The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Professionals to polish image

Calcutta, Sept. 10: Perception is power. And if perception is what one goes by, business in Bengal is powerless.

Fed up with the negative image of the state — which bothered chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee recently at a CII roadshow in Mumbai — that potential investors harbour, the information technology (IT) department has roped in spin-doctors for a makeover. The aim is to spur the McKinsey-manoeuvred move to lure investment.

The Left Front government wing has engaged Ogilvy Public Relations to highlight the state’s strong points and sell Bhattacharjee’s Bengal as an investment destination.

The government will pay Rs 12 lakh to the agency for the six-month contract. To begin with, Ogilvy will handle specific assignments and once the results start showing, a long-term communication strategy will be drawn up.

“We realised the need for sustained and systematic communication from the state government’s side during our meetings with the various companies. Though a lot of things are happening in Bengal, people outside are not aware of the developments. So, we have decided to rope in an agency of national repute to tackle the perception problem,” said Manab Mukherjee, minister in charge of IT and environment.

Apart from Ogilvy, the IT department had shortlisted three other agencies — Corporate Voice Sandvik, Integral PR and Genesis.

“We have given the responsibility to Ogilvy because we liked their plan,” said G.D. Gautama, principal secretary, IT. Removing the “negative perception” and creating “positive vibes” among investors will be Ogilvy’s brief. A government order will be released shortly as the IT department wants the agency on the job as soon as possible.

The government recently renewed its contract with multinational consulting company McKinsey for another year. Accompanied by star consultants, senior state government officials are scouting for investments in the state’s IT and IT-enabled services (ITES) sector.

McKinsey is believed to have triggered the hunt for a PR firm.

“The government seems to be serious and they know what they want from us. Managing media relations and removing misconceptions about Bengal at the national level will be indeed challenging. We are looking forward to it,” said Supriya C. Das of Ogilvy.

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