LAVASA, INDIA—Senior marketers in India are increasingly turning to PR build their brands, heard delegates at the PRAXIS 2013 Summit in India last week.

The event, which is run by the Promise Foundation, drew a substantial audience of leaders from the PR industry, in-house comms sector and media to Indian hill station Lavasa.

A panel of senior marketing heads discussed the changes in how they are utilising public relations strategy, often at the expense of advertising investment.

The session featured Aditya Birla Group CMO Ajay Kakar; Suvodeep Das, marketing director at Reliance Brands; Infosys digital marketing head Ashok Lalla; and, Anuradha Paraskar, the head of marketing of Lavasa. It was moderated by Edelman Digital India head Max Hegerman.

The importance of a public relations perspective was underscored by Lalla when he pointed out that ‘it is not what the brand says but what people say about the brand.’

Das reinforced this point by explaining that PR is often the first option when it comes to luxury marketing, and is used to build a stronger connection with the public.

The panellists also noted that , when it comes to creating a new category, PR is a particularly efficient tool. Paraskar said that it helps marketers understand the new target audience and adds a touch of credibility to the key messaging, allowing the brand to resonate with the audience.

Traditionally, said the panellists, PR was more about communicating the content created by a brand to the public. However, Kakar stated that with the emergence and growth of social media, where "content is king", PR has slowly taken on a more central content creation role.

The importance of integration between advertising, PR and media should not be overlooked, heard delegates.

Das pointed out that PR is the only tool that can speak the language of the boardroom and understand the nuances of what CEOs and senior manageement want to express. Accordingly, he said, "a delicate combination of PR and advertising creatives helps enhance creativity due to the interplay."

That view was supported by Paraskar, who said that involving both the creative and PR teams at the initial stages of a campaign is essential to creating successful brands.

"Today it is not just about corporate communication," concluded Lalla. "Marketing communication is about what we want to say and who we want to say it to. People are the true media. Inspire them and only then can your brand aspire to reach the top. And PR is the one powerful tool that can help achieve this."