“Data insights lend credibility to the story and allow audiences to view it”


The ‘2022 PR Outlook’ features industry stalwarts sharing their views on the industry’s move towards digitalization and AI, the transition, current trends, the future of PR industry, and more.

For today’s conversation, we spoke to Chetan Mahajan, Founder and CEO of The Mavericks, who talks about how data visualization has become a key differentiator in bringing rationality to a storyteller.


What do you think are some of the upcoming trends in the PR industry? What are some of the opportunities and challenges you have faced so far in 2022?

PR is a perfect mix of creating brand stories that will resonate, influence and impact stakeholders and gain an organic and authentic source to share those stories making them far more credible than paid advertising. The number of sources has become diverse and niche. What a Times Of India report could achieve five years ago requires 5 times the effort and 20 times the sources today, as the audience has dispersed. This challenge has been further heightened with COVID, forever changing the dynamic of public relations. I see three strong trends emerging in the new world order.

  1. A clearly articulated purpose and positioning statement is a must before you even start telling stories. Any communication that doesn’t hit the center of the bull’s eye isn’t worth wasting time on. The story must be rational, emotional, contextual and authentic to leave a significant influence on the audience. As simple as it sounds, most companies either don’t have a well-articulated purpose and positioning, or they aren’t understood as intended, even by internal stakeholders. I see more and more organizations starting with the why? Instead of what and how?
  2. Once the story is ready, building an integrated dissemination strategy allows us to have maximum impact and reach a significant portion of the audience. It is imperative to combine public relations with social media, digital, influencers and content marketing. It requires versatile individuals and diverse teams with magical collaboration to adapt stories to different formats with a well-planned, proactive and reactive dissemination and response strategy.
  3. Visualizing data from a storyteller’s lens becomes a key differentiator in bringing rationality to a normally full story. Data insights don’t just lend credence to the story; it allows the audience to view it, which makes it much more memorable and impactful.

The challenge is not to adapt to the new rules of the game and to be one step ahead of your customers and competitors.

Almost all organizations heavily leverage the digital medium for industrial activities. How do you see customers focusing on data personalization?

Most companies are hesitant to allow Marcom teams access to master data generated across multiple touchpoints. This data is used solely for strategic orientation purposes. A few organizations have started mining certain data to share solid trends and actionable insights. We are building an in-house team of researchers and data scientists to help our clients achieve this goal.

The PR and communications industry is now making its way into the era of podcasts. What are the benefits that professionals can derive from it?

Podcasts have a conversational format, not causal but informal, like a table conversation. Podcasts, especially organic ones, offer the same value as a print story, except they’re informal, authentic, emotionally charged, and served up in a fashionable, convenient format. One can multitask while consuming a podcast (like listening to it while driving), unlike a printed story which requires 100% attention.

How do you envision the future of the PR industry with the use of artificial intelligence?

In my opinion, AI can offer great value in terms of insights to understand the trends one can follow, the context one can leverage and the mix of distribution channels suitable for budgets in order to maximize the value for money. Predictive analytics, as it matures for our industry, can dramatically change the dynamics of public relations. Some things marketers and CEOs don’t like about PR is the uncertainty associated with organic stories, and that reputation is built one credible story at a time. Unlike paid advertising, organic stories lack any guarantees of time and accuracy. AI can change that for good.

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