The function of PR and communication in Myanmar is to develop and build the long term reputation of a company, its’ products and its’s services through various strategies. Whilst Public Relations and communications often works closely with marketing/ media/ creative the two functions have different objectives. Marketing has shorter campaigns that are transparently sales focused, whereas PR is focused on managing the communication channels between the company and the stakeholders with the goal of positively imaging the brand.
There are many strategies that PR/ Marketing uses to enhance the reputation of the company, such as establishing relationships with various media outlets. For example if a new product is released marketing will pay for advertising space, but Public Relations relies on reputable sources to write positively about the brand. This happens when PR has established and promoted long term relationships with the media outlets. They often do this through organising networking events which gives provides opportunities for partnership and sponsorship on an ongoing basis. PR is the ultimate role in communication, both verbal and written, and writing content and press releases is also imperative, so as well as being highly social a PR practitioner also needs to have writing/ editing skills.
The PR for a company os often outsourced to a firm specialising in these relations, as it is people in this industry who tend to have the most knowledge and the best contacts on maintaining and establishing such relationships. But PR is not all press interviews and parties. PR is also a management role, but they do manage people they manage the brand of the company, and if something happens which may have a negative effect on brand and reputation of the company then it is the job of PR to manage that situation and “put out the fire”.
The field of PR/ Communication is very popular, and to enter into the field a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in PR/ Communication, marketing, or other related fields is normally expected. Also, the more experience one has the better as this not only have they had on the job training, but they have well established contacts.
Given the current economic growth that Myanmar is experiencing, and the multitude of international companies that are moving in, there is a high demand for PR and communication professionals to establish the company’s brand in the Myanmar marketplace, and to build relationships. Especially ones with excellent command on English and Burmese, as it is all about communication!
Most companies do not have a specific PR / Communications person: they will most likely outsource it, and have a spokesperson who liaises with PR in order to ascertain the best course of action in relation to the reputation building. For a PR professional, the role is dynamic, fun, and allows interaction with a multitude of stakeholders, as well as opportunity for travel.
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