Finally, a group that would really work for the Indonesian PR industry?

Unspun‘s been long dissatisfied about how the state of the public relations industry in Indonesia. There ar many putative professional PR organizations but all they do is talk, talk, talk and are dominated by a few over the hill figures whose main motivation seems to be to hold office and go on sponsored junkets. In the times that they hold workshops for PR practitioners they trot out these dinosaurs spewing PR theories a few decades old and bore the shit out of everyone.

So Unspun finally got of his ass and decided to do something about it. He started a Linked In group called Indonesian PR Practitioners and posed a question there asking how does one start something that would raise the bar for PR practitioners. He chose Linked in because it was less all-purpose than Facebook and is used more for professional purposes. And guess what?

He found some like minded professionals out there. Indira Abidin of Fortune was the first to respond and soon we had quite a few people interested (thanks also to Marianne Adamadatine of Ogilvy PR/Pulse who invited many others to the lunch meeting) in meeting up to get something stared. The result was an informal meeting at Pacific Place last Friday and Unspun thinks that there is a good chance that this attempt may succeed from the support given by the other PR consultancies so far.

Here’s what Unspun posted as minutes for the meeting in the Linked In Group discussion.

The Indonesian PR Practitioners had their first informal meeting yesterday at Potato Head, Pacific Place. It was well represented, given its impromptu nature.
Present were Indira and Miranty Abidin (Fortune), Misty Maitimoe (Stratcom), Dian Noeh Abubakar (Weber Shandwick), Marianne Adamadatine (Ogilvy PR and Pulse), Aurellio Kaunang and Sari Tobing (Unilever), Cynthis Setianto (Indopac Edelman) Laode Hartanto (Nutrifood), Fuad Afdal, and me, Ong (Maverick).
Those who sent their regrets were Lim Hock Jin (Cognito), Mark Winkle (Prisma), Chadd McLisky and Mayang Schriber (Indopac Edelman), Edwin Pierolle and Elvera Makki (Unilever).
Those present agreed on the overall objectives of the group and some basic principles:
•    The group would focus on delivering benefits to the profession in terms of professional education and other activities that benefit the PR industry; it would never want to be a mere talkshop
•    The younger PR professionals are to be encouraged to take a leading role as things develop; the older generation (those over 40) should just act on an advisory capacity
•    This grouping would remain informal for the time being and focus on raising the standards of professionalism and knowledge in the industry
•    There will be no distinction between firm/agency and in-house PR practitioners. We will have common programs and activities that benefit both types of practitioners. Later, if the grouping grows and if there is interest individuals can take the lead to form sub groups
•    All PR Practitioners are welcomed to join the group, whether they are from small or large agencies, in-house PR  departments and whether in the private or public sector.

The group then decided on two immediate initiatives that would benefit the industry.

The first is a salary and benefits survey of the industry. The reason for this survey is that no one seems to know what the industry is paying its consultants. The PR firms therefore do not know if they are underpaying or overpaying their employees and have no basis to benchmark their salaries and benefits.

Indira Abidin has agreed to take the lead in making sure that the survey happens and she will be opening a discussion in this group to solicit ideas and input on the parameters of the survey, as well as to update members on the progress of the survey.

The second initiative the group decided on are workshops for PR pracitioners. We came up with eight topics that we though would benefit practitioners in the firms and in house practitioners, who are also often the clients. The group also felt that these should be grouped into four one-day workshops with each day covering two topics.

All of the firms represented in the meeting pledged to send at least three participants to each of the workshops, that are likely to be spaced a month apart. The main beneficiaries of these workshops, the group decided, would be the younger members of the profession.

Marianne Admardatine volunteered to take charge of making these workshops happen. She will be forming a working group and opening a discussion on the workshops soon. Input on topics, format and expectations will be most welcomed.

The topics the group decided on as potential ones are:

1.    Client Servicing Skills
2.    Messaging, how to frame and write key messages
3.    PR in practice vs PR theories (especially for newcomers to the profession)
4.    Presentation Skills
5.    Briefings and Debriefings – how to take briefs from clients, write briefs
6.    PR Writing Skills
7.    Social Media and PR
8.    Evaluation and Measurement of PR programs
The meeting ended with the group also agreeing that they will ask their friends, clients and staff members who are PR practitioners to become members of this group, and to use Linked In as the communication platform for this group.
That’s as I recall the meeting. If I have left anything out or misheard some points, please add or correct me.
I’ll do an update on the progress of decisions made at this meeting in a week to 10 days, so stay tuned.

If you are a PR practitioner in Indonesia please join the group to get informed nd give us our support to raise the bar for the profession. Its open to anyone, regardless of nationality, whether you are from a large or small consultancy or if you are in-house, working for non-profits or for-profit organizations. Everyone’s welcome.

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