From Storytelling to Story Doing: Human-First Communications

Authored by Shashikant Someshwar, Managing Director, The Weber Shandwick CollectiveIntroduction:In today's oversaturated digital world, consumers are increasingly tuning out traditional advertising. This trend has led to a significant shift in the PR industry, with a growing emphasis on Human-First Communication. This transcends mere 'storytelling' and embraces a more action-oriented approach known as 'story doing'. Brands are now prioritizing authenticity, simplicity, respect, and inclusivity in their narratives to forge deeper connections with their target audiences. Failing to embrace this shift can result in significant losses due to consumer apathy. By fostering genuine communication, brands can build loyalty even in a crowded digital landscape.Empowering Audiences through Participation:The digital era has empowered audiences like never before. Brands are leveraging social media platforms to proactively engage with their target audience, fostering interactive two-way conversations that strengthen connections. This is particularly important for Gen Z which values authenticity. Per a 2022 study, 80% of Indian Gen Z respondents consider authenticity to be a key factor in their brand choices. By fostering genuine interactions and transparency, brands can build trust and loyalty with this influential demographic. Brands are now placing significant emphasis on initiatives like Social Media Customer Care, taking prompt action to address customer grievances and ensure satisfaction in real-time. Furthermore, they are increasingly favoring everyday storytellers and micro-influencers over celebrities. This amplifies diverse voices and fosters a sense of familiarity and authenticity with the target audience. Live sessions and social polls further facilitate two-way dialogues, valuing audience input for product development and fostering a sense of belonging. These inclusive approaches transform audiences from passive receivers of information into active brand advocates.A prime example is PVR Inox’s famous #PVRHeardYou campaign on X (formerly Twitter). The brand responded proactively to customer feedback on high food and beverage prices in theaters. By directly addressing concerns and offering tailored solutions like food combo offers, PVR regained trust and fostered a sense of community empowerment among audiences.Celebrating Diversity and Inclusivity:Gone are the days of stereotypical portrayals in marketing. Brands are taking significant strides towards diversity and inclusion, featuring a broader range of individuals in their messaging. They are also mindful of the language they use, ensuring it’s respectful and culturally sensitive. Campaigns are now tailored to connect with diverse audiences, showing an appreciation for cultural nuances. Additionally, some brands are championing social impact initiatives, advocating for underrepresented communities. By prioritizing accessibility in their designs, they are fostering inclusivity and acceptance among all audiences.Mattel’s commitment to inclusivity led to the launch of Barbies in 22 ethnicities, 35 skin tones, 97 hairstyles, and nine body types, including the introduction of a Down syndrome Barbie. This move challenged traditional beauty standards and empowered individuals to embrace their uniqueness. The campaign garnered widespread applause and resonated with audiences on a global scale. Building Genuine Connections for the Community:PR campaigns have the power to be a catalyst for social change. By raising awareness, shifting public opinion, mobilizing resources, and promoting behavior change, PR can go beyond just promoting products or gaining brand visibility. Forward-thinking PR professionals are tapping into societal issues that resonate with their audience, creating a deeper, more authentic bond. Many brands are embracing a purpose-driven approach, aligning their PR endeavors with broader social causes such as environmental awareness, sustainability, and community empowerment. By presenting compelling narratives and framing issues effectively, PR can attract volunteers, donations, and sponsorships, amplifying the efforts of non-profit organizations and advocacy groups. Additionally, PR can rally support for critical causes and pressure policymakers and corporations to act. Finally, by encouraging positive changes in individual behavior, PR campaigns play a pivotal role in fostering a more socially conscious and engaged society.TATA Trusts’ "Kaise Ka Cancer" initiative is a powerful example. The campaign encourages women to participate in open discussions on early breast cancer detection and self-breast examinations, fostering awareness and a sense of community support. Conclusion:The shift from “storytelling” to “story-doing” in human first communications signifies a profound transformation in the PR industry. By empowering audiences, celebrating diversity, building genuine connections, and driving positive social and environmental change, brands are redefining their role beyond mere profit-making. Through authentic communication and purpose-driven initiatives, brands are fostering deep connections, driving meaningful impact, and ultimately, shaping a more inclusive, empathetic, and socially conscious world. As the PR landscape continues to evolve, human first communication will remain at the forefront, shaping a future where brands and consumers connect on a deeper, more meaningful level. DISCLAIMER: The views expressed are solely of the author and does not necessarily subscribe to it.

Team Pumpkin Wins Marketing Mandate for Crown Rice by DRRK Foods

DRRK Foods Pvt. Ltd., a renowned producer of premium quality basmati rice, has announced a strategic partnership with a leading digital marketing agency, Team Pumpkin. This collaboration aims to strengthen the digital presence of DRRK Foods Pvt. Ltd. flagship brand, Crown Rice. As part of the collaboration, Team Pumpkin will handle social media management and PR initiatives for Crown Rice.We are excited to embark on this journey with our digital marketing partner, says Amit Marwaha, Managing Director at DRRK Foods Pvt. Ltd. Our goal is to enhance the visibility and engagement of Crown Rice, solidifying its position as a leading choice for the consumers.” This collaboration is expected to enhance thepositioning of Crown Rice, says Vikram Marwaha, Joint Managing Director at DRRK Foods Pvt. Ltd. With its success in the market, Crown Rice has proven itself as a top choice for premium basmati rice. Now, we are looking to build on that success by boosting its visibility and engagement. We have high expectations from our digital partners to help us achieve this goal. Together, we aim to solidify Crown Rice position even further and ensure it remains a preferred brand for consumers” he added.Team Pumpkin will oversee digital marketing efforts across various channels. By leveraging data-driven strategies and creative solutions, they aim to drive brand awareness and growth for Crown Rice. Team Pumpkin will handle social media management and PR initiatives for Crown Rice, ensuring consistent brand messaging and engagement with consumers.Swati Nathani, Co-founder of Team Pumpkin, remarked, “We are truly excited about our partnership with Crown Rice. As a leading digital marketing agency, we understand the importance of innovation and excellence in today competitive landscape. Crown Rice dedication to quality and 5 decades of experience in paddy sourcing, aligns perfectly with our values at Team Pumpkin. Together, we are confident that our collaborative efforts will not only elevate the Crown Rice brand but also set new standards of success in the market.

Moët Hennessy taps Special PR in New Zealand

Luxury drinks giant Moët Hennessy has chosen Special PR as a preferred partner for integrated communications in New Zealand. The appointment comes after a competitive pitch involving three agencies.Special PR will handle a range of projects across Moët Hennessy's prestigious New Zealand brands, including Cloudy Bay, Whispering Angel, Veuve Clicquot, and Glenmorangie. Their responsibilities will encompass media relations, influencer marketing, content creation, events and activations, and trade partnerships.The agency can also leverage expertise from the wider Special New Zealand team for design, art direction, and broader communication campaign support."The Special PR team has consistently impressed," said Tony Bradbourne, CEO/CCO and Founder of Special New Zealand. "They've become a regional leader, and this partnership allows them to combine their PR skills with our creative and strategic firepower. This model is already proving highly successful for many of our clients."

Sphere PR launches new cyber crisis communication service for tech firms

Tech security PR leader Sphere PR is celebrating 18 years by unveiling a new service designed to help organisations navigate cyber-crises and IT outages. This comprehensive offering goes beyond reputation management during an attack.Sphere PR's cyber-crisis communication service provides a multi-pronged approach:Strategy Development: Sphere PR will guide organizations in crafting a robust cyber-crisis communication strategy, ensuring all key stakeholders are prepared for potential incidents.Preparation & Training: The service includes developing communication response plans for various cyber threats and IT outages, allowing for a swift and measured response.Effective Communication: Sphere PR's expertise empowers organizations to practice cyber-attack scenarios. This ensures everyone understands their roles and responsibilities in the event of a data breach or outage."This new offering is designed to address the unique crisis communications challenges today’s organisations face in an environment of heightened cyber threats. It will enable them to respond in a timely manner and communicate the key facts effectively to their customers via the media," said Louise Roberts (pictured), Managing Director, Sphere PR.  "It's about leveraging our expertise to ensure organisations practise cyber-attack scenarios and everyone knows their responsibility when a data breach or an outage does occur. Being open and honest when communicating with customers is critical in the early stages of an incident to explain the implications for customers and how they will mitigate these risks in future."

Prerna Dalakoti: Steering PR success with innovation and integrity

As an Associate Account Director at PR Professionals, Prerna Dalakoti brings a wealth of experience and expertise to the table. With a keen understanding of strategic communication and public relations, she plays a pivotal role in driving impactful campaigns and fostering strong client relationships. Dalakoti’s dedication to excellence, coupled with her innovative approach, ensures that she consistently delivers results that exceed expectations. Her dynamic leadership and collaborative spirit make her a valuable asset to both her team and her clients, driving success in an ever-evolving industry landscape.In conversation with Adgully, Prerna Dalakoti, Associate Account Director, PR Professionals, speaks about the importance of the importance of compelling storytelling, proactive reputation management, and leveraging diverse communication channels to engage audiences effectively. She advocates for adaptability and innovation in PR strategies to navigate the evolving media landscape and maintain trust and credibility with stakeholders.Reflecting on the past decade, could you share with us how your professional journey has unfolded and evolved within the PR industry?My journey within the PR industry has been quite a ride! Over the past ten years, I’ve had the privilege of working with a diverse range of brands and campaigns across various sectors, from infrastructure to government/ PSUs, education, social development, technology, and retail. One of the highlights of my career has been my involvement in some groundbreaking infrastructure projects, such as the implementation of Namo Bharat Trains – India’s first Regional Rapid Transit System, and the redevelopment of railway stations across India. Besides, I’ve also had the opportunity to contribute significantly within the development sector, partnering with organizations like UNICEF and the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) on various advocacy and media outreach campaigns. It’s been quite a journey of learning and growth, and I’m grateful for the experiences that have shaped me into the professional I am today.In my brief 10 years in the PR industry, I have learned that being a communicator is no walk in the park. It is a fast-paced, deadline-driven environment where you juggle multiple stakeholders and uphold uncompromising standards of quality. To excel in this role, one must consistently deliver high-intensity performances. However, true success in communication isn’t solely about linguistic expertise; it is about investing in one’s character and nurturing meaningful relationships.How has your organization contributed to your growth and development as a PR Professional over the past ten years?Starting my career with PRP has been instrumental in shaping my professional journey. Being part of a dynamic and growing organization like PRP has provided me with ample space and opportunities to learn, experiment, and evolve. Unlike being a cog in a well-established corporate machine, working with PRP has exposed me to a multitude of experiences both internally and externally. This environment has not only allowed me to refine my client management skills, but also enabled me to develop valuable people management abilities, which I consider a significant asset in my career today.Who have been your role models or mentors, and how have they influenced your approach to PR?My mentor in the PR field is undoubtedly Dr Sarvesh Tiwari, Founder & Managing Director of PR Professionals. His distinctive approach to work, empathetic demeanor, practical approach, and exceptional skill in relationship building have deeply influenced me. Among the many lessons I’ve learned from him, two stand out: the importance of cultivating and nurturing relationships with honesty and integrity, and the significance of effective people management, which entails valuing and treating everyone with equal respect and dignity.Another individual whom I admire and consider a role model is MS Dhoni. His leadership style is something I greatly admire and aspire to emulate. Dhoni’s ability to lead his team both on and off the field, with solid control over his mind and emotions, is truly commendable.What are your plans and aspirations within the PR field, considering your experiences and achievements thus far?I firmly believe in the transformative impact that effective communication can have, not only on businesses and organizations, but also on communities and society as a whole. I aspire to continue working with organizations and brands that are committed to making a positive impact, collaborating on campaigns and initiatives that aim to drive social change, promote sustainability, and advance the well-being of individuals and communities. Additionally, I wish to continue to collaborate with large-scale infrastructure projects that have the potential to transform lives and shape the future of generations to come. Furthermore, I look forward to exploring new horizons and venturing into uncharted territories such as the FMCG and Banking industries, where I believe my skills and experience can add unique value.In your opinion, how do you perceive the current state of the PR industry, and what trends or changes do you anticipate shaping its future trajectory?I believe we are at the brightest phase of the public relations industry, because everyone has realized its importance more than ever. Where earlier we used to be one of the functions of any business, but now PR has become a key function of businesses. One of the key trends shaping the future trajectory of the PR industry is the increasing integration of digital media and technology. With the rise of social media platforms, online news outlets, and digital communication channels, PR professionals must adapt their strategies to effectively engage with audiences across various digital platforms.Another significant trend is the growing emphasis on transparency and authenticity in communications. In an era characterized by widespread distrust and skepticism, businesses and organizations are under greater scrutiny than ever before. Additionally, the evolving media landscape and changing consumer preferences are reshaping traditional PR practices. Overall, while the PR industry is facing many disruptions, it also presents abundant opportunities for innovation and growth. By staying agile, embracing digital transformation, and prioritizing authenticity and transparency, PR professionals can navigate the evolving landscape and continue to drive impactful communication strategies in the years to come.

Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation taps Group Gordon for PR support

The Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation (PBTF), an organisation solely dedicated to childhood brain tumors, has named Group Gordon as its public relations agency of record. This exciting partnership will leverage Group Gordon's expertise to elevate PBTF's brand awareness, messaging, and media relations.Through strategic communication initiatives, Group Gordon will play a key role in amplifying PBTF's mission and propelling the organization towards even greater impact. This win came after a competitive agency selection process, with Group Gordon emerging as the ideal partner to support PBTF's goals.Founded in 1991, PBTF is a champion for children and families battling brain tumors. They provide comprehensive support throughout the entire journey, while also being the largest patient advocacy funder of pediatric brain tumor research."At Group Gordon, we are deeply committed to partnering with organizations doing truly impactful work," said Andrew Jarrell, Chief Strategy Officer at Group Gordon. "Our extensive experience with large non-profits and health causes positions us perfectly to empower PBTF's advocacy efforts, expand their reach and influence, and ultimately offer even greater support to the thousands of families facing this unimaginable challenge."

