PR Specialist Day is celebrated today in Russia. Aleksandr Chumikov, general director of the International Press Club. Chumikov PR and Consulting agency, the head researcher of the RAS Institute of Sociology, doctor of political sciences, professor, and member of the SUSU Supervisory Council shared his rich experience in this area and told us about the in-demand areas and interesting projects.
– Aleksandr Nikolaevich, tell us, how did you begin your PR career?
– I came to PR from journalism, where I walked a path from special correspondent to the main editor of the Moscow city newspaper. I believe that moving from journalism to PR is the best path of development, since a content PR specialist must be able to do anything a journalist can, plus some.
In 1992 in the labor book, a note was added: head of public relations of Siti AO. No one knew what these words meant. I also didn't believe in the success of the construction of Moscow City – the largest city building complex in the capital for all time and all peoples. But City stands!
– What things did you come across in the beginning of your career?
– With great ones! In the 90s, on one knew what PR was. No one knew how to hold simple press conferences! There was almost no competition. But the fees were high. Politcal strategy was considered magic which guaranteed success in elections. The PR business is the same as guaranteeing sales. However, all of this ended quickly with the introduction of the first crisis in 1998. After this we had to work with our brains, not by showing off.
– How has Russian PR changed Today? Are there any new, special things in working as a PR specialist?
– It has changed, of course. With the introduction and development of internet communications, the volume of available information has increase. And the concept of “fact” was completely replaced by the concept of “meaning”. Earlier, it was considered unethical to lie. Now, it is not necessary to lie. To support the meaning you need, you can choose any absolutely truthful facts. This is now the mastery of a PR specialist.
– What is your opinion – what are the most in-demand areas in PR in the market today?
– Any area that leads to a result. Earlier there was the excuse that PR doesn't influence, it enables. Now it is different. Name your methods as you want – PR, not PR, but give a result. Everything together is called communications. Build any communications correctly and there will be a result.
– You are often included in the juries of professional contests. Can you name a project that impressed you and that was memorable?
– I have been in them and I still am. I am the chairman of the organizational committee and member of the jury for the largest, most prestigious, and most popular journalism contest in our country – Patriot Russia. This year is the 16th already, and the final event will be held in Tula. Last year it was held in Chelyabinsk. Journalists from many regions of Russia were impressed by the sights and hospitality of the south Ural region.
I am also the long-standing chairman of the jury for the Russian student PR-project contest called Khrustalniy Apelsin (Crystal Orange). This is a great contest, in which students show their mastery. I want to remind you that the contest joury participates in and evaluates the work of leaders of the largest PR agencies in Russia. Not one veteran PR specialist has ever declined or evaded. Your works are really being read and evaluated. So, it is worth going through “battle testing” and accumulate your portfolio with this contest.
– Which contests that you've come across, led, or in which you've participated have impressed you the most?
– I wont speak of the distant, romantic, and extreme – we'll focus on the Chelyabinsk region. For five years I worked at the Magnitogorsk Metallurgical Combine, we thought up and realized a project entitled “Magnitka – from Black Monster to a Place Attractive for Life and Work.” And “The Faces of Magnitka – Peoples' Album,” when we needed to get rid of the disjoint between the views of those who worked in the combine and the rest of the Magnitogorsk residents. We succeeded. Then we did the same for the region as a whole.
And now – there is a really great project for SUSU which is a participant of the 5-100 program, which is dedicated to the university entering the top-100 of international university ratings before 2020. I consider it an honor to participate in this project both as a PR specialist and as a member of the SUSU Supervisory Council.
– What can you wish to PR specialists on the days leading up to their professional holiday?
– Master three required “whales”:
copyright in all possible formats;
informational auditing for organizations, products, and projects using electronic media libraries;
prepare qualified presentations.
Today's students are more or less okay with the third, but with the first two there are issues.
– Please write a short parting note for SUSU students who have chosen this profession and for those who are just wanting to enroll in the PR and Advertising program.
– My parting note is very simple: quickly move towards your field-specific work – it's fine that they will be free for the first time as some kind of practical training. At the latest, after the first year. And how can you combine work and academics? Get stepping!