Strategising communications

T N Ashok, communications strategist, former business editor, PR agency professional and a corporate communicator, discusses communication-effectiveness with V Jagannathan

T N AshokFifty year-old T N Ashok is perhaps one of the few corporate communicators to have also been a public relations agency executive and a business editor.

After spending two decades as a hardcore journalist — subbing, reporting and editing, he switched over to public relations and corporate communications. He is now a consultant working exclusively with a multinational on its public affairs, communications and media relations.

Despite being a consultant, he does not favour outsourcing public relations to a PR agency. "I would not advise a corporate with a full-fledged communications team to outsource any of its work to a PR agency except in certain circumstances. When a person is employed to do a job on a decent salary, why waste the company's resources in replicating the effort."

Ashok initially toyed with the idea of studying medicine. But being from a family of journalists — his father T S Neelakantan was a financial journalist, as were two of his uncles. The lure of journalism proved stronger and he chose to prepare himself for it by studying economics for his BA and topped up with English literature for his masters at the Madras University.