Wing Wiyarso, Semarang City Government: Building Effective Communication
PRINDONESIA.CO | Fridau, June 12, 2020
Wing Wiyarso, Semarang City Government: Building Effective Communication
For the mayor, public relations is not only a

Wing Wiyarso - Head of Public Relations and Protocol of Semarang City Regional Secretariat

JAKARTA, PRINDONESIA.CO – A day later, we promised to meet in his office. Although, he was busy preparing for the annual PR Indonesia awarding event in order to appreciate the performance and achievements of PR people in the country.

The conversation flowed without constraints and was even more exciting when this 53-year-old man spoke about his hobbies, which are off-road and fishing. As it turned out, these hobbies formed the character of Wing into a person who is adaptable, likes challenges, and has high resilience. Moreover, the world of public relations is known to be dynamic and demands high speed.

The Coronavirus Disease (Covid-19) outbreak that is currently affecting Indonesia, including the city of Semarang, as well as the separation of time and distance between Semarang and Jakarta, did not dampen his enthusiasm to fulfill our request to cover and fill the April edition of the Interview rubric.

Although we know that Wing as the front guard must be busy carrying out his role as an information conductor in the middle of a pandemic. Especially during this period, he is included in the Department of Management and Recovery of COVID-19 Response Acceleration Task Force of the City of Semarang.

To PR INDONESIA, the man who pursued his Master’s degree in Public Administration of Diponegoro University (Undip) told us about his love for Semarang City and his hopes for the public relations generation of the Semarang City Government. Here is the excerpt. 

Previously, let us congratulate the Semarang City Government for the first win of the highest award, Platinum, at the 2020 PR INDONESIA Awards (PRIA). In your opinion, what does this competition mean for the Semarang City Government?

Thank you. We see that the competition is a means for public relations of the Semarang City Government for self-evaluation as well as learning from other regions or governments about efforts to create activities and the role of government public relations that fit with the challenges of the times.

What does the Semarang City Government want to achieve from this competition?

The predicate as a winner is a bonus. Most importantly, the public, especially the residents of the City of Semarang, can experience public relations programs/activities. From the assessment of external parties at the time of the competition, we were also able to ensure that our public relations activities had been on the right track, or vice versa.

Even if there are still some that are not perfect, we know where the weaknesses are. Because during the judging session, we had the opportunity to get feedback from both the judges and fellow participants.

On the other hand, we also often get ideas from public relations programs conducted by other public relations practitioners. Reduplication of public relations activities from other relevant organizations carried out and developed in our organization is expected to make public relations activities give more benefits and impacts on society.

In your opinion, what are the dynamics of public relations in the government agencies in the current era?

In the era of all-technology or the industrial era 4.0 as it is now, the dynamics of public relations, especially those in government agencies, are not only faced with the problem of how public relations can carry out its functions to build a positive image of the local government - in this case, the Semarang City Government.

However, at the same time, public relations must be able to respond quickly to the information needs needed by the public. One way to maximize it is by using various platforms for disseminating information ranging from websites, Twitter, Facebook, and other social media.

In essence, public relations in the current era is faced with the challenge of being fast both in updating the latest information and responding to criticisms, questions, and public input.

How strategic is Mayor Hendrar Prihadi looking at the role of public relations today?

Our Mayor, Hendrar Prihadi, or we usually called Mas Hendi, sees public relations as an agency that has an important and strategic role. For the Mayor, public relations is not only a "mouthpiece" or the frontline of information delivery of leading government policies to the public. More than that, public relations is the mayor's neck. That means public relations plays a strategic role in encouraging people to move together to build the city.

What was Mayor Hendi's message when you were appointed as Head of Public Relations and Protocol?

Public relations must be an important part of the local government as the creator of the leadership brand image and Semarang City to a wide audience. In addition, public relations play a role in supporting and socializing the leadership's policies, as well as being the spearhead in building the image of the City of Semarang as a tourist city.

The key to all of that is communication. How we can package that communication and then publish it so that the community and all stakeholders understand, provide support, even want to get involved and participate.

To achieve that goal, one of the efforts is that we must increase cooperation and expand networks. We also have to be learners and move quickly so we can keep abreast of the development of the era which is very dynamic.

Especially, the dynamics of how to package and communicate local government programs/ policies to various communication channels. Thus, the information that we submit to the public is relevant, distributed in the manner and channels they are interested in.

What is your strategy for realizing that?

The first step we took at the time was improving the way we manage and develop official sites and social media of the Semarang City Government. This part is important. Because, this channel allows us faster - but still accurate - in conveying information. In addition, it is easy for the Mayor to capture and digest the aspirations and expectations of the public.