Victim Services Toronto announces PR partnership with Strategic Objectives

Victim Services Toronto (VST), a lifeline for those impacted by crime or sudden tragedy, has joined forces with Strategic Objectives, a leading PR agency. This strategic partnership aims to significantly increase public awareness of VST and the comprehensive support they offer.Strategic Objectives, now VST's agency of record, will develop a year-long PR programme. This programme will showcase the breadth of VST's services, encompassing everything from safety planning and emotional support to advocacy and crucial referrals.The programme kicked off this week, coinciding perfectly with National Victims and Survivors of Crime Week in Canada. Throughout the year, targeted campaigns will highlight key services, primarily focusing on the Toronto market. However, a national campaign will champion the relaunch of Reclaim, a program specifically designed to help human trafficking survivors across Canada eliminate fraudulent and coercive debt.The communication strategy will bring VST's unique initiatives to the forefront. These include:Trauma Dog Programme: Specially trained canine companions offering emotional support to victims.Revamped Reclaim Programme: Aiding human trafficking survivors across Canada by removing fraudulent debt from their records, empowering their recovery.Victim Crisis Response Programme: Providing immediate support to families and individuals navigating the aftermath of a crime or sudden tragedy.This collaboration with Strategic Objectives aims to ensure that individuals in need are aware of the crucial support readily available through Victim Services Toronto.Victim Services executive director Carly Kalish said: “Every year, our organisation supports thousands of people across the city during the toughest moments of their lives, yet we remain Toronto’s best kept secret. We want to increase our profile and know that Strategic Objectives is the right communications partner to help us. We have long admired their team for its smart approach to raising awareness for difficult and sensitive topics, especially its work to end human trafficking. We can’t wait to work together to help foster a thriving community where people feel safe, supported and empowered.”

Nestlé Canada selects Citizen Relations for confectionery PR

Nestlé Canada has selected Citizen Relations as the Public Relations Agency of Record (AOR) for its confectionery division. This follows a competitive agency selection process.Citizen Relations will be responsible for:Media Relations: Both traditional media coverage and influencer marketing for Nestlé's confectionery brands, including Aero chocolates and Kit Kat bars.Brand Activations: Creating engaging experiences to promote Nestlé's confectionery products.Citizen Relations will also provide PR support for other Nestlé brands beyond confectionery.Previously, Nestlé Canada collaborated with various agencies on a project-by-project basis for different brands. These included Rethink for Kit Kat, Golin for Essentia Water, Strategic Objectives for Nescafé, and Zeno for Häagen-DazsJenn Duggan, president of Citizen Relations Canada (Ontario & West), said: "There’s so much delicious potential we can unlock for a brand that’s a staple in almost every household. And we’re thrilled for the opportunity to partner with such a talented and passionate group of brand leaders.”

PR industry faces mental health crisis, new research reveals

There has been in increase in diagnosis of mental health conditions in the PR industry, according to new research carried out by the Public Relations and Communications Association (PRCA) and the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR).The research – conducted by Opinium – revealed that on average, 91% reported poor mental health in the last 12 months. Meanwhile, the proportion of PR professionals that have been diagnosed with a mental health condition has risen from one in four (25%) to a third (33%).The number of PR professionals who find their jobs stressful has stayed consistent year after year. In fact, three out of ten (29%) continue to rate their stress levels within the range of 8-10 (with 10 being extremely stressful). This figure has remained stable since it first rose from 26% in 2021.As in past years, PR professionals continue to have a higher risk of poor mental health than the general UK workforce. In the last year, 63% of UK workers report having poor mental health.Before the pandemic around 70% of UK PR professionals worked from an office all the time. This is now down to 9%. Professionals largely agree that working from home has positive aspects, with 81% appreciating a better work-life balance and 78% finding the lack of commute good for mental health.Other key findings:  An average wellbeing score of 45.3, indicating a slight decrease from the previous year.  60% of respondents have told someone at work that they have struggled with their mental wellbeing, up from 51% last year.  59% said that having too much work to do is the biggest barrier for taking time off to deal with mental health.  58% cited an overwhelming workload as a key source of workplace stress.  60% reported that having too much work is the biggest barrier to taking time off for mental health reasons.PRCA CEO, James Hewes, said: "Amidst the rapid evolution of the PR industry, we must refuse to normalise stress as an inherent part of our culture. The past five years have brought significant change, with more on the horizon. As we navigate the shift to hybrid work environments, it's urgent to grasp the implications for our workflows and communication dynamics. A constant barrage of updates can hinder focus, and an 'always-on' mentality isn't sustainable. It's time for leaders to amplify the conversation on mental health. While progress has been made in acknowledging and addressing mental health challenges, lip service alone won't suffice. We must ensure our actions match our words. By prioritising wellbeing, we pave the way for a healthier, more resilient workforce, benefiting both our businesses and our people."CIPR CEO, Alastair McCapra, said: “I am immensely proud of this partnership and the publication of this year's mental health audit. The findings shed light on the progress we've made and the challenges that still lie ahead. Notably, the data reveals an issue that is both unacceptable and unsustainable, with workload stress remaining the primary culprit.The report marks another pivotal moment in our journey toward creating a healthier, more supportive future for our industry. I encourage our respective members and the wider profession to carefully consider these insights and share them with your teams. By working together and taking decisive action, we can drive meaningful change and build a resilient, future-ready, and thriving PR profession.”

Linkin Reps to handle PR for Aurika Hotels & Resorts, Lemon Tree's upscale brand

Linkin Reps is thrilled to announce the newest addition to its esteemed portfolio: Aurika Hotels & Resorts, the upscale brand of Lemon Tree Hotels. This collaboration underscores Linkin Reps' dedication to offering exceptional Public Relations services to its valued clients, with a special focus on the hospitality vertical. Aurika Hotels & Resorts epitomizes sophistication and luxury, presenting a curated collection of distinctive properties that encapsulate the essence of their respective locales. From the majestic grandeur of Aurika, Udaipur nestled amidst the Aravalli Hills to the tranquil beauty of Aurika, Coorg enveloped by verdant coffee plantations, to the vibrant charm of Aurika, Mumbai Skycity, paying homage to the city's cinematic legacy, each property promises unforgettable experiences that transcend the ordinary. "At Aurika Hotels & Resorts, we believe in exceeding expectations and creating memorable experiences for our guests. We currently have three operational properties, which includes the two resorts, Aurika, Udaipur and Aurika, Coorg and the city hotel, Aurika, Mumbai Skycity, which is India’s largest hotel by number of rooms. We also have properties coming up in leisure destinations, including Rishikesh and Kasauli," said Akriti Arora, Director – Communications, Lemon Tree Hotels. She further commented, "We have partnered with Linkin Reps to showcase our properties to the most appropriate audiences and create unique story-telling experiences for the brand. We eagerly anticipate welcoming guests to our distinctive properties and curating moments that leave a lasting impression." Aurika Hotels & Resorts are designed to captivate guests with their impeccable service, exquisite design, and innovative amenities. Each property promises a bespoke experience tailored to cater to the diverse preferences of modern travellers, whether it's hosting a fairy tale destination wedding amidst the opulence of Aurika, Udaipur, indulging in coffee plantation escapades at Aurika, Coorg, or immersing in Mumbai's dynamic culture in the grandeur of Aurika, Mumbai Skycity – India’s largest hotel by number of rooms. "We are excited to welcome Aurika Hotels & Resorts into the Linkin Reps family," said Komal Seth, Founder and Director at Linkin Reps. "Their unwavering commitment to excellence, coupled with an emphasis on providing guests with extraordinary moments, perfectly aligns with our mission of taking Aurika to the world. We are confident that Aurika's distinctive offerings will resonate with travellers seeking destinations that inspires journey."

PRA Communications wins 2024 SABRE gold award

PRA Communications (PRA) has been awarded the Gold SABRE Award in the Energy and Natural Resources category for its work on Seabridge Gold KSM Project: Navigating Environmental Assessment and Beyond. The SABRE Awards are the world’s largest PR awards programme dedicated to benchmarking the best PR and communication work from across the globe.“It's truly an honor to receive this prestigious recognition, especially for our PR and communication efforts within the mining industry. Often, the extensive consultation, stakeholder engagement, and communication with rights holders required to successfully navigate provincial and federal environmental assessments, negotiate benefit agreements, and earn social license to operate go unnoticed. This acknowledgment underscores the importance of these efforts,” says Robert Simpson, (pictured), President and CEO of PRA Communications.The KSM Project located in Northwest British Columbia is the world’s largest undeveloped gold deposit and third-largest undeveloped resource of copper. Canada’s provincial and federal Environmental Assessment (EA) process was a rigorous eight-year undertaking that became the largest and most comprehensive ever conducted in North America. It required Seabridge Gold to demonstrate the KSM Project, when built and operational, would not have adverse environmental effects and that it has clear support from the five affected First Nations, three cities and towns, three municipalities and the British Columbia, Canadian, Alaskan and US governments and Tribes. Upon completion of baseline research and perception audits, PRA Communications created and implemented a multi-year communications strategy that encompassed a broad suite of activities.“The PRA team was integral to our success at KSM. Often strategic communication and reputation management is either overlooked during the environmental assessment process or relegated to scientists and engineers. We understood professional, comprehensive, strategic and measurable communication and public relations was critical for our success. PRA stood shoulder to shoulder with us, boots on the ground and professionally guided our whole team to be better communicators, from our executive to our environmental scientists,” says Brent Murphy, Senior Vice President Environment, Seabridge Gold.The KSM Project was granted Environmental Assessment (EA) Certificates by both the British Columbia and the federal government, as well as approval under the terms of the Nisga’a Final Agreement. Upon submission of the Environmental Assessments, community and First Nations supported the KSM Project by a 76 percent approval rating as measured through an inclusive polling and interview engagement model. The Tahltan Nation voted 83 percent in favor of the KSM Project and their negotiated Impact Benefits Agreement. The Province of British Columbia recognized Seabridge Gold's KSM project as an exemplary model for industry-wide consultation, engagement, and external communication, thanks to its strong support from the community.

Luxury PR agency Ellyse Management launches in Dubai

Ellyse Management, a new luxury public relations and communications agency, has officially launched in Dubai. Founded by entrepreneur and former supermodel Elvira Jain, (pictured), the agency aims to fill a gap in the market for innovative and strategic luxury brand representation.Jain brings a wealth of experience to the table. Her illustrious career in the fashion industry, including collaborations with leading brands like Gucci, Dior, and Armani, has provided her with a deep understanding of the luxury market. Additionally, her entrepreneurial spirit, evidenced by owning and selling a business at a young age, positions her well to lead Ellyse Management.Ellyse Management offers a comprehensive suite of services, including luxury PR consultancy, event management, and talent management. The agency leverages a 360-degree marketing approach, combining traditional PR excellence with influencer marketing and tailored strategies to amplify brand presence. This, combined with their access to diverse communities across Dubai, ensures a bespoke and impactful experience for each client.Ellyse Management boasts a global footprint, strategically located in Dubai, Paris, Milan, and Miami. This allows them to offer clients access to key markets in the Middle East, Europe, and the USA.Elvira Jain, Founder of Ellyse Management, states: "The launch of Ellyse Management marks a new chapter in my career and the culmination of my journey in luxury fashion. We aim to bridge the gap between luxury brands and discerning audiences, crafting unique and sophisticated narratives that resonate with them. We are thrilled to be located in Dubai, a city synonymous with ambition and innovation, and look forward to shaping the future of luxury PR and event management."The agency differentiates itself by creating sophisticated narratives that go beyond traditional marketing. They focus on a curated selection of high-profile individuals, offering unique collaboration opportunities and perspectives for their esteemed clientele.Despite being a new agency, Ellyse Management has already secured collaborations with iMaker Group, Alpago Properties, Retail Abu Dhabi, Atlantis The Royal, and Botsi. Additionally, they have participated in prestigious events like the Cannes and Venice Film Festivals and secured cover features on L'Officiel Arabia and Glamour magazine.

PR giant Edelman retains Shell account

Public relations firm Edelman has extended its contract with Shell to provide communication services, according to media reports. This decision comes after a period of public scrutiny regarding Edelman's work with fossil fuel companies.The account is reportedly worth millions, making it one of Edelman's most lucrative clients.This decision extends a relationship that has lasted over a decade. Consequently, Edelman remains a target for environmental groups urging the PR industry to cut ties with fossil fuel companies.Clean Creatives, an industry advocacy group, has been at the forefront of this push. Their efforts include public campaigns, such as posters displayed during Climate Week 2022, urging agencies to drop clients like Shell.

Bud Communications strengthens APAC presence with Australian expansion

Bud Communications, a PR and content agency, has set up shop in Australia to strengthen its regional capabilities across Asia Pacific (APAC). The agency will focus on providing both strategic public relations and content creation services, designed to maximize the impact of earned, owned, and paid media channels to help businesses expand their audience reach.Leading the Australian charge is Richie Kenzie, who has been appointed as the country manager for Bud Communications. Kenzie brings a wealth of experience from senior editorial and strategic roles at major publishers and content agencies. He's tasked with spearheading Bud's growth in Australia and driving success for clients in the region."We're entering the Australian market with a clear vision and unwavering commitment to our core values: creativity, integrity, and collaboration," said Kenzie. "Australia is a breeding ground for innovative and dynamic brands, and we're thrilled to partner with them to amplify their stories and achieve exceptional results."Oliver Budgen, founder and CEO of Bud Communications, emphasized the strategic importance of Australia: "Our core mission is to empower founders, leaders, and visionaries who are transforming industries or creating entirely new ones. Australia has always been a key market for our existing clients, so opening an office here feels like a natural and significant step."Since its launch in Singapore in 2020, Bud Communications has established itself as a go-to agency for challenger brands seeking to make a splash. This expansion into Australia builds upon their existing presence in Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Malaysia, where they have a team of 15.The agency has also been bolstering its leadership team. Last September, Patricia Malay joined as Client Services Director and Urvashi Raizada as Content Director, both based in Singapore and reporting directly to Budgen. These appointments further solidify Bud Communications' commitment to growth across APAC.Previously, Malay served as Deputy Managing Director at BCW Global, where she oversaw new business development and client acquisition. She also held various leadership roles at FleishmanHillard, including Global Director for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion.

