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126 The PMO could do better.

January 19, 2012

The latest news that the Indian Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) appointed a new communications advisor is sad for several reasons. Here are six:

a) The PMO should have asked the incumbent to resign before announcing the replacement. It is always bad for the reputation of the incumbent and the organization when  a scenario like this emerges.  The better way to manage is make both announcements together.

b) The media team at the PMO already had an ex NDTV staffer in Binoy Job. Given the fiasco of the Radia tapes and Barkha Dutt’s (NDTV’s blue eyed girl) involvement in it, the PMO could have avoided another from the same stable.

c) In an age where social media rules the day, hiring someone with a social media expertise to manage the humongous image deficit would have been a good thing to do. The new appointee’s latest tweet goes to show what not to expect in the weeks and months ahead.

d) By hiring another journalist from a particular media house, the government is sending a wrong signal to other media houses that are neutral towards it, of a possible bias.

e)  By appointing just another business journalist the government is forgetting that communications is an art and a science that involves managing expectations, reputation and influence and a journalist may not be the best bet to manage this.

f) Finally, the government needs a major image re-haul. My gut feeling is the new hire will not be able to pull it off. Only time will tell.

Disclaimer – I have nothing against either Pankaj Pachauri or NDTV.  In fact I was one of the first to congratulate him on twitter as the news of his selection broke, thanks to the time zone I’m currently in.

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