Sunday, February 19, 2012

Accentuate the positive image and eliminate the negative image globally - Tony Good tells India

"The news coming out of India to countries outside tend to have more of negative aspects.  Hence, India should accentuate the positive image and  eliminate the negative impage through proper PR strategies", Mr Anthony B M Good, popularly known as Tony Good, a global PR legend said in an exclusive interview with PodUniversal.  

He also suggested that Indian youth should look for positive aspect in every setback and grasp the opportunity, available everywhere.  

Mr Tony Good, when he was  young,  joined a leading Airline company   as a Public Relations and marketing  Executive.  He lost his job from  the  Company, for no fault of him.  That triggered a 'fire' in him to start an independent Public Relations Company  to prove his capability.

This  independent PR Agency, which he started 50 years back was 'Good Relations'.  This is the first PR Agency anywhere in the world to get listed in the stock exchange at London.  

From 1970 onwards, he got associated with India through his association with many companies as a member of the Board.  He is presently the International Chairman of  Cox and Kings, one of the top travel agencies of 250 year old.  

In 1986, he  started the Indian arm of Good Relations as an Indian company.  Again, this is the first independent PR and Communication agency in India.

Mr Tony Good  in his  late 70s,  is a great visionary and is considered as a 'legend' in the communication field.

Public Relations Council of India honoured him on 13th Feb 2012 at Mumbai with the coveted 'Life Time Achivement Award' in the presence of a galaxy of eminent communication, media and corporate professionals.  
Tony Good (third from left) receiving the award
from M B Jayaram, Chairman Emeritus, PRCI
(second from left) 
On the next day, Mr Tony Good was at Chennai for few hours.  Since he was hard pressed for time, I travelled along with him to Airport in his car and recorded an exclusive interview with him on various issues.

In the interesting conversation, he touched about the strength and  weakness of Indian Corporates, his ivews about Indian media, India's image outside, his suggestions to Indian youth and Non Resident Indians.  

PodUniversal  Edition 148

Please listen to his inspiring interview (9 minutes).  This interview can also be watched from the following link.

While watching / listening to this interview, you can also go through the transcipt of his conversation.  (Transcript courtesy by Ms Esther Emil, GRI, Chennai).

Transcript of the interview with Mr Tony Good

Mr.Tony Good, Welcome to PodUniversal show
Very kind, Thank you

Let me congratulate you for receiving the coveted Life time achievement award from Public Relations Council of India 

I feel extremely honored by it. It will be something that I will aspire to, possibly live upto if I can 

Sir, you are associated with India and the Indian corporates almost from 1970 that is nearly 40 years?


You know about the Indian corporates and European corporates. What according to you  are the strong points of Indian corporates? 

I think there is still very much a family tradition in most of the major corporates and I think that is a strength. I think that they’ve moved with the times in the second and third generation increasingly tending to be educated on an international stage rather than a national one so I think you get the best of both worlds. You get the cohesion that comes from a close knit family business but also though the younger members have gained experience and knowledge abroad which they are bringing to bear in their businesses here. 

What according to you are the weak points among the Indian corporates that prevent them to meet the global standards?

Well, I think increasingly they are achieving global standards. I mean if for example you had told me in 1970 when I first came to India that, for example Tata would own not only Tetley Tea and what was British deal Land Rover Jaguar, I think very few people would ever have believed that. And I’ve seen the incursion of Indian corporates to the international stage in the most impressive way. 

Do you think the Indian Corporates are building their image properly?

I think, one of the problems that India has is that as a country it is not doing its PR as well as it could and should. Now, you might expect me to say that, but all too often the headlines about India are about their corruption and inefficiency. Now every country has its corruption and sadly my own has been proved recently to be no exception. I think that India has to recognize the need for PR as a country and Indian corporates also need to recognize that they have to promote themselves on the international stage as well as on their local, domestic stage. 

Do you mean to say that India is being projected negatively outside?

I think too much of the news that comes out of India tends to have a rather negative aspect to it, yes. 

What is the solution?

The solution is to promote the positive, what was the famous song “accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative” and I think that in terms of eliminating the negative there is a big job for the Indian government to do in being seen to the grasp the nettle of the corruption that undoubtedly exists but it also exists in many many other parts of the world. 

Now that takes me to another broader question about media. You are seeing the European and the Indian media, What do you think about the Indian Media? Are they more sensitive or more sensational? 

I don’t think they are more sensational, no. I think that most of the well established Indian newspapers do a very good job of news coverage. I think if you have followed the phone hacking stories, that I know have been covered here as well as in the UK there is no doubt that some of the practices that have caught on in Britain and I suspect in other European and  International countries I think, Indian Media have a lot to be extremely proud of. Of course they are not perfect, no media are perfect but I’ve seen them come a long way in a comparatively short time.

What is the suggestion that you are giving to the Indian youth because you are a serial entrepreneur, and  you have built institutions.

Well, you are very kind.

I think Indians have a strong streak of entrepreneurialism in them. It would be presumptuous of me to suggest that I can teach the most entrepreneurial nation in the world about how to be good at it. I think what I would say is identifying the opportunity and seizing it, looking at the positive. 

I mean the most unfair thing that ever happened to me which caused me to lose a job; a marketing and Public Relations job in an airline turned out to be an opportunity to create a business which if you told me it would end up being listed on the London Stock Exchange, and at that time we floated we were the only Public Relations company with a stock exchange listing anywhere in the world, I would have been amazed. So I think my message to young Indian Entrepreneurs would be 

(1) Identify the opportunity
(2) Opportunities are everywhere 
(3) Have the courage to grasp it and
(4) Look for the positives in setbacks 

What are your suggestions for Indians who are working abroad? 

Indian who are working abroad, well I think I would say two things, one is that, and I think they are increasingly learning this, to be infact assimilated into the country as a whole. There was a tendency I think in the past for Indians working abroad to basically gather in small groups, stick together. Now we’ve seen Indians, my good friend Gulam Noon, who has progressed from an MBE, to a knighthood to a position in the House of Lords. Is, I think a very good example of an Indian entrepreneur who has become absorbed into the environment and has become infact a part of it. And I know of many other successful Indian entrepreneurs who have done exactly that.

Thank you very much for joining Pod Universal Show

You are most kind. Thank you for inviting me. 


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