Public Affairs Forum of India (PAFI) announces New Office Bearers for 2024-25

Public Affairs Forum of India (PAFI) is India’s primary platform for corporate public affairs practitioners, with its members leading public policy initiatives for over 100 major Indian and global companies. It is at the forefront of driving ethical and respectful dialogue and interaction amongst stakeholders and serves as a professional resource for public affairs practitioners. PAFI today announced its new office bearers for 2024-25. Deepshikha Dharmaraj took over as the President of PAFI for 2024-25 with immediate effect from Vinita Sethi, who completed her very successful tenure as President for 2023-24. “This is a pivotal year as the world turns its attention to India and its influence in geopolitics, climate change, and business uncertainty," said Deepshikha Dharmaraj, CEO of BCW India Group (soon to be Burson India Group). “With the collective experience and guidance of PAFI’s exceptional past presidents, office bearers and the PAFI Secretariat, I am looking forward to foster meaningful ideas and facilitate dialogue to support the government, policy and corporate decision makers.” Vinita Sethi, the outgoing President of PAFI and Senior Vice President & Chief Public Affairs at the Apollo Hospitals Group, said, “Over the last year, we have implemented steps towards increasing member engagement through sectoral councils, hosted a very well- received 10th Annual Forum, and continued our efforts to build capacity among young public policy professionals. We also initiated a focused initiative towards accelerating the participation of women in the workforce and leadership. Looking ahead, I believe PAFI will continue to deepen this work and lead public policy practitioners across more areas.”Chetan Krishnaswamy, Vice President, Public Policy, Amazon India is the new Vice President. Medha Girotra, Vice President- Communications, Asia Pacific, Mastercard is the new Secretary, and Shivnath Thukral, Director and Head Public Policy, Meta India is the new treasurer.

Ashbury expands to Middle East with Dubai launch

Ashbury, a financial consultancy specializing in sustainability and technology communication for clients in the financial sector, has set up its first office outside of Asia in Dubai. This marks a significant expansion for the firm, which previously operated solely in Hong Kong and Singapore.The Dubai office will begin with a team of two: Audrey Kabilova, formerly the communications VP at Natixis Corporate & Investment Banking in Hong Kong, will serve as associate director. Joining her is Jason Wincuinas, who is relocating from Ashbury's Hong Kong office as associate director and senior writer/editor.Once visa approvals are finalized, both will officially join the new entity. The Dubai team will focus on supporting Ashbury's existing global clients in the Middle East while also advising regional clients on building their reputations and establishing thought leadership on a global and Asia-specific scale.This expansion comes alongside the addition of a new client, Seagrass, a climate finance company based in Abu Dhabi and owned by E.ON. With the launch of the Dubai office, Ashbury now boasts three offices and a total team of 17 employees across Asia and the Middle East."Opening in the Middle East is a natural next step for Ashbury. The region is critical to the global energy transition and financing for innovation from climate technology to AI. It also has increasingly strong trade and investment links with markets in Asia, which is our heartland. We’re excited to work with global clients to articulate their opportunity in the Middle East, and with clients from within the region to illuminate a complex, fast-moving economic transformation that will impact the rest of the world," said Adam Harper, (pictured), founder and managing partner, Ashbury.

Milk & Honey PR unveils Nu for ethical AI adoption

Milk & Honey PR is embracing the future of communications with the launch of Nu, a dedicated division focused on integrating new technologies, particularly hybrid human-AI solutions. This move underscores the agency's commitment to responsible AI use, both internally and for their clients.To ensure responsible implementation, Nu will be guided by Milk & Honey's existing AI ethical steering group. This group will oversee the new division and a comprehensive AI roadmap.The roadmap outlines Milk & Honey's commitment to using AI in a way that aligns with their B Corp values, which prioritize social and environmental responsibility.Nu's launch is accompanied by strategic partnerships with key players in the AI space:IntelliAIM: An AI platform that leverages existing client data to develop campaign assets.Lazy Consulting: A team of senior consultants specializing in driving business growth through generative AI.These partnerships will allow Milk & Honey to seamlessly integrate these advanced services into their overall client offerings.The creation of Nu stems from Milk & Honey's ongoing exploration of generative AI, a process that began three years ago and culminated in the publication of their AI Ethical Playbook.Recognizing the mixed client sentiment towards AI, Milk & Honey conducted a survey revealing:An even split (50/50) between those who see AI as a positive force and those who have concerns.Specific concerns include potential job losses (25%), loss of human touch in communication (50%), and data privacy issues (83%).Nu will be spearheaded by Sanjiv Winayak, Client Services Director and newly appointed Head of AI at Milk & Honey. He will report to Manuel Hüttl, CEO of Milk & Honey Germany, who will oversee the division's operations.Winayak emphasizes Nu's focus on a future where AI complements human capabilities, not replaces them. He highlights the importance of human understanding in communication, a core principle guiding Nu and its AI roadmap.Hüttl acknowledges the transformative potential of AI in the communications industry. He positions Nu as a hub for innovation, creative collaboration, and responsible AI adoption, ultimately aiming to inspire positive global change in PR practices.By launching Nu, Milk & Honey PR positions itself at the forefront of responsible AI integration in the communications landscape.

Broadcast Revolution launches content production arm

Broadcast Revolution, a Lond-based specialist broadcast PR agency, has expanded its offerings with the launch of BR Studio, a new content production practice.Broadcast Revolution provides broadcast coverage for brands across TV, radio and owned channels.BR Studio will focus on helping brands create and produce content across various platforms, including broadcast television, social media, and their own branded channels.Led by industry veteran Sean-Taylor Williams, BR Studio offers a comprehensive range of services:  Content Strategy Development  Film Production  Video Production  Live Streaming Production  Podcast ProductionWilliams, who joins Broadcast Revolution as Director of Content Strategy, brings extensive experience in advertising and brand strategy for lifestyle and luxury brands, particularly in the drinks sector.His previous work includes campaigns for high-profile clients like the Government of Japan (promoting sake in the UK) and Belmond Hotels (luxury travel brand).Broadcast Revolution CEO Phil Caplin emphasizes the growing demand for integrated broadcast strategies that go beyond traditional media appearances."Our clients are increasingly recognizing the value of broadcast-first approaches," says Caplin. "However, it's not just about getting them on TV shows. BR Studio allows us to create impactful, multi-channel campaigns that leverage the power of broadcasting to connect audiences across different touchpoints."Caplin highlights Williams' creative expertise and brand strategy experience, expressing confidence in his ability to lead BR Studio to success.Williams himself is enthusiastic about joining Broadcast Revolution at this pivotal moment. He sees BR Studio as a powerful tool for clients to achieve real impact and stand out from the competition.Founded in 2019 by former Good Relations broadcast director Caplin, Broadcast Revolution has grown to a team of 18 with a revenue of around £2 million. The agency boasts a diverse client base, including major global brands alongside Bumble, Virgin Media O2, Guide Dogs, and Logistics UK.

PR Professionals expands its energy portfolio with SAEL and Sunkind India

PR Professionals, the flagship of PRP Group announced the expansion of its energy portfolio with the addition of two premier clients, SAEL and Sunkind India.SAEL is India's leading renewable energy company, specializing in solar and waste-to-energy projects. With its projects spread across the country, SAEL provides decarbonizing solutions and is set to become the leader in responsibly producing sustainable and affordable energy. Sunkind India, on the other hand, is a leading Solar Engineering, Procurement, and Construction (EPC) company. Speaking about the new client wins Dr. Sarvesh Tiwari, Founder & Managing Director, PR Professionals said "We are delighted to welcome SAEL and Sunkind India to our clientele in the energy sector. Both organizations embody a commitment to sustainability and innovation, aligning perfectly with our agency's values. We look forward to leveraging our expertise in strategic communication to elevate their brand presence and amplify their impactful contributions to the renewable energy landscape”PR Professionals' energy and power portfolio already includes esteemed clients such as National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC), Power Finance Corporation (PFC), Power Trading Corporation (PTC), REC Limited, formerly Rural Electrification Corporation Limited, Eastman Auto and Power, Maharashtra State Electricity Board, Suvakstik Solar, ZunRoof, Mysun, UK Based, Intergen Energy Ltd, Panchvakra, Yasasu and Sukam, among others. The addition of SAEL and Sunkind India further solidifies the agency's position as a trusted partner in the energy sector.PR Professionals is a 360-degree public relations and communications agency that has been delivering quality and excellence since 2011 and has also initiated several philanthropic activities. It provides end-to-end branding and customized public relations solutions that enable businesses to become market leaders. From humble beginnings, PRP today has 12 offices in India and six offices in offshore locations. The 150-member team shares Tiwari's passion for doing extraordinary things in PR and making a difference to the underprivileged through philanthropic activities.

Baidu PR chief exits after row over work culture comments

Qu Jing, head of communications at Chinese search engine giant Baidu, has reportedly left the company following a public backlash against her views on work culture.Qu sparked outrage with a series of online videos where she appeared dismissive of employee well-being. In the videos, she:Claimed she wasn't responsible for employee happiness, stating, "I'm not their mom."Prioritized results over employee well-being.Described the employer-employee relationship as purely transactional.Threatened to sabotage the careers of employees who complained.Criticized an employee for refusing a lengthy business trip during COVID restrictions.These comments fueled existing discontent with China's demanding work culture, known as "996" (working 9 am to 9 pm, six days a week). Qu's remarks gained traction on social media, with many criticizing her lack of empathy.Following the controversy, Qu apologized publicly, admitting her comments caused "serious harm" and did not reflect Baidu's values. However, reports suggest she has since left the company.Qu's departure highlights the growing pushback against grueling work hours in China, particularly among young people. It also serves as a reminder of the importance of company leaders fostering a positive and supportive work environment.

Samarpita Banerjee Promoted to Sr. Director of Marketing at Havas Creative India

Samarpita Banerjee, previously Director of Marketing & Communications, has been elevated to Senior Director at Havas Creative India. Sharing the news on LinkedIn, she expressed her excitement for the new role wrote, “I’m happy to share that I’m starting a new position as Senior Director – Marketing & Communications at Havas Creative Network India.” With a strong foundation in media and extensive experience in advertising and marketing, she brings a diverse skill set to the table. Starting her career as a Trainee Journalist at Bennett Coleman and Co. Ltd. ?Banerjee has since developed expertise across various sectors including education, health, music, arts, and culture.

Matrix Public Relations earns Highly Commended title at PRCA MENA Awards

Matrix Public Relations, a boutique PR agency based in Dubai, has secured second place in the 'Small Consultancy of the Year' category at the PRCA MENA Awards 2024, earning the title of Highly Commended winner and adding to its list of accolades for 2023–24.The annual #PRCAMENAAwards celebrated outstanding teams, individuals, and PR & communications initiatives across the Middle East and North Africa.Hilmarie Hutchison, CEO of Matrix Public Relations, said: "Receiving this award is a tremendous honour for Matrix Public Relations. We are sincerely grateful and humbled by this recognition. This achievement is a testament to the dedication and work ethic of our team."This recognition further solidifies Matrix's reputation as a regional communications agency renowned for surpassing client expectations and delivering exceptional results. In addition to recent accolades, Matrix Public Relations has further expanded its portfolio and expertise in key sectors such as technology, finance, and gaming through new client wins, solidifying its position as a trusted advisor for businesses seeking to enhance their brand presence and achieve their communication objectives.With over twenty-five years of experience in developing communication strategies and digital initiatives for clients, Matrix PR is well-equipped to thrive in today's evolving branding and communication environment. Effective communication is paramount, with digital platforms playing a pivotal role in comprehensive and integrated strategies.Looking ahead, Matrix PR remains committed to innovation, excellence, and client satisfaction. With a proven track record of success and a dedicated team driving its vision, the agency is poised to continue its upward trajectory and achieve even greater milestones in the future.

Lightspeed taps Fight or Flight for US PR push

E-commerce leader Lightspeed, listed on the NYSE and TSX (Toronto Stock Exchange), has selected Fight or Flight to handle their US public relations. The Montreal-based company, boasting a 33% revenue increase to $730.5 million in 2023, is seeking to strengthen its US presence.This win adds to Fight or Flight's successful first quarter, securing three other clients:  Arkestro: A predictive procurement platform, Fight or Flight will manage their global messaging and integrated communications for North America, including creative campaigns, executive profiling, social media, and proactive press relations.  Atera: An AI-powered IT management platform, Fight or Flight will handle their creative campaigns and execution.  Deep Genomics: Fight or Flight will support this company with global message development and building their communications function."We deliver on the creative promises we make to clients," said Tim Fry, Chair of Fight or Flight North America. "With B2B brands increasingly using creativity to reach their audience, our expertise can make that happen. We're excited to bring our creative approach to these integrated North American campaigns."

