Re-Branding a Failing State – Part 2

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(Continued from: https://ubd26.wordpress.com/2014/09/19/re-branding-a-failing-state/)

The campaign to morph the current ‘Dark-Ages’ perception into a masterpiece of the ‘Renaissance’ will take more than the combined efforts and creativity of the great artists of that era. First and foremost, it is not something which will happen overnight; a huge amount of time will be needed to change mind-sets. A massive amount of funding will be needed to sustain the campaign consistently for a long period of time. Above all else, a lot of careful planning will have to be carried out to decide on the image we want to promote and the roadmap needed to achieve the goal. A centralized PR Organization will play a pivotal role in this development.

Pakistan came into existence in 1947, but sadly, it has never had a centralized public relations department. America in contrast set up its very first PR committee during WW1 and later founded The United States Information Agency (USIA) in 1953 to act as a primary agent in shaping America’s image abroad. The first step in re-branding is the urgent need to set up a similar nationally funded PR Organization which will allow for a more comprehensive and central PR effort at home and abroad. The organization would need to chalk out long-term plans to curb the negativity surrounding the country and devise campaigns to improve relations with international policy makers. The objectives should be:

  • Advance political objectives of the government
  • Present a better image to the world at large
  • Eradicate stereotypes associated with the country, its citizens and the military
  • Help the government in modifying laws and regulations inhibiting Pakistan’s activities abroad

Once a centralized PR organization comes into the fray, there are numerous steps that it can take to put the objectives in motion. The first basic step of such a PR organization would be to appoint one Public Relations Officer (PRO) at every Pakistani embassy across the globe. The PRO will disseminate important information to the media of that country and work in tandem with the Pakistani Ambassador to improve relations with government officials. The PRO should be an expert in crisis management if the need arises in formulating strategies to counter any negativity in the said country regarding Pakistan.

The PR organization can go a step further and hire agencies in key strategic countries i.e. America, India, Afghanistan and China. A local agency will work towards establishing better government relations, assist in local communications with stakeholders, and advancing Pakistan’s commercial interests in the said country. A local agency shall formulate better strategies due to the vast local resources at their disposal and shall draw help from the fact that they would be the ones to know best the culture of the public and the best media for putting forward the Pakistani agenda.

(To be continued.)

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