“Be true to yourself.” Those were the words of Ed Timbungco, Manila-based publicist, as he stressed the essence of public relations, a crossover area for communication graduates.
The Public Relations Society of the Philippines, headed by PR specialist Norman Agatep, brought PR closer to home in Dumaguete through a PR caravan with the theme “Communication & PR: Winning Moves and Techniques.” The PR caravan, held via the Zoom platform, was hosted by the Kapunungan sa mga Mass Communicators, the student organization of Silliman University College of Mass Communication, and was attended as well by students from the Negros Oriental State University Department of Communication. The virtual event was opened by Dr. Earl Jude Cleope, vice president for Academic Affairs, and closed by Mass Communication Dean Dr. Madeline B. Quiamco.
Timbungco, one of the brains behind the lush green aesthetics of Mang Inasal Philippines, explained the relationship between PR and one’s own reputation. He said PR builds good reputation if one promotes understanding through effective communication, credibility through delivering one’s promises, trustworthiness through fostering relationships and being transparent, and empathy through establishing connections.
He cited some of the most iconic personalities who built their personal “brand” that changed the global landscape — Apple’s Steve Jobs, former US President Barack Obama, Lea Salonga, Vice-President Leni Robredo, and Olympic gold medalist Hidilyn Diaz.
Timbungco advised the students to make their own stories as a tool for building a reputable brand. Connecting with people and sharing a personal story will enable the public to see the “soul in a brand”.
Meanwhile, Norman Agatep, head of Grupo Agatep that was founded by his father Charlie Agatep in the late 80s, discussed how the students could equip and sharpen their toolkits to prepare them for careers in the field of PR after university.
Agatep condensed the career opportunities awaiting communication graduates: managing projects and communities, mapping out directions, understanding publics, writing copy, visualizing content, producing content, and liaising with media.
“There are many career opportunities in the industry depending on your skills in communication,” Agatep said. “You might play a different role in the entire spectrum of career opportunities for PR – but all with the objective of communicating with the various publics to create a mutually-beneficial relationship,” he added.
He noted that although everybody may able to communicate, only a few are actually able to connect with their publics.
He advised that to help sharpen one’s toolkit, students need to practice ‘lateral thinking’, or using creative approaches in solving problems. Knowing one’s essence, and being able to express one’s self is another way to enhance the toolkit, so that one could determine his personal strengths and weaknesses.
Agatep also stressed the importance of knowing how to read the signs and being adept with technology to be able to make and sustain connections.
“Live life more fully,” Agatep advised the students, as he encouraged them to find their interests and strengths, and to use them to create connections and build their own identity. (John Macklien Olandag, SU MassCom)