Rethinking Public Relations for the Digital era – Best practices and tools

The rapid transition to digital has brought about immense transformation in every sphere of the industry. Public Relations has seen significant transformations as new opportunities emerge in this digital era. No longer is PR seen as mere media relations, as it is increasingly integrated with the marketing and advertising functions to give a whole new dimension to the brand communication space.According to Statista reports from December 2023, around 68% of surveyed public relations professionals worldwide identified artificial intelligence (AI) as most impactful in research and list building. Of these professionals, 68% found AI useful for research list building, 47% for monitoring and measuring, and 36% for strategy and planning.The report also indicates that nearly two-thirds (64%) of PR professionals globally are using generative AI solutions like ChatGPT or DALL-E in their work, a significant increase from the 33% reported earlier in April of the same year. Moreover, the percentage of PR professionals not planning to explore AI tools decreased from 15% to 5%.Girish Balachandran, Founder, ON PURPOSE, emphasized the importance of crafting authentic narratives that resonate across platforms while maintaining transparency and agility. He highlighted the use of multimedia content and building strong relationships with stakeholders to amplify PR efforts.On the other hand, Shibani Kumar, Founder, Properganda, stressed on the need for digital literacy among PR professionals and integrating tech tools like social media monitoring platforms and analytics software for targeted communication strategies.Speaking about effective techniques for managing and leveraging data analytics in PR campaigns, Shibani Kumar mentioned the invaluable insights data analytics offer in refining strategies and predicting trends. Meanwhile, Girish Balachandran emphasized on leveraging data-driven insights and emerging technologies like generative AI to streamline processes and foster authentic connections with audiences.Managing & leveraging data analytics to enhance PR campaignsSpeaking about the key techniques, Shibani Kumar shared, “Data analytics has become invaluable in modern PR operations, offering insights that can significantly enhance campaign effectiveness. By leveraging data analytics, we can precisely target desired audience segments, measure the impact of campaigns in real-time, and iteratively refine strategies for optimal results. From tracking media mentions to monitoring social media engagement metrics, the power of data analytics enables us to make data-driven decisions that drive tangible outcomes. Predictive analytics can anticipate trends, identify potential crises, and tailor PR strategies accordingly, inspiring proactive and strategic decision-making.”Balachandran felt that the evolution of public relations in the digital era has been nothing short of transformative. “We, as PR professionals, today navigate a complex web of social media, online forums, and digital outlets to effectively communicate key messaging. It’s no longer just about issuing press releases, but about creating content that is engaging, sparks conversations and drives action.Embracing data-driven insights to inform PR strategies will continue to remain key while we leverage emerging technologies like generative AI and automation to streamline processes, and foster authentic connections with audiences through personalised communication.”Building strong relationshipsSpeaking on some effective ways in which PR professionals can engage with consumers, influencers and media, Balachandran said, “The first and most crucial step is to identify and understand the unique preferences and behaviours of each stakeholder group, whether it is consumers, influencers, or the media. From there, we tailor messaging and communication channels to effectively reach and resonate with each audience group.”He further said, “It is important to build authentic relationships based on trust and transparency in order to foster credibility and loyalty. Actively listening to stakeholder feedback and engaging in meaningful conversations is one of the best ways to cultivate strong relationships to drive long-term success.”According to Shibani Kumar, PR professionals can achieve this by tailoring messages to resonate with different audience segments based on their interests, preferences, and communication channels. “But above all, maintaining transparency and authenticity in communications, including admitting mistakes, addressing concerns openly, and providing accurate information, is the key to building trust with stakeholders,” she added.The rapid transition to digital has brought about immense transformation in every sphere of the industry. Public Relations has seen significant transformations as new opportunities emerge in this digital era. No longer is PR seen as mere media relations, as it is increasingly integrated with the marketing and advertising functions to give a whole new dimension to the brand communication space.According to Statista reports from December 2023, around 68% of surveyed public relations professionals worldwide identified artificial intelligence (AI) as most impactful in research and list building. Of these professionals, 68% found AI useful for research list building, 47% for monitoring and measuring, and 36% for strategy and planning.The report also indicates that nearly two-thirds (64%) of PR professionals globally are using generative AI solutions like ChatGPT or DALL-E in their work, a significant increase from the 33% reported earlier in April of the same year. Moreover, the percentage of PR professionals not planning to explore AI tools decreased from 15% to 5%.Girish Balachandran, Founder, ON PURPOSE, emphasized the importance of crafting authentic narratives that resonate across platforms while maintaining transparency and agility. He highlighted the use of multimedia content and building strong relationships with stakeholders to amplify PR efforts.On the other hand, Shibani Kumar, Founder, Properganda, stressed on the need for digital literacy among PR professionals and integrating tech tools like social media monitoring platforms and analytics software for targeted communication strategies.Speaking about effective techniques for managing and leveraging data analytics in PR campaigns, Shibani Kumar mentioned the invaluable insights data analytics offer in refining strategies and predicting trends. Meanwhile, Girish Balachandran emphasized on leveraging data-driven insights and emerging technologies like generative AI to streamline processes and foster authentic connections with audiences.Managing & leveraging data analytics to enhance PR campaignsSpeaking about the key techniques, Shibani Kumar shared, “Data analytics has become invaluable in modern PR operations, offering insights that can significantly enhance campaign effectiveness. By leveraging data analytics, we can precisely target desired audience segments, measure the impact of campaigns in real-time, and iteratively refine strategies for optimal results. From tracking media mentions to monitoring social media engagement metrics, the power of data analytics enables us to make data-driven decisions that drive tangible outcomes. Predictive analytics can anticipate trends, identify potential crises, and tailor PR strategies accordingly, inspiring proactive and strategic decision-making.”Balachandran felt that the evolution of public relations in the digital era has been nothing short of transformative. “We, as PR professionals, today navigate a complex web of social media, online forums, and digital outlets to effectively communicate key messaging. It’s no longer just about issuing press releases, but about creating content that is engaging, sparks conversations and drives action.Embracing data-driven insights to inform PR strategies will continue to remain key while we leverage emerging technologies like generative AI and automation to streamline processes, and foster authentic connections with audiences through personalised communication.”Building strong relationshipsSpeaking on some effective ways in which PR professionals can engage with consumers, influencers and media, Balachandran said, “The first and most crucial step is to identify and understand the unique preferences and behaviours of each stakeholder group, whether it is consumers, influencers, or the media. From there, we tailor messaging and communication channels to effectively reach and resonate with each audience group.”He further said, “It is important to build authentic relationships based on trust and transparency in order to foster credibility and loyalty. Actively listening to stakeholder feedback and engaging in meaningful conversations is one of the best ways to cultivate strong relationships to drive long-term success.”According to Shibani Kumar, PR professionals can achieve this by tailoring messages to resonate with different audience segments based on their interests, preferences, and communication channels. “But above all, maintaining transparency and authenticity in communications, including admitting mistakes, addressing concerns openly, and providing accurate information, is the key to building trust with stakeholders,” she added.Challenges and complexities of the digital landscapeAddressing the difficulties faced by PR practitioners, Shibani Kumar said, “Some of the major challenges now are managing the vast amount of information available online, including monitoring multiple channels, analysing data, staying updated on trends and conversations, and handling online reputation crises and social media backlash when audiences are more aware than ever while maintaining brand integrity and credibility and demonstrating the ROI of PR efforts in the digital realm, including tracking and attributing outcomes such as brand awareness, engagement, and conversion.”She added, “We can proactively invest in robust analytics tools to track and analyse digital data, derive actionable insights, and accurately measure PR campaign effectiveness.”For Balachandran, it is imperative to stay vigilant and monitor online conversations, pre-emptively address potential issues before they escalate, and be transparent and responsive as much as possible in all communications. Investing in continuous learning and development, and staying alert on emerging trends and technologies is essential for staying ahead of the curve in today’s rapidly evolving digital landscape.

Elev8 Venture Partners taps The Media Manifest as PR partner

Elev8 Venture Partners, India's first pro-rata fund venture capital firm, has chosen The Media Manifest as its strategic communication partner. The Media Manifest will handle Elev8's PR, with the aim of amplifying Elev8's brand presence and industry position in the startup investment landscape.Elev8 Venture Partners is a Bengaluru-based venture capital firm that focuses on investing in growth-stage, technology-driven companies. Backed by KB Investment, South Korea's largest financial conglomerate, and Venture Catalysts (VCats), Elev8 has a $200 million fund that allows investors to maintain their ownership stake in subsequent funding rounds. The firm invests in 12-14 tech-enabled, sector-agnostic startups in Series B and C funding rounds, with investments ranging between $10-15 million.Kinjal Shah, Co-founder, The Media Manifest, said: “As India's startup and venture capital landscape is rapidly evolving, it has become important for VC firms to stand out not only in terms of their investment vision but also in how they communicate and connect with their target audience. Through strategic PR initiatives, we aim to position Elev8 as a groundbreaker in the venture capital space, enabling them to reach their relevant audience and amplify their impact."The Media Manifest is a Public Relations and Digital Media agency, founded by Kinjal Shah and Nupur Maheshwari in September, 2021. Having a focused approach in the new age space, TMM offers tailored public relations and digital solutions in the rapidly shifting ecosystem by driving the brand narrative to achieve maximum impact. Their expertise lies in strategic analysis, collaborations, and creative outlook from the brand’s perspective.Headquartered in Mumbai, the agency provides solutions like Reputation Management, Crisis Communication, Strategic Consultation, and Influencer Marketing. The practices are centred around Fintech, BFSI, wealth management, personal finance, technology, startups and venture capital amongst others.

Foreign PR Retreat: Strategic Misstep in India and China?

Authored by Bhaskar Majumdar, Head - Marketing Communication, Digital and CSR, Egis South Asia and originator of CommsAdda.In recent developments that have sent ripples across the public relations industry in Asia, prominent PR agencies like Ketchum Sampark have initiated significant layoffs and are winding down operations in pivotal markets such as India and China. This strategic retraction by global giants has not only impacted the employees but also disrupted the service continuum for numerous clients. Let’s look into why these firms, despite their global prowess, are struggling in these fast-growing markets and the broader implications for all stakeholders involved.Ketchum, a titan in the PR industry, has faced daunting challenges in maintaining its operational footprint in China and India. These markets are characterized by their unique cultural, economic, and media landscapes, which often require localized knowledge and a nuanced approach to business practices and client relations. Ketchum's decision to acquire local firms like Sampark in India and form alliances like Newscan in China initially seemed to pave the way for deeper market integration. However, navigating the complex business environment in these countries demands more than just a presence; it requires a holistic understanding of local consumer behaviour, media relations, and regulatory frameworks.Recent news stories highlight that Ketchum is laying off most of its workforce in China and India, incorporating the remaining staff and clients into its sibling agency FleishmanHillard. This move suggests a consolidation strategy aiming to cut losses and streamline operations. Despite this drastic measure, Mike Doyle, Ketchum's global CEO, assured that the brand would continue serving the markets through the Omnicom network, indicating a shift in strategy rather than a complete exit.However, such consolidations are often seen as a last resort when profitability is under severe pressure. Factors contributing to these pressures include Understanding the Indian market is essential for effective public relations due to its diversity in languages, cultures, burgeoning startup ecosystem, and numerous other factors influencing business viability. Acquiring insights into 'Bharat', representing the heartland of India, is particularly crucial for navigating this dynamic landscape. Another key factor is fierce competition from homegrown agencies who possess inherent advantages in understanding domestic markets and client needs, as well as challenges in adapting global strategies to local contexts effectively. Additionally, the rapid evolution of digital media landscapes and public relations tools may have outpaced the traditional operational models of these international firms.Foreign consultancies often face higher operational costs due to their global standards and practices, which may not always align with local pricing dynamics. The pressure to deliver results comparable to their performance in Western markets can lead to misaligned business strategies that fail to resonate locally. Moreover, the entry strategy through acquisitions can sometimes backfire if the integration processes dilute the local firm’s strengths instead of building upon them.The contraction of firms like Ketchum in India and China profoundly impacts various stakeholders, leaving a significant void across multiple dimensions of the PR industry. First and foremost, the layoffs engender immediate job losses, casting a shadow of uncertainty over the future career paths of numerous affected employees. While the transition of remaining personnel to FleishmanHillard might offer some semblance of continuity, the integration process is often riddled with challenges. These can range from issues of cultural fit within the new organization to substantial adjustments in roles and responsibilities, potentially complicating what might already be a stressful period for these individuals.For clients of agencies like Ketchum, the impact is similarly disruptive. These businesses have depended on the established expertise and global reach of their PR agencies to guide their communications strategies and safeguard their corporate reputations. With the operational fold into FleishmanHillard, these clients could face interruptions that may affect the continuity of ongoing campaigns, disturb the established dynamics between client and agency, and misalign strategic objectives that were previously in place.The local PR industry faces its own set of challenges and opportunities from these international pullbacks. On one hand, the retreat of a global player like Ketchum could reduce competition, potentially freeing up market space for domestic firms. On the other hand, this contraction also reduces the diversity of professional PR services and global perspectives within the market. International firms often bring different approaches and a broader worldview that can spur innovation and elevate standards within the local industry.The market perception influenced by such high-profile exits cannot be underestimated. When international firms scale back their operations or exit markets like India and China entirely, it sends a potent message regarding the viability and attractiveness of these markets. Such moves might be interpreted as these regions being too challenging to navigate or not sufficiently profitable, potentially deterring future foreign investments in these sectors. This could have long-term implications for the economic landscape, affecting not just the PR sector but broader business activities in these vibrant markets.The retrenchment of Ketchum and similar entities calls for a reassessment of how global PR firms operate in culturally and economically diverse markets like India and China. Success in these markets requires firms to not only adapt their strategies but also deeply immerse themselves in understanding local nuances. For the PR industry in Asia, this could be a moment of introspection and perhaps an opportunity for local firms to rise and fill the gaps, leveraging their inherent market insights and cultural compatibilities.DISCLAIMER: The views expressed are solely of the author and does not necessarily subscribe to it.

WE wins Schoen Clinic UK Group account to promote mental health expertise

WE Communications has emerged victorious in a competitive pitch, securing the PR and digital communications brief for Schoen Clinic UK Group.Schoen Clinic UK Group, a leader in specialized private mental health and eating disorder treatment, is part of the Schoen Clinic Group, the largest family-owned hospital company in Germany. WE will leverage their expertise to promote Schoen Clinic UK Group's multidisciplinary approach and proven success in supporting both adult and pediatric patients."We are excited to partner with WE Communications, an agency that understands our business and shares our ethos, as we continue to grow our footprint in the mental healthcare space in the UK. WE’s strong healthcare sector knowledge and integrated digital capabilities made them an obvious choice to partner with for our exciting next chapter,” said Laura Penn, Marketing Director at Schoen Clinic UK Group. WE will focus on content development, media engagement, and digital marketing to achieve Schoen Clinic UK Group's objectives. Niamh Griffin, Director of Health at WE Communications, will lead the account.“Schoen Clinic UK Group joins a growing list of WE healthcare clients driving positive outcomes and impact for people in the UK. The team is excited to join Schoen Clinic UK Group as they seek to improve people’s lives and help them access their specialised treatments across the country,” said Ben Fisher, Head of Health at WE Communications. This win adds Schoen Clinic UK Group to WE's impressive global health portfolio, which already boasts 12 of the world's top 25 bio and pharma companies.

Ketchum Sampark Restructures: Staff to Transition to FleishmanHillard

Ketchum Sampark is undergoing a strategic transition, with layoffs affecting staff in India and China. The remaining personnel and clients will be integrated into FleishmanHillard. Approximately 40 staff members in India and China are expected to be impacted by these changes.India MD, Rohan Srinivasan, will oversee the transition process for a period. Despite the restructure, sources suggest that the Ketchum Sampark brand may persist even after the transition to FleishmanHillard.Mike Doyle, Ketchum's president and CEO, explained the move as part of the company's growth and innovation strategy. He emphasized the importance of leveraging the Omnicom network and infrastructure to continue providing clients with exceptional service and global connectivity.Established in 1994, Ketchum Sampark initially specialized in financial services before being acquired by Omnicom's Ketchum in 2011. Founders Bela and NS Rajan retired from the company in 2021.This restructuring comes amid a period of growth for the Indian PR industry, although challenges such as flat retainers and talent shortages persist. Despite these obstacles, the industry has continued to show resilience, with double-digit growth reported in recent years.The transition underscores a collaborative effort between Ketchum Sampark and FleishmanHillard to provide clients with enhanced services and expertise in India's evolving PR landscape.