Even so, establishing relationships with the media remains our main concern. In essence, we always try to get messages and information to the public to be delivered in various media, not only printed and mainstream media but also to adjust the information needs of people from various backgrounds and ages.

Meanwhile, to facilitate communication within the organization, we develop public relations applications. Its existence aims to support the implementation of our main tasks and part of our commitment to always realize effective communication in line with technological developments and times.

Is there a special team that manages the new media platform?

There is. This special team is needed because the dynamics are very fast. We have a creative team that specializes in managing social media or the new media platform. The team consists of non-state civil servants who are millennial generation and state civil servants who are responsible for managing all administrative and governance processes within the team, including conducting evaluations.

In your opinion, what are the challenges while traveling the world of public relations?

As a part that plays a key role as a determinant of success in forming the leadership brand image and Semarang City to a wide audience, public relations must be able to carry out the communication function properly.

If they are not good at communicating it to the public and cannot capture what the community hopes from a policy made by the government, miscommunication will arise. If that happens, the biggest impact will be rejection.

Here comes our challenge. We must be able to convey the policies of the Mayor and the City Government of Semarang. Then, package, distribute, and socialize it well, even to be translated into event form.

Especially now that we are forming the image of Semarang City as a tourist city. To achieve that goal, we intensively do various events and festivals. On the other hand, we live in an era in which society is critical.

The program must be authentic, interesting, creative, and memorable. If not, the euphoria can disappear in a matter of time. Or, they simply respond with, "Ah, these are just the same with other places. Just imitating."

But, if it is successful, the impact is extraordinary. The presence of many guests, both from local, out of town, and internationally, has the potential to make the economic wheels of the community increase. Their understanding of the programs and policies that are becoming the main focus and is being intensively communicated by the Semarang City Government is also getting deeper. The hope, the love for this city will grow. Hopefully, they are interested in investing. Because of that goal we carry out various activities.

Here is our job. Elaborating public relations agenda through various programs and events that can increase the attractiveness and interest of the public to invest in this city. This strategy is carried out to support the transformation of Semarang City into a City of Trade and Services, one of which is the tourism sector.

Various interesting and innovative activities were created to make more and more publics know and understand the programs and communications being built by the Semarang City Government. On the other hand, they also see business opportunities in this city. 

In the midst of a Corona pandemic, what is the role of public relations in assisting and supporting the tasks of the Semarang City Government? What strategic, creative, and innovative communication strategies are employed?

Comprehensive strategy both on land and in the air. On land, we communicate with other agencies, in this case, Forkopimda, to work together in combating Covid-19. Public Relations and Protocols have a role as a bridge of communication between elements.

In the air, through the media. We continue to share information in the form of news, talk shows, social media postings that contain invitations so that the citizens of Semarang don't panic, know what they have to do and what the City Government of Semarang is doing. Thus, creating public trust in the performance and seriousness of the leadership as well as the government in protecting its citizens and deciding on this outbreak.

Regarding innovative communication strategies, some time ago when we meet together to spray disinfectants, we made unique sentences and passages addressed to the public so that they were moved to want to follow the government's call. As it turns out, this method is effective in making citizens stay alert, not panic, and obedient to government policies.

In your opinion, what tactical steps should be taken when dealing with a crisis?

First and foremost is giving our sympathy and empathy to the affected community. Second, if there is a government policy that creates a counter in the community, honestly and clearly convey the purpose and objectives of the policy to the community.

What is your hobby?

My hobby is Jeep off-roading. Maybe it's because of my character who likes challenges. I've loved racing since I was young, a motorcycle race. Since middle school, I have built a motorcycle and engines for racing.

Where did you learn it?

I learned it myself from watching my brother. I come from a family that loves the automotive world. It's nice to work on engines. My love for cars grew during high school. And it was getting crazier. Haha. I tried all kinds of racing, starting from rally, sprint rally, slalom test. 

After that, I love off-road. A hobby that has lasted until now. I fell in love with the adventure experience. Starting from entering and exiting of the forest, opening lanes, to the speed off-road. Since 1996, I have been entrusted as the Chairperson of the Diponegoro American Jeep, the oldest jeep community in Central Java. I am also an administrator of the Indonesian Off-road Federation (IOF).

What is your principle in life?

If you want the ultimate goal of your life to be in heaven, then do good to all people regardless of class, age, race, religion. No need to see if they’re rich, educated, and etc. I am happy to have many relations.

I also gave this principle to my children. "If you are being friends with people, you don't need to see who they are and where they come from. What's important is that the person is positive and makes you a more helpful person. "

What dreams do you want to achieve?

I want to be a person that gives benefits to the nation. For my family, I want to be a good husband and father to my wife and children. When it comes to working, I want to be the best and be able to carry out all the work entrusted to me. Do the best! (rtn)

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