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Interpersonal Skills Matter Most of All in the PR Field

Nino Subeliani, GEPRA Senior Consultant talked with Caucasus Business Week about her profession, career path and shared several pieces of advice in the field of public relations.

Nino Subeliani, has more than 10 years experience in PR and Marketing communications in NGO, Business and Consulting Service During her career she implemented several challenging and successful projects, information and sales promotion campaigns.

-Which PR companies inspire you?

-There are several inspirational companies in terms of management and organizational development, such as Ketchum, Ogilvy PR and Edelman, which have managed to achieve quick expansion on the international market. Edelman is also distinguished for its financial indicators and naturally this is a source of inspiration… Financial indicators prove that the company follows the right way, creates special products, carries out reasonable policies and occupies leading positions… It is important to study the experience of such leading companies.

-Which media agencies do you read or watch every day?

-Traditional media has been overwhelmed by social media. Therefore, I would say that I can see all the good content online. I can find all relevant issues here, starting from television content and ending with newspapers. However, it is my habit to keep a TV set on at home (even if I don’t watch I listen news of Georgian informational programs)…  Based on quality, my favorite TV channel is CNN with its Richard Quest program.

– What aspects differentiate PR from Marketing?

-These two directions are differentiated due to their goals… For a short answer we can say that Marketing has commercial goals, while PR works for image and reputation.

-Which of your media placements do you take pride in?

-I think it is the journalists who should be proud of media placements. We create grounds and occasions in PR for reaching good media coverage. Consequently, I would be proud of several media publicities where we can say that without PR, media content would not have been generated.

-What about your best project or period?

-I would specify two projects of HeidelbergCement: international educational project – Quarry Life Award, which was implemented in 17 countries; Georgia was a benchmark with this project is terms of communication and showed the highest results in public involvement and awareness increase. Another project is TbilisiMarathon, the first halfmarathon in Georgia, when we achieved mental and cultural change in public through an efficient communication process.  It became an annual event and I am proud of it…

-How do you manage to integrate social media with PR?

-Social media is one of the communication instruments and it is quite an efficient way to reach wide audiences and test communication messages. We focus on the tasks in each of the projects to achieve maximum benefits.

I would also like to note that social media loses efficiency without other channels, because, to a certain degree, social media comprises multiple functions – in practice, it becomes a communicator of materials distributed by other media outlets. Therefore, it is important to integrate several PR channels in a communication campaign to reach the best results.

-How would you characterize the results of your job?

-This is a long chain where each achievement paves way towards new success. Only after retiring will I analyze the final results, because results that I consider positive now may be seen differently after 2 years. Therefore, I think appraisals by other people matter more…. And they assert that I attain good results.

-How would you react if a client or manager opposed your PR strategy?

-I would prefer to avoid similar scenarios. If the strategy has its logical proof, chances for objection are very low. However, if there are several doubtful aspects and you rely on intuition rather than on arguments, then you should apply a theory of persuasion, and this is a separate art.

-How do you cope with crisis situations in PR?

-A crisis management policy should be developed, as well as management mechanisms, and this will minimize errors in crisis management. This is a strategic point to cope with crisis situations. This is our operational tool.

-Who are the members of you current team? What are their functions?

-At this stage various teams are working on several projects… naturally, roles are determined per project objectives… To be precise, their role is to carry out all activities in due deadlines at a high level and focus on details, because this is the most important factor in PR. One detail may change everything. We also try to be proactive in terms of management, to ensure that the right person is in the right place.

-What about periods when you act as a mentor or conduct trainings for colleagues; What personal features are required in similar situations?

-I frequently act as a mentor and I also hold trainings. I think it is important to be a Role Model in these cases.