Shalini Singh deciphers RPG Group's sustainability communication

We are in a new era of Public Relations. In the last few years, the importance of reputation management has taken a sea change. More brands and clients, especially from the leadership teams, are viewing Public Relations from a close range. The industry has undergone a radical change with the advent of social media, which has to a large extent changed the approach to Public Relations. We have a relatively new and young audience that we need to face in the coming years so there are bigger challenges for brands and PR practitioners, who have to be more agile and proactive in their thinking to draw up business solutions for clients.In our exclusive column – PR Conversation – Adgully interacts with leading business leaders and obtains their exclusive views and insights on the various trends in the PR and communications industry.In conversation with Adgully, Shalini Singh, Group Head-Brand and Communications, RPG Group, speaks in length about her role at RPG Group, the #ChangetheStory sustainability project, RPG Group’s approach to sustainability communication, and much more.How has your journey been like so far? How did you transition into the role of Group Head - Brand & Communications at RPG Group?My professional journey began with a world class company, Arvind Mills, which was a global organization, ahead of its time. I learned a lot by setting up the communications function for this dynamic company and also worked on interesting brand launches and campaigns. In the dynamic era of the Y2K, I had the privilege of working with renowned companies like Kale Consultants and Bharti Tele-Ventures. These enriching experiences laid the foundation for my career in corporate communication.I have spent over 6 years of my career heading Corporate Communications, CSR & Sustainability at Tata Power, spearheading sustainability initiatives. Sustainability has always been my passion. Club Enerji & Act for Mahseer are a few of the properties we initiated at Tata Power, which have grown humongous now.My next stint was at Lafarge Holcim, where I took on the role of Head of Corporate Communications and Sustainability, for its two Indian entities- Ambuja and ACC. This was an interesting chapter of my career, where I first facilitated the brand transition from Lafarge Holcim to Holcim in India. Later, I facilitated brand transition during the takeover of companies from Holcim to Adani. At ACC and Ambuja, our sustainability projects, like #ChangetheStory, got global recognition.Transitioning into the role of Group Head - Brand & Communications at RPG Group was a natural progression, where I leverage my expertise to drive impactful brand strategies aligned with the group’s vision and values. The Group’s brand promise is – Hello Happiness, which endorses happiness for all. Sustainability is among the Group’s key focuses.It’s been an enriching journey marked by continuous learning, growth, and contributing my bit to the plant. Experience in varied sectors like Power, Cement, IT, Telecom, Pharma, automotive and Textiles & Garments has given me a nuanced and holistic perspective that helps both professionally and personally.How do you approach integrating sustainability practices into the overall brand communication strategy for RPG Group?Sustainability is an integral part of RPG Group’s brand identity. We ensure that sustainability principles are embedded into every aspect of our communication strategy, from product messaging to corporate storytelling.RPG Group and its companies are purpose-driven entities and our focus is creating long-term impact. For instance, our most recent sustainability campaign is a mega plantation drive wherein the group has pledged to conserve, restore, and grow one million trees by 2030. So, it is more of a long-term project than short.Our approach to sustainability communication begins by aligning with the overarching vision and goals of the Group and its diverse business entities. For instance, CEAT Ltd, our flagship company, has set a target to reduce its carbon footprint by 50% by 2030, while KEC International aims to decrease greenhouse gas emissions intensity at its manufacturing plants by 20% by FY26. Similarly, Zensar Technologies, another RPG Group entity, has pledged to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by FY 2040. Through these goals, we strive to lead by example for the industry. By leveraging our brand communication channels, we aim to amplify our sustainability initiatives, raise awareness among stakeholders, and inspire collective action towards environmental conservation.Moreover, our sustainability communication strategy revolves around shared commitments to UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), encompassing objectives such as circular economy practices, water management, energy efficiency, and carbon neutrality.In essence, sustainability is not just a checkbox for RPG Group; it’s a fundamental principle that guides our decision-making and shapes our brand identity.With your extensive experience across various industries, how have you seen the landscape of brand communication evolve over the years?Branding and communication industry has evolved tremendously over the past few decades. This is majorly driven by technological advancements. We have witnessed consumer behaviour changing and focus shifting. Sustainability is now mainstream. I began working 4-5 years before the Y2K; this was the time when we had newly begun embracing digital and incorporating the web in every business function. Communication was no different.Over the years, we have witnessed a significant shift towards digital platforms, enabling more targeted and personalized communication strategies. The traditional media simultaneously have also reinvented themselves, thus changing the dynamics. This industry keeps one on their toes, as agility in evolving with the times is of key importance.As digital media continues to thrive, the scope of PR and corporate communications has expanded, encompassing reputation management, stakeholder engagement, and crisis response. In this dynamic environment, integrated communication strategies that seamlessly blend traditional and digital channels have become imperative for building brand resilience and fostering meaningful connections with audiences.What are some key challenges you faced in your role, and how did you overcome them?As Chief - Corporate Communications, CSR & Sustainability, navigating the complex landscape of stakeholder expectations and balancing short-term goals with long-term sustainability objectives posed significant challenges. However, by fostering collaboration across departments, leveraging data-driven insights, and fostering a culture of transparency and accountability, we were able to overcome these challenges and drive meaningful progress. During crisis management, meticulous scenario planning and responsiveness help build trust with our stakeholders.You have also been the Chairman of the POSH Committee. What strategies did you implement to promote a safe and inclusive work environment within your organizations?As Chairman of the POSH Committee, promoting a safe and inclusive work environment was a top priority. We implemented robust policies and procedures to prevent and address instances of harassment, while also fostering a culture of respect and diversity through awareness campaigns, training programs, and employee resource groups. By prioritizing all employees’ well-being and accountability, we created a workplace where everyone feels valued and supported.In your opinion, what are the essential qualities or skills required for a successful career in integrated communications and sustainability?Deep understanding of business, strategic thinking, adaptability, and a passion for driving positive change are essential qualities for success in integrated communications and sustainability. Staying updated with the latest trends and developments, being empathetic towards diverse perspectives, and fostering collaboration across disciplines are also critical for navigating the dynamic landscape of corporate communications and sustainability.Could you share a memorable experience or achievement from your career that you are particularly proud of?There are many memorable experiences, but chief of them are being amongst Asia’s Top Sustainability Superwomen List of Honor (2019) by GRI for note worthy contributions to building the nation and putting it on a roll-journey leveraging futuristic insights and contributions in the areas of Communication, CSR and Sustainability. The second one being Holcim’s #ChangeTheStory campaign, which is indeed something I look back at and reflect upon. The initiative was special as it not only raised awareness about critical sustainability issues, but also mobilized stakeholders towards collective action. And that is an example of the power of integrated communications in driving positive change.A standout aspect of the #ChangeTheStory campaign was the introduction of bubble barrier technology, a cutting-edge innovation designed to remove plastic waste from waterways. I believe, #ChangeTheStory is remarkable in the sense that it created a tangible impact on the environment. By leveraging sustainability measures supported by advanced technology, we were able to make a lasting and measurable difference in our surroundings. It reinforces the power of collective action in driving positive change. I believe that is what won us the various awards and global recognitions.

Bloomingdale & Eastwest win Crunchyroll's India & SEA PR

Bloomingdale Public Relations Pte. Ltd., a leading communications firm renowned for its innovative strategies and impactful campaigns, has been appointed the PR agency in select Asia markets for Crunchyroll, the ultimate home for anime worldwide.  Based in India, Bloomingdale will be responsible for strategic planning and coordination of Crunchyroll’s regional PR efforts in India, Singapore, Indonesia, and the Philippines. The scope of work includes strategic planning, client liaison, account management, media relations, and press office management, among others. In Southeast Asia, Bloomingdale will be supported by Eastwest Public Relations for local strategic counsel in Singapore, Indonesia, and the Philippines. Based in Singapore, Eastwest PR will be responsible for landing high-impact earned media stories for Crunchyroll in all three markets and building the corporate reputation of Crunchyroll as the premiere destination for anime.  Anime continues to rise in popularity and has become a cultural force – across all demographics and audiences. According to the latest Anime Industry Report by the Association of Japanese Animators, the global anime market grew by a staggering 106.8 percent in 2022, hitting a record 2.9 trillion yen (around US$19.1 billion), driven mainly by the international market outside of Japan.  Championing the art and culture of anime, Crunchyroll boasts a passionate global community of anime fans. To provide an immersive anime experience to all fans, Crunchyroll provides anime content streaming service and several other anime-related offerings such as theatricals, e-commerce and merchandise, music, manga, events, gaming, and experiential.  The timely appointment of Bloomingdale and Eastwest PR will further drive brand awareness and accelerate user growth for the platform across the region. "We are excited to embark on this journey with Bloomingdale PR and Eastwest PR as our trusted partners in India and Southeast Asia. With their strategic counsel and expertise in media relations, we are confident in our ability to further establish Crunchyroll as the ultimate destination for anime enthusiasts in the region” added Akshat Sahu, Director of Marketing - APAC, Crunchyroll. Diana Fernandes, Founder and CEO of Bloomingdale PR, expressed her excitement about the partnership, stating, "We are honoured to be entrusted with the PR mandate for Crunchyroll across Southeast Asia. The anime community is vibrant and growing quickly across South East Asia. We are committed to leveraging our expertise and creativity to elevate Crunchyroll's brand presence and engage with fans across the region." Naveen K, Partner at Eastwest PR, commented, "Millennials like us grew up watching anime as a hobby. Today, Gen Z has embraced the category as a beloved form of mainstream entertainment. There is perhaps no better household brand than Crunchyroll when it comes to anime, and we are excited to partner with the company to deliver impactful campaigns that resonate with audiences of all demographics.” As Bloomingdale PR continues to foster strategic partnerships and drive impactful campaigns across India and Southeast Asia, the agency remains dedicated to delivering excellence and driving success for its clients.

The Evolving PR Professional: Niche Expertise or Multi-Skilled Mastermind?

The world of Public Relations (PR) is undergoing a rapid transformation. While the core principles of building brand reputation and managing communication remain, the job description and skillset required for success are evolving at an even faster pace.The PR Crossroads: Specialization vs. DiversificationThis dynamic landscape presents PR professionals with a crucial question: Should they specialize in a specific niche or become a multi-skilled professional adept at juggling various PR disciplines?This upcoming panel discussion, titled "The Evolving PR Professional: Niche Expertise or Multi-Skilled Mastermind?", will delve into this critical topic. Join us for a thought-provoking conversation that explores:The rewards and risks of niche specialization vs. a diversified skillset.The impact of these choices on career growth and leadership opportunities.How the PR profession's trajectory will be shaped by the dominant approach.Industry leaders share insights.The discussion will be led by Mou Chakravorty, Associate Director, Marketing, Brand & Communications at Deloitte India, and feature a distinguished panel of PR experts:Minari Shah, Director, International (APAC, EU, LATAM) – Owned Content & Channels at AmazonPriya Bendre, Assistant General Manager - Corporate Communication at Fortis HealthcareSonali Sokhal, Founder of Intelliquo PRThe event provides an ideal platform to gain valuable insights into the future of PR.Date & Time: Saturday, April 27, 2024, 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM ISTIndustry Partner: CommsAddaContent Curators: Tarunjeet Rattan, Sonali Sokhal, Pooja Trehan

Winners announced: PRCA MENA Awards 2024 recognizes outstanding PR achievements

The PRCA MENA Awards 2024 ceremony took place last night at Taj Hotel at business bay in Dubai, celebrating winners across 34 categories.Instinctif Partners MENA was honored with the prestigious title of Large Consultancy of the Year, underscoring their sustained impact and commitment to excellence. Current Global was crowned Small Consultancy of the Year, while Gambit Communications clinched the Medium Consultancy award, adding to the diversity and excellence within the regional PR landscape.Additionally, Atteline's Sophie Simpson was recognized as the PR Leader of the Year, acknowledging her exceptional leadership and contributions to the industry.Monika Fourneaux MPRCA, Head of EMEA at PRCA, hailed the evening as a testament to the region's outstanding communications talent. "The PRCA MENA Awards 2024 ceremony showcased the very best in regional communications," she remarked. "With a record-breaking number of entries, the competition was fierce, highlighting the PRCA MENA Awards as the gold standard in our industry. Congratulations to all the winners and finalists!"Reflecting on the event, James Hewes, attending his first PRCA MENA Awards, expressed his admiration for the talent on display. "It's inspiring to witness the calibre of talent and innovation showcased at the PRCA MENA Awards," he remarked. "As we continue to navigate a rapidly evolving communications landscape, these awards serve as a testament to the creativity and dedication driving our industry forward."

ICCPL wins PR mandate for Crack Academy

Delhi-based PR firm Integrated Centre for Consultancy Pvt. Ltd. (ICCPL) has secured the media and communication strategy management account for Crack Academy.Crack Academy, established in 2007, is an online ed-tech platform dedicated to Civil Services Examination preparation. They empower aspiring IAS officers with high-quality, affordable distance learning solutions. Crack Academy bridges critical learning gaps and offers accessible educational technology. The academy is led by Neeraj Kansal, an entrepreneur with over 20 years of experience building businesses across various sectors.ICCPL expands its client portfolio with this significant win. ICCPL takes abstract concepts and transforms them into captivating brands that resonate deeply with target audiences.

