JAKARTA, PRINDONESIA.CO – We met him on a cloudy morning, in his office in Jakarta on Friday (14/02/2020). According to Radityo, or Radit for short, it was only with this character and the willingness to continue learning that have made him got in this position. Sometimes he also does not believe it himself. Moreover, the eldest of four siblings is only a migrant from a small town, Salatiga, Central Java.
But, don't underestimate his experience in the public relations (PR) agency industry. This year, the Diponegoro University (Undip) alumni have spent a decade in his career in the world of public relations (PR).
To Ratna Kartika and Aisyah Salsabila from PR INDONESIA, Radit told about the challenges and the future of the PR agency industry. Here’s the excerpt.
In your opinion, what is the current issue of the PR agency industry in Indonesia?
From my observation, the issue of PR agencies in our country is still Jakarta centric. It can be understood because all the decision-makers and policymakers are in this city. Maybe the transfer of the National Capital will open up opportunities for corporations and public affairs to build satellite PR agencies there.
Because it is still concentrated in Jakarta, when I visited several local campuses, I still found the reality that their concept of PR agencies was almost non-existent. One factor is because local PR agencies are still rare. This is the challenge of PR practitioners in the country to open and expand the reach of this industry to all regions.
On the other hand, the factor could be because there is no need for an agency yet. Then the next challenge is how we can create those needs. I really hope that in the next 3-5 years, in terms of ecosystem, the distribution of PR agencies in the smaller regions will be more evenly distributed. Moreover, Indonesia is a large country, with many diversifications. This is an amazing opportunity.
Are there other issues?
I feel that there are still gaps in this industry, especially in terms of regeneration starting from the lowest level, middle level, to professional PR. The issue of regeneration is important for the continuity and sustainability of the industry and the PR profession. Moreover, demands for PR are more and more dynamic.
Therefore, I hope to contribute to encouraging the industry to move more swiftly and have a stronger commitment to building the next PR generation and leaders.
This good intention cannot be done alone, it needs collaboration and a big commitment from all elements. What do you think about it?
Right. There are so many public relations organizations in Indonesia, but do they communicate with each other? No one knows. Therefore, there needs to be one who’s accommodating communication. Well, why doesn't PR INDONESIA become the unifying agent?
When it comes to business, we compete fairly. But, for the sustainability of generations and the sustainability of this industry, let's sit down and move together.
What do you think is the dynamics of the PR agency at the moment?
When it comes to competition, generally the competition is livelier. There are various forms of public relations agencies from small to large. But the essence is the same: helping clients/brands to achieve their goals.
This competition must be observed from the perspective of the needs and demands of the market from clients. Especially now that there are many clients from increasingly diverse industries. Their needs are even more specific. Because of that reason, I believe there is always a market for every type of agency. We of DJE Holdings will always prioritize the needs of our clients and are very transparent if indeed we are not quite right as partners.
Now there are many startups companies. What distinguishes them from other clients?
The difference lies in the aspects of expectations, flexibility, and speed. This condition can be understood because their company's character is generally very modular and agile. Our approach is also different, the curation must also be strong. On the one hand, as an agency, we must persistently provide education to clients so that they are able to distinguish between needs and desires.
In your opinion, what should a PR agency do to be able to survive in the midst of tighter competition, more demands, and more dynamic changes?
First, they must be able to build a positive and trusted reputation in the eyes of the market both ethically and compliance.
Second, continue to innovate. No need to be grandiose and wanting to always be first and foremost. At least they were able to move as flexible and agile as their clients, which, for example, is a startup. Third, build team passion. Because all forms of innovation and creativity are born from the team.
What are the toughest and distinct challenges to be able to realize your concern earlier in this era? Is it about managing HR or a matter of technology?
Speaking of HR, by the way, this year we are waiting for the first wave of Generation Z to work as interns. In my opinion, whether it's millennials or generation Z, it's actually just a label.
Our challenge, especially me and the supervisors here, is the willingness to open hearts, minds to understand and curate persona, character, strengths, and weaknesses of each team member. Because basically, we are different people. Each person requires different treatment. Person A may need to be guided a lot, while Person B is sufficiently informed and does not like being overly controlled.
