even created by others. Therefore, we must be prepared to face them, not avoid them. So, the important thing for Astra is not superman, but a super team. So, Corcomm, for example, cannot stand alone. We must coordinate with cross divisions ranging from corporate legal, corporate strategic, investor relations, to corporate HR, so we know what is happening.
There is an issue about HR in the public relations industry. Especially about the number of graduates who are not ready to work. What do you think about it?
We cannot deny that there are many differences in HR capacity in the public relations field. Therefore, we have applied the ACMS - the communication handbook for all Astra Group public relations components - in which there are eight Corcomm Astra competencies. After implementing ACMS, we conducted an assessment for Astra Group companies and individuals.
In your opinion, what competencies do PR practitioners need right now?
In general, there are many competencies expected by a PR practitioner, especially Corcomm Astra. Ha ha. Such as he/she has basic knowledge and skills about communication such as public speaking, writing, and research. Astra Group Corcomm personnel must have good interpersonal skills so they can communicate and foster good and professional relationships with all types and levels of stakeholders.
They also must have complete knowledge and understanding of the company's business and industry related to the company. Having good analytical skills and being able to sort information according to the needs of stakeholders - which can be or should not be disseminated.
Other things that are no less important, they must be able to adapt to the times, such as the development of social media and digital technology. Furthermore, have good language skills, especially English both oral and written, high flexibility, open-mindedness, and the desire to keep learning.
What is the message for young people who want to follow in your footsteps as PR?
Don't be complacent easily. Keep trying to achieve the best, be able to work together well, and prioritize benefits for others.
Since when do you have a passion for the PR field?
Wow, It’s a long story. I studied law at Sebelas Maret University (UNS), Solo. I was stressed out, not because I took the wrong major, because formal education is important and to this day the knowledge is still in use. But, it’s because I live and grew up in Jakarta, even though I'm actually a Solonese.
So, It felt so different. In Solo, at 7 pm was already quiet. I thought, in order to feel at home, I had to find something to do. At first, I returned to Jakarta almost every week. I also ventured to apply as a radio announcer. It turned out to be fun. From there, I know the world of communication. Starting from making radio ad scripts, producing programs, making off-air events, to becoming a master of ceremonies (MC).
After I graduated from university, I returned to Jakarta. I once worked in the legal publisher section, but it did not suit me. Then, I moved to an advertising agency company. It turned out to be amazingly fun. I was like finding my world again. I could create ideas, prepared concepts for different brands and segments. It’s called looking for a passion, what we like, and what is inside us.
Imperceptibly, I had been in the agency industry for almost ten years. During this time, we did not only handled advertising, but also PR, from activities to the media. I once returned to the radio again, but I came back to the agency industry until 2008. Actually, in 2006, I had received an offer to join Astra. However, only two years later I received the proposal from Astra. Maybe this is what we called destiny.
At that time, I was offered a choice for internal relations or external relations. I chose internal relations because I felt I needed to learn a lot from inside. After I was mature enough, then I would be ready if one day I was asked to talk about the company and manage external communications. I also have the responsibility as the Head of Internal Relations Manager.
What is it feel like managing internal relations?
I had an amazing experience. Previously I only knew Astra from the outside layer, now I know what the inside is like. We must understand the company's vision and mission, corporate values, then modify and communicate them.
As an internal relation tasked with moving employees internally, we have partnered with many human resources (HR) from the head of industrial relations to the head of human capital. We have created many new activities including information technology as part of efforts to strengthen internal integrity.
In 2014, I got the mandate as Deputy Head of Corcomm. Four years later, to be precise in 2018, I was entrusted to be the Head of Corcomm of Astra. At that time, I initiated the existence of central resources. Since we first joined Astra, we only knew two departments, namely internal and external relations. Well, this central resource is the part that manages PDCA (plan, do, check, action).
Now Corcomm consists of internal relations, government relations, media relations, brand communication, and central resources. Last year, for the first time, Astra had ACMS. The existence of this Astra communication management system guide has been my concern for a long time.
What do you think about PR trends in 2020? How should PR address this matter?
The old perception that public relations only function as media relations, making clippings, protocols and publications in conventional media must be abandoned. Now, this profession is demanded to have more complex skills.
Although the disruption of technology has changed the way of work and the process of the PR world, on the one hand, this can open up new jobs. With notes, we are keen in looking for loopholes, not afraid, keep on a line with developments, and master technology. Technology must be our slaves, not the other way around.
You have a background as a broadcaster whose image is identic as someone who loves to talk, but if I look closely, you seem like a calm person. Actually, are you tend to be introverted or extroverted?
I may seem calm because I am a Solonese, he-he. Actually, I like meeting with friends because I'm the type of person who likes to chat, discuss, and network. There are times when I'm happy to be in a calm situation. But it does not mean spending my time alone, it’s more spending my time together with my wife and children. Being alone can be boring.
What is your hobby?
Culinary and traveling. For culinary, I like to enjoy local specialties, especially those that are soupy, fresh, and hot. When traveling, there are times when I don't need to go far. Luckily, we have Bali. Traveling with my wife and children to Bali is enough for me to replenish my energy.
Do you like coffee or tea?
I like both, but I’m not one who has to consume them every day. Actually, I prefer water.
What is the principle of your life?
I have the principle that I must give benefits to others. I just feel bad if we live, but we do not benefit others. Because we do not know how long we will live. I also learned and became more motivated by the recipients of the SATU Indonesia Awards. They, in the midst of limitations, can still benefit many people.
What is your dream?
My big dreams are to make Indonesia a glorious nation through my role as PR. I know it's a big thing, but we can make it happen through what we do now. And one of them is through Astra. (rtn)