Untangling the Web: Measuring PR’s Impact in the Marketing Mix

In the high-octane world of marketing, Public Relations (PR) often plays a vital role. It shapes brand perception, cultivates positive media coverage, and fosters valuable relationships with stakeholders. But unlike flashy ad campaigns or targeted social media blitzes, PR’s impact can be subtle yet significant. The challenge? Isolating and measuring its success amidst a symphony of marketing efforts. The third and final part of this series dives into the strategies PR professionals use to quantify their contributions, proving the power of strategic communication in today’s dynamic marketing landscape.Read the first two parts here:Why it is tough to bring in standardization in traditional PR metrics?Data-driven approach to PR metrics: Understanding the new dynamics in AI eraJyotsna Dash Nanda, AVP, Corporate Communications, DS Group, feels that isolating the specific impact of PR campaigns within a broader marketing mix can be challenging. However, she adds, several methods can help PR professionals measure their contribution. One approach, according to her, is to utilize marketing mix modeling (MMM), which employs statistical techniques to quantify the independent effect of each marketing channel, including PR, on sales or other key metrics (Farris et al., 2010).“PR professionals can also track campaign-specific metrics like brand mentions with positive sentiment before, during, and after the campaign to isolate its influence (Kitchen et al., 2017). Additionally, utilizing unique UTM parameters (Urchin Tracking Module) in press releases or social media posts linked to PR efforts allows for tracking website traffic specifically driven by the campaign (Smith, 2020). By employing a combination of these methods, PR professionals can gain a clearer picture of their campaigns' impact within the wider marketing ecosystem,” she says.In an increasingly converging and integrated communication universe, this could be challenging and the metrics do overlap at times, observes Sumathi Chari, Senior Partner & Director, PRHUB. “Having said that, public relations (PR) fundamentally revolves around storytelling. It gains traction naturally when shared by impartial voices unconnected to the brand or its campaigns. Therefore, the extent to which we can cultivate and attract attention through compelling narratives will consistently serve as a pivotal and unique metric for evaluation,” she says.First and foremost, says Siddhartha Mukherjee, Founder of Brand Balance, PR is not limited to supporting the CMO and the marketing team of the organisation alone. According to him, its capability and the real scope of work are much larger and more complex. In fact, he adds, the actual capability of what PR is meant to do gets amplified when PR works with the CEO and all other CXOs. Hence, PR does not just work for the marketing of products or services of a brand alone, but also the employer brand, investor brand, vendor and partner brand, government brand, and so on.“Talking specifically about measurement in marketing campaigns, it is first important to understand PR’s amazing potential to strengthen the marketing campaigns across the pre, during, and post phases. In fact, if one studies the data of various marketing campaigns across industries, it will be observed that very few have made judicious use of PR in all three phases across pre, during, and post. In most of the cases, PR’s recall by the marketing team has been at the 11th hour, and therefore, its intervention got restricted to ‘during’ or the ‘launch’ or ‘announcement’ phase only. If PR is leveraged properly with scientific ERPs - efforts, resources, and processes, its measurement will reveal amazing results in the outcome stage of the measurement framework. Paid and earned stimuli can be separately linked with the strengthening of brand recall and engagement scores,” Mukherjee explains.Beyond ROI: Exploring Vital Metrics in MeasurementIn the realm of PR, measuring success extends far beyond the traditional confines of Return on Investment (ROI). While ROI serves as a crucial indicator of financial performance, it often fails to capture the full spectrum of PR’s impact on brand reputation, audience engagement, and overall organisational goals. In the multifaceted landscape of PR metrics, it is important dive into alternative benchmarks that hold equal significance in assessing campaign efficacy. By understanding the importance of these metrics, PR professionals can craft more comprehensive strategies and demonstrate the true value of their efforts to stakeholders.While ROI remains a key performance indicator, PR success extends beyond the bottom line, says Jyotsna Dash Nanda. “Measuring media reach, sentiment analysis, social engagement, and website traffic paint a more comprehensive picture. These metrics reveal brand visibility, audience perception, and the impact of PR efforts on business objectives.”According to Tarunjeet Rattan, Managing Partner, Nucleus PR, while measuring success, PR professionals can also add these to the report to add additional layers:Social Media TrafficDigital Platform AnalyticsGoogle AnalyticsWebsite TrafficMarket ResearchOnline Listening Reports“Each of these metrics serves as an indicator of the reputation the PR team strives to cultivate for the brand. The availability of comprehensive data allows for thorough analysis, empowering the team to leverage insights effectively and demonstrate the tangible impact of PR efforts. However, challenges arise when data is scarce or inaccessible, compounded by limited resources for investing in necessary tools. In such scenarios, the team may find themselves reliant solely on media coverage to justify their presence and contributions, highlighting the critical importance of accessible data and adequate support for achieving ROI goals,” says Rattan.Like other forms of communication, PR too, can never lay its claim on ROI (transaction), says Siddhartha Mukherjee.“However, it can and should claim its stake in ROO (Returns of Objective); in other words, measurement data that showcase change of thinking within target audiences. To achieve ROO as the outcome, the entire PR Measurement framework - INPUT-OUTPUT-OUTCOME - needs to be strengthened and leveraged very efficiently. Each block of Input, Output, and Outcome will need to have an intricate series of metrics. To sprinkle a few:PR Input should work towards balancing and target setting metrics such as reach, frequency, sustenance, emotion, multimedia, etc.Preference for monthly as against quarterly planning cycle.Junking the AVE cancer.To evaluate the visibility quotient, preference for holistic index scores as against count of articles or space...and so on,” Mukherjee explains.

Net-zero company BOOTES awards PR mandate to PRable Global

PRable Global, one of India’s new-age PR agencies, has been awarded strategic communications and PR mandate from BOOTES, India's first net-zero company working towards Modi's ambitious vision of achieving net zero by 2070. The partnership is founded on a shared vision for technological innovation and sustainability. In this new collaboration, PRable Global will implement comprehensive strategies to enhance BOOTES positioning as a forefront leader in the NetZero construction-tech industry.  India’s first Net-Zero company, BOOTES, is synonymous with innovation in India's construction landscape, spearheading a paradigm shift towards sustainable Net-Zero infrastructure. The company is committed to revolutionizing the industry, one eco-friendly project at a time. In their quest for a greener, healthier Bharat, BOOTES is not just building structures but rather crafting a sustainable legacy. The company's vision transcends traditional construction norms. As architects of change, they envision a future powered by 100% on-site energy generation, thereby reducing carbon footprints and operational costs. Their projects, like the Net-Zero Jhansi Library, Shrimad Bhagwat Geeta Museum, Haryana, Pradhan Mantri Sangralahaya, Delhi, 354 Hudson Street, New York, World Expo India Pavilion, Dubai, etc., spanning the length and breadth of India, echo their unwavering commitment to PM Modi’s vision of a Net-Zero nation by 2070. Deepak Rai, Managing Director BOOTES, said: “We are delighted to have PRable Global as our strategic communications partner because of their strong capabilities across verticals. I am confident that our partnership will lead to increased awareness and appreciation of our brand presence.".   Aman Singh Madaan, Founder at PRable Global, said: “BOOTES is a revolutionary company that is helping achieve India’s net-zero goals. We are excited to partner with them for PR. We believe that with our impactful tools and approach to media relations, we can showcase BOOTES’s ethos that is rooted in Aatmanirbhar Bharat.”  PRable Global will take on a pivotal role in positioning BOOTES' as a market leader. With a history of successful collaborations with renowned brands like MG Motor, SEPC by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Big Boy Toyz, Intellect Design, Landmark, Muffin, Netmeds, Adrenaline e-Systems, Lectrix EV, Ankur Suman, and more, PRable Global brings a wealth of experience to further amplify BOOTES market presence.

Carlsberg taps Hope&Glory for global PR and influencer push

Carlsberg, the iconic beer brand, has named Hope&Glory its new global PR and influencer marketing agency following a competitive selection process.The agency will be responsible for developing and executing strategic communication plans for Carlsberg's brand on a global scale, with a focus on the upcoming launch of a new creative platform and brand positioning: "Do the best things begin with curiosity? Probably." This tagline reflects Carlsberg's commitment to sparking consumer interest and engagement.Previously, Carlsberg's brand and corporate PR were handled by Golin, but the partnership ended in late 2023. This appointment comes alongside the recent selection of Richmond & Towers to manage PR and social media for Carlsberg's Brooklyn Brewery brand.Lynsey Woods, Carlsberg's Global Brand Director, expressed her enthusiasm about the new partnership: "We were impressed by Hope&Glory's capabilities, creativity, and ability to deliver exceptional results across both global and UK markets. We're confident they'll help us share captivating stories that bring joy to our consumers, and we're eager to see how they elevate our brand in the coming years."Dominique Daly, who will lead the Carlsberg account at Hope&Glory, echoed the excitement: "Carlsberg is the most iconic brand in its category. Probably. So, we jumped at the opportunity to bring a new platform of curiosity to life for today’s consumers, helping them not just fall in love with the brand but also understand the richness of its brand story."Carlsberg joins a roster of clients who rely on Hope&Glory as their central creative hub, including major brands like Polestar (automotive), Pepsi, The Pokemon Company International, and adidas.

Data-driven approach to PR metrics: Understanding the new dynamics in AI era

Part 2 - In today’s data-driven world, public relations (PR) professionals are under increasing pressure to demonstrate the true impact of their campaigns. Gone are the days of relying solely on vanity metrics like follower counts and press mentions. Companies are demanding a more holistic understanding of how PR efforts translate into tangible business results. The second part of this series dives into the exciting realm of emerging metrics and frameworks that are revolutionizing PR measurement. Adgully will explore innovative approaches that capture a broader picture of PR’s influence, encompassing brand sentiment, audience engagement, and ultimately, driving business objectives. The report will also investigate the potential of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in PR measurement, examining how AI can automate tasks, analyze vast datasets, and unlock deeper insights into campaign effectiveness.Forget just counting clips! The new wave of PR measurement goes beyond vanity metrics to understand the true impact of your story, observes Jyotsna Dash Nanda, AVP, Corporate Communications, DS Group. With a Media Impact Score that considers journalist clout and publication weight, you can ditch the brag sheet and focus on real influence, she adds. According to her, a Relevance Index ensures your message resonates with the right audience, while a Rank Index tracks your climb to the top of search results.“Engagement metrics show you how your audience is interacting, and Share of Narrative analysis reveals if your brand's story is cutting through the noise. PR measurement should focus on user engagement (clicks, shares, comments), website traffic conversion (sales, sign-ups) driven by PR efforts, and social listening to gauge brand sentiment and identify brand advocates. This data-driven approach demonstrates the true impact of PR on brand perception, audience engagement, and ultimately, business objectives. In today’s media landscape, it is not just about getting mentioned, it is about getting heard,” says Nanda.According to Jyotsna Dash Nanda, some emerging frameworks are:AMEC Framework: A widely used model that goes beyond outputs (media placements) to consider outcomes (changes in awareness, perception) and impacts (on business goals).PESO Model: A strategic framework classifying media channels (Paid, Earned, Shared, Owned) to understand how different elements work together to achieve PR goals.RACE Framework: A results-oriented approach focusing on Reach, Act, Convert, and Engage to measure the user journey influenced by PR efforts.She adds that these metrics and frameworks offer a more comprehensive understanding of PR’s effectiveness by prioritizing quality over quantity. “They go beyond simply counting media mentions to analyse the influence and relevance of the coverage. Additionally, these methods connect PR efforts directly to business goals by tracking website traffic, lead generation, and ultimately, sales. This data-driven approach also provides valuable insights into audience behaviour, revealing how audiences engage with PR content.”Traditional PR metrics, such as AVE, measuring media articles, brand mentions, or now even “potential reach” and “impressions” in isolation, do not define the actual audience reached or provide any subsequent internal engagement with your organisation, remarks Anup Sharma, Independent PR & Strategic Communications Consultant.He feels that focusing solely on media measurement provides an incomplete picture. Similarly, he adds, brand awareness cannot be seen as a metric for measuring a PR campaign as it should be viewed as an outcome of effective PR and marketing campaigns.According to him, most media monitoring tools do not integrate traditional media monitoring and social media monitoring, or do a poor job of integration. However, he adds, new platforms can now perform both functions well and integrate different data streams from traditional media, social media, as well as internal communications into a single dashboard.“Engagement metrics tell how the earned content resonates with the target audience and while calculating the same, it's important to also take sentiment analysis into account. With the right success measurements, organisations can refine communication strategies and show exactly how much the PR effort contributes to overall brand success. PR and communication professionals need to take a look at the bigger picture and use other metrics such as brand equity, brand engagement, and brand sentiment to better understand the impact of their brand in the market. In order to truly measure success, it is important to track organisational outcomes such as sales, customer retention, brand loyalty, and market share. These metrics will give you a more complete picture of brand performance. The blurring line between paid and earned media creates the issue of credibility and trust in communication. Now, with the work scope of a Public Relations consultancy growing beyond just media management relations, not every aspect of communication outreach being managed by the PR firm can be quantitatively measured,” says Anup Sharma.Digital PR metrics such as website domain authority, traffic to website and SEO ranking are now well-established metrics and are almost a must in PR measurement, points out Sumathi Chari, Senior Partner & Director, PRHUB. The advantage, according to her, is that they are more tangible compared to traditional metrics and are easier to align to desired business outcomes.She feels that an “integrated measurement” framework is critical in the future to assess the holistic impact a PR campaign has on the brand and business, one that measures across traditional, digital and social media amplification, that measures both quantitative metrics such as reach and impressions combined with qualitative parameters such as the messaging, tonality, engagement, reach to the right TG, alignment of content to TG, among others.Finally, says Chari, these metrics need to be brought together and analyzed comprehensively. “This analysis aims to extract key insights and define the campaign’s impact on the organisation/ brand in three key areas. The deeper we delve, the more effective we will be in defining the RoI and the impact of the PR campaign on the brand,” she adds.According to Siddhartha Mukherjee, Founder of Brand Balance, there are more than five unique advantages of PR measurement. However, for this, the measurement framework needs to be designed, executed, and sustained scientifically.“The measurement framework is a reflection of the way the human brain functions! Over the years, globally, various nomenclatures have been used to visualize a framework, such as - INPUT-OUTPUT-OUTCOME or EXPOSURE-ENGAGEMENT-CONVERSION. In fact, AMEC (the International Association of Measurement & Evaluation of Communication) has detailed it further as INPUT-OUTPUT-OUTTAKES-OUTCOME-IMPACT. AMEC is making a lot of effort globally to simplify the subject of PR measurement and ensure that it is well-embedded in PR Industries across countries around the world,” he adds.AI and measurementWill AI play a key role in measuring in the days to come?Yes, AI will play a huge role, and we are hoping for the best, especially in PR measurement, says Tarunjeet Rattan, Managing Partner, Nucleus PR.“One promising emerging metric that offers a more holistic view of PR’s impact on business objectives is overlaying the PR timeline with the sales graph. This combined view can resonate with both CFOs (Chief Financial Officers) and CMOs (Chief Marketing Officers). This done consistently over a period of 4-5 years will start showcasing the impact on each other and has proved to be very effective. Now, the PR graph tracks only the hits (media and non-media) typically. But the more you add to it and start studying the interplay between both tracks, it becomes more clear to both teams on what and how PR is impacting the bottom line. Add a sentiment analysis and a vox pop feedback with key stakeholders to this mix and you have an impressive ROI document. While you create this, remember this is an annual document and not a monthly or quarterly one either. We have done this effectively for brands we work with and it was very well received,” Rattan explains.According to Siddhartha Mukherjee, AI and tech-enabled interventions have amazing potential to upgrade the PR and measurement machinery of an organisation from a cost center to a revenue center. “It can contribute immensely across the PR framework, especially PR INPUT. This first block of the measurement framework itself has around seven different cogs such as listening, benchmarking, target setting, content bank, etc. Technology can bring in a lot of ease and preparedness,” he adds.Jyotsna Dash Nanda is certain that AI will likely be key in future PR measurement. AI can analyse vast amounts of data to identify sentiment, track brand advocacy, and measure the influence of earned media, providing a more comprehensive picture of PR’s impact.Anup Sharma suggests that in order to continue to stay relevant, PR firms will need to rely on big data and artificial intelligence not only for predicting audience interests, but also to move the needle towards credible engagement. PR can gain greater respect and credibility by using realistic metrics that produce credible data and that are tied to business outcomes.(Tomorrow, Part 3 of this series will cover how PR professionals can isolate and measure the specific impact of their campaigns amidst a mix of marketing activities, as well as other valuable metrics that PR professionals should consider when measuring success.)