When it comes to technology disruption, it cannot be denied that this is indeed the biggest challenge in this era. Its development is extraordinarily dynamic. There are times when we cannot pursue that development even though it was only yesterday that we formulated a strategy that we think is the latest.
However, in my opinion, the toughest challenge is returning to our true identity as human beings. What is that? Communication. The essence of communication from ancient times until now has remained the same: human interaction. Human interaction is a matter of how we understand each other, try to have and look for the same vision, mission, and agreement.
This is the importance of the 3C formula (content, context, creative). In today's era, everything is about how we formulate a sincere and real communication relationship. Because back again, industry and public relations profession is a matter of convincing and gaining trust.
What is the most challenging experience that you have ever experience?
There are many. One of them was when our client, an airline company, received a complaint from one of the ambassadors. Actually, he experienced discomfort during ground handling or the process at the airport. Although it was not part of the aviation's responsibility, we still responded and handled it well and carefully.
Another experience that was also unforgettable was when the launch of one of the devices ended in chaos. At that time, I was handling another event in Semarang. Once I got the information, I went straight to Jakarta.
When in a crisis situation, the point is, we must remain calm, put forward empathy, prioritize handling victims, be honest, and sincere. And, choose an advocate who can see this event from a neutral context.
Speaking of the 20th Edition of the Edelman Trust Barometer, what can we learn from this research?
The global version has actually come out. We are preparing the Indonesian version. So, please be patient. Especially with the COVID 19 outbreak, we must also be more careful and empathetic. When it is ready, we will submit it to PR INDONESIA.
For the global version, what's interesting is the gap of trust which is slightly widened (from previous years) among the general population with the informed public. An informed public is a group of people/respondents who are quite active in finding and accessing information.
The increased level of news consumption with its engagement in the form of comments, likes, and shares is compensation from the many hoaxes and fake news. This prompted them to be willing to share when they find credible news.
Another thing that deserves attention, respondents assess the sources that are considered the most credible in the eyes of the public are employees. Especially, a team of experts from the company concerned. Therefore, it is important for companies to get trust from employees. Building trust from employees as the company's frontline, indirectly protect business success, help the operational to be more efficient, and help the business continuity.
How much impact will the findings have on how the PR agency industry works in the future?
We are required to be able to understand the client's business so that we have a more strategic role, not just execution. As a PR agency, we must also be able to show value (values) in order to have an essential role for clients.
In addition, we are required to be friends with data intelligently and wisely (ethical data) so that we are able to build communication strategies that have high relevance. In this noisy era, relevance combined with content becomes very important.
On the other hand, no matter how good our content is and its relevance, it will be useless if we are unable to package it into creative messages/information. Creativity is important to attract attention. Because PR tasks basically help to communicate the message/information to be conveyed by the company.
Therefore, now we know the term 3C. Content is the king, context is the queen, creativity is the princess. It is important for those of us who are in the PR world today to be able to formulate this 3C. Furthermore, this strategy can be applied more broadly to companies. One of them, through synergy with the marketing department, and many more.
How do you explore team creativity?
One of the advantages of a multinational public relations agency is that we have many opportunities and access to get the best experiences from many countries. So, there is no reason for us not to ask questions and study. Because by utilizing resources and having many sources is a way for us to be one step ahead.
Many graduates, especially the Department of Communication Studies, have difficulty choosing the path they will take first in the public relations world. What do you think about it?
In my opinion, all of that is experienced by almost all young people. This confusion occurs because they are confronted by many choices. The illusion of choice is what they must respond wisely. The method is to find a passion, determine your goals and you must become an agnostic channel. By digging and knowing yourself deeper, only then can we make a career road map that we will travel.
What is your hobby?
On the sidelines of rebuilding my stamina because I had a knee injury so that I’m now retreating from running, alhamdulillah (thank God), now I have a new hobby.
What is it?
Taking care of cats. I recently adopted a cat and officially became the father of a cat named Noro, he-he.
What dreams do you want to achieve?
Teaching has always been my other passion. Including creating a career center for friends or my fellow classmates. Because, in my current position, I need someone who can be a friend to share stories, but they must understand the context of our problem. (rtn)