Authenticity key to companies' positioning in competitive markets: Himani Rautel

We are in a new era of Public Relations. In the last few years, the importance of reputation management has taken a sea change. More brands and clients, especially from the leadership teams, are viewing Public Relations from a close range. The industry has undergone a radical change with the advent of social media, which has to a large extent changed the approach to Public Relations. We have a relatively new and young audience that we need to face in the coming years so there are bigger challenges for brands and PR practitioners, who have to be more agile and proactive in their thinking to draw up business solutions for clients.In our exclusive column – PR Conversation – Adgully interacts with leading business leaders and obtains their exclusive views and insights on the various trends in the PR and communications industry.In conversation with Adgully, Himani Rautela, Deputy General Manager - Communications Lead at Redington Ltd, speaks about the importance of authenticity and differentiation in positioning companies in competitive markets, drawing up effective crisis communication strategies, integrating traditional media outreach with digital marketing strategies, and more.Could you share more about your role as Communications Lead at Redington? How do your responsibilities align with the company’s business objectives?As the Communications Lead at Redington, my primary responsibility is to develop and execute comprehensive communication strategies that align with the company’s overarching business objectives. This involves crafting messaging that effectively communicates Redington’s value proposition to various stakeholders. By fostering relationships with key stakeholders, I ensure that Redington maintains an impactful presence in the market, ultimately contributing to the company’s growth and reputation.With your extensive experience in media outreach and strategic brand building, what are some key insights that you’ve gained about effectively positioning companies in competitive markets?One key insight that I have gained is the importance of authenticity and differentiation in positioning companies in competitive markets. It is essential to identify and articulate what sets a company apart and to communicate that distinctiveness consistently across all touchpoints. Additionally, building strong relationships can significantly amplify a company’s messaging and enhance its credibility in the market. By continuously monitoring market trends and consumer behaviour, we can adapt our positioning strategies to remain relevant and compelling in an ever-changing landscape.Leveraging my extensive experience as a seasoned communication professional, specializing in media outreach and strategic brand development, I have navigated the complexities of positioning companies across a diverse spectrum. From startups and consulting firms to NGOs and established brands, within fiercely competitive markets, I have honed invaluable insights that are integral to success in today’s business landscapes.How do you approach crisis communication? Could you share a notable experience where your strategies helped navigate a challenging situation successfully?Effective crisis communication is essential, demanding a proactive and transparent stance. When confronted with a crisis, my foremost objective is swift assessment, gathering precise data, and formulating a coherent response strategy. Central to this approach are transparency and candor, alongside ensuring open channels of communication with all stakeholders. A notable instance showcasing our adept crisis communication occurred during a specific incident (for confidentiality reasons, brand names cannot be disclosed). Through prompt acknowledgment of the issue, consistent updates, and proactive solution offerings, we successfully managed to alleviate the situation.How do you integrate traditional media outreach with digital marketing strategies to create a cohesive communication narrative for brands?Integrating traditional media outreach with digital marketing strategies is essential for creating a cohesive communication narrative that reaches diverse audiences across multiple channels. We leverage traditional media outlets, such as newspapers, magazines, and broadcast media, to reach a broad audience and establish credibility. Simultaneously, we harness the power of digital platforms, including social media, blogs, and online publications, to engage with target demographics in a more personalized and interactive manner. By aligning our messaging and content across both traditional and digital channels, we create a unified brand experience that resonates with our audience and drives meaningful engagement.You have worked with India Mobile Congress and other digital technology forums. How do you stay updated with industry trends, and how do you incorporate these insights into your communication strategies?Staying updated with industry trends is essential for notifying our communication strategies and maintaining a competitive edge. I actively participate in industry events, such as conferences, seminars, and webinars, to stay abreast of the latest developments and emerging technologies. Additionally, I regularly monitor industry publications, research reports, and social media channels to gather insights and identify potential opportunities. By staying informed and adaptable, we can tailor our communication strategies to anticipate market trends and meet the evolving needs of our stakeholders.Please tell us about your involvement in advising companies on public relations and policy matters, and the impact it had on their overall communication strategies.As a communication professional, I have had the privilege of advising companies on public relations and policy matters to help them navigate complex regulatory environments and enhance their overall communication strategies. By providing strategic counsel and leveraging my expertise in media relations and stakeholder engagement, I have helped companies effectively communicate their positions on key policy issues and build strong relationships with government officials and regulatory bodies. This proactive approach not only enhances their reputation and credibility but also ensures that their communication strategies are aligned with their broader business objectives.Could you share a specific example of a successful media campaign you conceptualized and implemented, highlighting the impact it had on the business's objectives?One notable instance of a highly effective media campaign was a video crafted to pay tribute to the taskforce. Recognizing the paramount importance of igniting excitement and raising awareness about this launch, we orchestrated a comprehensive multi-channel campaign. This initiative seamlessly integrated traditional media outreach with cutting-edge digital marketing strategies.Our approach encompassed securing prominent coverage in leading industry publications and leveraging influencers to amplify the product’s visibility across various social media platforms. Furthermore, we curated captivating content, including dynamic videos and compelling infographics, designed to inform and captivate our intended audience.The culmination of our concerted efforts resulted in a significant surge of media interest, garnered acclaim from stakeholders, and solidified our presence within the target market.

Why it is tough to bring in standardization in traditional PR metrics?

In the dynamic world of public relations (PR), measurement has long been a cornerstone for assessing success and guiding strategies. Yet, behind the veil of traditional PR metrics lies a fundamental challenge: the inability to capture the true impact of PR efforts. While metrics like media impressions, social media followers, and website traffic offer numerical snapshots of visibility and reach, they often fall short in revealing the deeper resonance and influence of PR initiatives.Almost half of all PR professionals, according to Muck Rack’s ‘2022 State of PR’ report, are looking for ways to measure the impact of their work. This desire is strong across the industry, with 49% of agency professionals and 45% of those on the brand side emphasizing the importance of “producing measurable results” to show the value of PR within their organisations.This focus on measurement isn’t surprising. Traditionally, PR efforts were judged on less tangible factors like brand awareness or media mentions. However, in today’s data-driven world, executives are demanding concrete evidence of PR’s contribution to the bottom line. By showcasing metrics like website traffic increases, lead generation, or positive sentiment analysis, PR professionals can demonstrate a direct return on investment (ROI) and secure a stronger seat at the decision-making table. This shift towards data-driven PR allows for more targeted campaigns, budget optimization, and a clearer understanding of what truly resonates with target audiences.Indeed, the landscape of media consumption has undergone a profound transformation, rendering traditional metrics that emphasize reach and ad equivalence of coverage increasingly obsolete. In today’s fast-paced and ever-evolving media environment, consumers are no longer passive recipients of information but active participants who consume content on the go and selectively engage with what resonates with them.Traditional metricsSo, what are the limitations of traditional PR metrics? How do they fail to capture the true impact of PR efforts?In this three-part series, Adgully embarks on a journey to unravel the limitations of traditional PR metrics, exploring how they obscure rather than illuminate the real value that PR brings to the table. The attempt is to delve into the nuances of measurement in PR, emerging metrics, the role of AI, etc.There are tangible and intangible elements to every PR campaign, says Tarunjeet Rattan, Managing Partner, Nucleus PR. According to her, a lot of the effort of traditional PR metrics only aims to capture the tangible elements of work done, ignoring all the conversations, effort, and planning put in to arrive at it and completely ignores the other intangible elements.“While the entire industry worldwide has tried with various degrees of success to measure the tangible impact PR creates and put it in excel sheets, graphs, charts and PPTs, it is like trying to hold on to water. It takes the shape of whichever container it sees and changes shape with the next. Similarly, a matrix that is tweaked to one client will change for the next. There are efforts to bring in standardization in all these methods, but it is a tough job. Something almost always gets left behind. Today, every agency has a different matrix. With the advent of AI, we are hoping to be able to create something more all-encompassing for the tangible results. The intangible ones, however, are a whole different story,” says Rattan.Public Relations is all about how your brand is represented in various outlets as earned media, and PR measurement is the process of measuring the impact of this earned media coverage on your brand, notes Anup Sharma, Independent PR & Strategic Communications Consultant.For all organisations, Sharma reckons, it is essential to understand how best to measure the success of their PR campaigns in order to demonstrate a return on investment. However, he adds, measuring the outcomes is hard as attributing them to PR campaigns is not easy.“While in the digital world with modern tools, keeping track of who mentions you, where, and how is possible, not all PR impact is directly quantifiable. Also, given the converged nature of communications today, earned content also appears on social media and falls into the blurred zone of earned media coverage or shared or both. There is no one, widely agreed method of measuring earned media value, and the trend of PR measurement as a topic has always been discussed and debated. The AMEC framework is the most widely adopted process for measuring and evaluating communications, as this focuses on capturing all outputs and outtakes, with a particular emphasis on organisational impact,” Sharma explains.Traditional metrics primarily focus on reach and ad equivalence of coverage, says Sumathi Chari, Senior Partner & Director, PRHUB. However, she adds, in today’s evolved and continually changing media landscape, this emphasis is irrelevant. Today, readers consume content on the go and choose the content they want to read or engage with.“At the same time, the scope of PR in a digital, multi-media environment has broadened, and limiting measurement to brand reach or a few other standalone metrics will dilute the larger impact of PR on businesses and organisations,” she adds.“My observation is that very few within our industry are genuinely practicing and leveraging effective PR measurement,” opines Siddhartha Mukherjee, Founder of Brand Balance, a measurement and data analytics-led corporate brand reputation and ERP management consultancy.He states that the definition and visualization of PR measurement are influenced by our perception of PR. Its construct differs depending on how the top management of organisations perceives and leverages it.“For some, it is merely seen as a news dispatch or management tool, a perspective prevalent among a significant portion of organisations. However, another category of organisations exists where CEOs, CFOs, CMOs, and CHROs view PR as a strategic tool for brand reputation and valuation management. This disparity in the thought process among the end customers of PR forms the foundation for the current state of PR measurement,” says Mukherjee.The prevailing trend Mukherjee has observed in the measurement templates utilized by both clients and service providers tends to skew towards traditional PR monitoring. According to him, it is imperative for custodians to discern between PR measurement and monitoring. Monitoring, he adds, primarily revolves around conducting daily and monthly assessments to gauge the quantity and quality of media visibility for corporate and product brands, as well as developments within the business ecosystem.“However, measurement presents a broader and more strategic approach. It focuses on ensuring that every PR effort conceived and executed contributes to enhancing brand and business metrics, ultimately reflecting in Return on Objectives (ROO). This delineates PR measurement as a linear structure encompassing PR INPUT, PR OUTPUT, and PR OUTCOME. Undoubtedly, this framework requires the backing of a meticulously designed framework of ERPs - efforts, resources, and processes - to effectively measure the impact and value of PR initiatives,” adds Mukherjee.Jyotsna Dash Nanda, AVP, Corporate Communications, DS Group, reckons that traditional PR metrics lack insight into the “why” behind the “what” – they track results but not resonance. Instead, she adds, they often fixate on vanity metrics that fail to provide a comprehensive narrative.According to her, here’s how they fall short, along with some future-oriented approaches:Limitations:Impressions/Reach: These metrics (e.g., number of people who saw a press release) show exposure, but not engagement (Did they read it? Did it resonate?)Example: A press release gets published in a major newspaper, reaching millions. But if the writing is bland or the placement irrelevant, it might have minimal impact.Advertising Value Equivalency (AVE): This assigns a dollar value to media coverage, assuming it's the same as paid advertising. This is widely criticized as inaccurate.Example: A company claims an AVE of $100,000 for a positive article. However, no guarantee paid advertising for that amount would have had the same impact (or any impact at all).Sentiment Analysis (basic): Traditional methods might simply categorize sentiment as positive, negative, or neutral. This misses nuance.Example: An article mentions a company but doesn't explicitly recommend it. Basic sentiment analysis might miss the opportunity to understand the context and potential impact.According to her, it is also important to gauge performance vis-à-vis competition.(Tomorrow: Part 2 of this report will delve into emerging metrics for a comprehensive understanding of PR’s impact and the role of AI in measurement.)

Vigor Media Worldwide bags PR Mandate of Axita Cotton

Vigor Media Worldwide, a renowned global media agency, has secured the PR mandate from Axita Cotton Limited, a leading producer of cotton bales and cotton seeds. This partnership underscores Vigor Media Worldwide's reputation for delivering exceptional PR and communication strategies.Axita Cotton specializes in producing cotton bales, and is actively involved in trading Kapas, cotton bales, and cotton seeds, as well as ginning and pressing Kapas on a job work basis.As part of the mandate, Vigor Media Worldwide will develop and implement a strategic communication framework and media campaigns to fortify Axita Cotton's position in the industry. The PR mandate for Axita Cotton will be managed by Vigor Media Worldwide's Delhi headquarters, supported by branch offices across India, along with its dexterous global associates, for greater visibility and strong positioning of the brand Axita in the country as well as in the global markets among its targeted segments.Expressing enthusiasm for the collaboration, Mr. Kushal Patel, Non Executive Director, Axita Cotton Ltd. said, "We are delighted to partner with Vigor Media Worldwide to amplify our brand presence and strengthen our relationships with key stakeholders, banking on their strategic approach. We have found their innovative ideas align perfectly with our vision, and so we look forward to leveraging their expertise to communicate our commitment to quality and sustainable practices through our upcoming media campaigns."Mr. Nikhil Singhal, Founder, Vigor Media Worldwide added, "We are dedicated to enhancing Axita Cotton Limited's brand visibility and reputation through strategic PR initiatives. Our team is committed to devising innovative media campaigns that will help Axita Cotton effectively engage with its stakeholders and enhance its brand presence."Axita Cotton Limited is engaged in the business of manufacturing and trading (including export) of cotton bales, besides ginning and pressing of seed cotton (Kapas). It produces cotton bales, cotton yarns, and cotton seeds. The production facility of the Company is situated at Kadi in Mahesana District of Gujarat state.Vigor Media Worldwide boasts cross-sectoral expertise, catering to Real Estate, Education, Lifestyle, FMCG, Hospitality, Healthcare, Technology, Security, Consulting, and other sectors. The agency's client portfolio includes top-of-the-line brands in the industry, with long-standing associations. Vigor Media Worldwide excels in strategic communication processes that foster mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their target audiences. By promoting clients and their offerings on multiple platforms, the company ensures comprehensive brand visibility and engagement.

Beyond Press Releases: Unraveling the New PR Paradigm

In the fast-paced world of information, the way we build and manage reputations has undergone a dramatic shift. Public relations (PR) is no longer confined to press releases and media briefings. Over the past decade, the PR landscape has transformed into a dynamic ecosystem, embracing digital tools, social media engagement, and a focus on transparency. Today, on national PR Day, Adgully delves into this evolution, exploring the key factors that have propelled PR to the forefront of navigating the ever-growing stream of information and shaping public perception in a digital age.The public relations industry in India emerged nearly three decades ago, initially rooted in journalism principles as brands sought visibility in the media, says Bhaskar Majumdar, Head - Marketing Communication, CSR and Digital, Egis South Asia.At its inception, he adds, the industry heavily emphasized 'Relationships' or 'Media relations' as the key to success.However, over time, he says, it evolved into a more sophisticated approach, focusing on crafting strategic narratives, precise messaging, and targeted audience engagement in a meticulously planned manner.“The onset of COVID-19 accelerated the digital transformation, with a shift towards digital consumption of news during lockdowns when print newspapers were inaccessible. This necessitated a significant adjustment in campaign planning and media strategies. In contemporary campaigns, brands are adopting an integrated communications approach, blending digital and traditional methods seamlessly. With digital and social media becoming primary channels for content consumption, there has been a notable transformation in the role of PR professionals and corporate communicators. This shift prioritizes strategic thinking over solely relying on media relations, embracing an omnichannel integrated approach. The choice of media mix now depends on factors such as the nature of the brand, its services, and products, as well as the target audience and market segments. For many brands, leveraging digital platforms offers real-time engagement, creativity, and immersive experiences, making it a more impactful communication tool,” he adds.<img src='\a8a518340dccb71c2cd2a32ebf11e614.png' class='content_image'>“The PR industry has come a long way – from being told to build on media relations by going for media rounds (and doing media rounds until the soles wore off- joote ghisne chahiye literally!) to navigating the social media minefields. COVID fast-forwarded the digital revolution and this transformed our lives including PR. Today social media engagement, influencer marketing, and data-driven storytelling complement traditional media outreach. Data analytics guide strategic storytelling that resonates with target audiences, while online reputation management safeguards brand image in a world where online presence is paramount. This shift, driven by the critical need for a sound digital presence and navigating a complex information landscape, solidifies PR's role as a vital function for building trust and managing reputation in today's information-rich business world,” says Jyotsana Dash Nanda, AVP, Corporate Communication, DS Group.<img src='\58b7538bbc2f24dc1cd15fc81a55cb04.png' class='content_image'>According to Jyotsana, the internet fosters a more interactive environment.“PR now emphasizes two-way communication, actively engaging with audiences on social media platforms and addressing customer concerns promptly. Example: An FMCG brand might partner with food bloggers on Instagram to showcase its new range of say ready-to-cook oats, reaching a wider audience and generating organic buzz. Social media has empowered consumers to become information broadcasters democratizing information/news. Negative experiences can go viral quickly, damaging brand reputations. PR professionals play a vital role in crisis communication, actively managing online narratives and fostering brand transparency. In today's information overload, deepfake, misinformation, etc., trust is paramount. Hence today communication professionals focus on building genuine relationships with key stakeholders through content marketing, thought leadership initiatives, and social responsibility programmes. In a world of online reviews and instant opinions, a company's reputation is more fragile than ever. Communication professionals help build and protect brand image through proactive communication and effective crisis management.”We have witnessed a radical shift in media consumption over the last decade, observes Chetan Mahajan - Founder & CEO - The Mavericks.“With mobile becoming the primary device for media consumption, traditional media has lost its dominant position as a channel. There has also been a huge shift in content consumption patterns alongside the proliferation of new channels of information dissemination, like social media. While content consumption has gone up many folds, people are consuming less news today than they did 10 years ago. The single largest factor changing this dynamic is easy and affordable access to social media and the desire to become a mini celebrity. The balance of influence has shifted from news platforms to influencers and from diversity to singularity as we get ruled by algorithms,” says Chetan.<img src='\3e6dbebec8fbc947f7f66378c6ff3b17.png' class='content_image'>Over the past decade, the PR landscape has undergone significant transformation, propelled by technological advancements, shifts in media consumption habits, and changes in societal expectations, says Mrinall Dey, VP & Head - PR & Corporate Communications, MobiKwik. “One of the most notable changes is the rise of digital media platforms, which have revolutionized the way information is disseminated and consumed. Social media, in particular, has emerged as a powerful tool for PR professionals to engage with audiences directly, bypassing traditional gatekeepers and enabling real-time communication.”“The proliferation of online news outlets, blogs, and user-generated content has democratized the media landscape, providing PR practitioners with a multitude of channels to reach their target audiences. This fragmentation of media has necessitated a more strategic and nuanced approach to PR, with an emphasis on tailored messaging and audience segmentation. Another key factor driving the growing importance of PR in today's information-driven society is the rise of reputation management. In an era of heightened scrutiny and public skepticism, organisations are increasingly recognizing the value of proactive reputation management to safeguard their brand image and maintain stakeholder trust,” Mrinall Dey says.<img src='\a77c23c965ca2ac8261ae62db5c398e4.png' class='content_image'>Public Relations has taken a complete 180-degree turn in the last decade, says Bhavya Sharma - Director, Communications & ESG, Urban Company.“While earlier the reliance on print media was extreme, it has declined significantly and is chipping away. Still part of the PR mix but no longer the sole medium. With the advent of digital marketing and consequent pressure on PR to measure outcome and show impact has changed how the ecosystem works. With consumers relying more on digital channels, you can see the waning importance of traditional media. Add to that the increase in influencers, the line between marketing and PR often gets blurry. Further, given that everything is now just a tap away thanks to social media, even a small incident can take the form of a full-blown crisis and enter the news cycle as part of trending news,” says Bhavya Sharma.<img src='\387bbd5c6c728b3020790d3266d64b8c.png' class='content_image'>The changing roleWith the proliferation of digital platforms and social media, the role of PR professionals has evolved to effectively manage and navigate the ever-changing media landscape. The digital revolution has transformed PR from a media relations-centric discipline to a strategic, data-driven approach to building and managing brand reputation in a dynamic and interconnected world.According to Chetan Mahajan, the role of PR professionals is to grow, sustain, and protect brands' reputations.“This has not changed, and it never will. The means of achieving this is effective storytelling that resonates with the stakeholders. Transparency and speed of connecting with your stakeholders were choices 10 years ago. They are not any more. PR professionals relied 100% on earned influence. Owned, shared, and paid influence was a choice. It’s not any more. Many PR professionals thrived on media relations; they can’t any more. Today, PR professionals need to be multi-skilled. Connecting the brand purpose with compelling stories and distributing them to the stakeholders through earned, owned, shared, and paid platforms calls for multiple skills to achieve it efficiently and effectively,” explains Mahajan.PR agencies will have to move away from their traditional PR strategies and services, and will instead have to offer integrated communications as a service offering, says Bhavya Sharma.“They will have to see a PR campaign not just from a here-and-now lens but also how it can be expanded into a sustained communication plan to build clients’ brand and reputation. Another big area I see where PR agencies can add significant value is localised and vernacular content. As social media has blurred geographic boundaries, regional influencers now rival national celebrities. Understanding local intricacies and incorporating them into a brand’s PR strategy is crucial for standing out. Additionally, impactful sustainability and CSR initiatives should not merely serve as greenwashing tactics. They are integral to reputation management and brand building, as consumers increasingly prefer socially responsible companies,” she adds.Social media and digital platforms has emerged as a powerful tool for PR professionals to engage with audiences directly, says Mrinall Dey.“The proliferation of digital platforms and social media has fundamentally transformed the role of PR professionals, requiring a more dynamic and adaptable approach to managing and navigating the ever-changing media landscape. In today's digital age, PR professionals must be adept at leveraging a diverse array of channels to engage with audiences, build relationships, and shape narratives. PR professionals must constantly monitor online conversations, anticipate emerging trends, and respond swiftly to both opportunities and challenges in real-time. By embracing digital platforms and social media as integral components of their communication strategies, PR professionals can effectively amplify their messages, reach wider audiences, and drive meaningful engagement in an increasingly interconnected and fast-paced media environment,” says Dey.The digital explosion has transformed the role of the communications professional from being mere gatekeepers to effective storytellers engaging with audiences with agility, opines Jyotsana Dash Nanda.According to Jyotsana, communication professionals today craft narratives that resonate directly with audiences on social media, fostering two-way conversations to build brand loyalty.“They leverage data to measure success and tailor messages accordingly, while constantly monitoring online conversations to swiftly address potential crises with transparent communication. Hence the key skill sets required for corporate communications professionals of today in this ever-changing ecosystem of communication professionals of today are agility, data-driven narratives with an eye on the audience,” she adds.PR professionals never had it easy anyway and now the stress has only grown manifold as any big or small incident or even a stray post on social media can metamorphose into a crisis, observes Bhavya Sharma.“This is especially true in consumer-facing and services industries. For PR professionals, it’s no longer just about managing media relations. They have to be adept at social media, content creation, data analytics, crisis management, influencer and thought leadership. To be able to pull all this together, they have to be really good at strategic thinking and planning. One great thing, however, for the PR professionals is that learning never stops. The more you are aware of and in sync with what’s happening around you and the next big trend, the more you will grow and be deft at handling the changing landscape. Take for instance, how effectively you can leverage AI in your everyday work will prepare you for what’s to come,” says Sharma.The industry has undergone a profound transformation driven by the proliferation of data, widespread internet accessibility, and the omnipresence of smartphones, says Bhaskar Majumdar. According to him, he advent of social media and digital technologies has revolutionized the communication landscape, emphasizing the imperative need for a thorough understanding of these platforms.“Knowing what strategies work and what don't is paramount. Each social media platform possesses unique merits, reach, and limitations. The role of PR professionals has evolved into a 24/7 commitment, involving constant monitoring, listening, and analysis of digital and social trends. This active engagement is crucial for reaching, nurturing, and engaging with target audiences irrespective of their location. In today's digital age, conversations are ongoing, whether brands are actively participating or not. The key lies in listening attentively, engaging meaningfully, and fostering relationships. Rather than solely focusing on selling, the approach should be collaborative, positioning oneself as a co-creator rather than a marketer,” he adds.According to him, several key points underscore the evolving nature of social and digital media:It transcends 'mass' media, catering to niche audiences.It goes beyond mere 'influence' to encompass opinion building, decision-making, and support.It thrives on dynamic, interactive content rather than static information.It cannot be entirely controlled, necessitating adaptability and responsiveness.Feedback is instantaneous, requiring prompt attention and adjustment.New strategies or approachesIn light of the projected growth of the PR industry in India, what new strategies or approaches are PR agencies adopting to stay ahead in this competitive market and meet the evolving needs of their clients?Given the anticipated growth of the PR industry in India, PR agencies are implementing several new strategies and approaches to maintain a competitive edge and effectively address the evolving needs of their clients, says Bhaskar Majumdar.“Agencies are prioritizing digital transformation, recognizing the increasing importance of online platforms and social media channels. This involves adopting innovative digital tools, platforms, and technologies to enhance client communication, outreach, and engagement. Agencies are moving towards integrated communication approaches, combining traditional PR methods with digital strategies to create comprehensive campaigns that resonate across multiple channels. This integration ensures a cohesive brand message and maximizes audience reach and impact. PR agencies are leveraging data analytics and insights to inform their strategies and measure campaign effectiveness. By analyzing audience behaviour, sentiment, and engagement metrics, agencies can tailor their approaches to better meet client objectives and drive results. Agencies are increasingly incorporating content marketing into their PR strategies, producing high-quality, relevant content that attracts and engages target audiences. This may include blog posts, articles, videos, infographics, and other multimedia content distributed across various channels. Recognizing the influence of social media influencers, PR agencies are forging strategic partnerships with relevant influencers to amplify brand messaging and reach niche audiences. These collaborations help increase brand visibility, credibility, and engagement within specific target demographics. With the rise of social media and instant communication channels, PR agencies are investing in robust crisis management strategies to effectively navigate and mitigate reputational risks. This involves proactive monitoring, rapid response protocols, and transparent communication to manage crises swiftly and effectively. To cater to the diverse needs of clients, PR agencies are expanding their service offerings beyond traditional media relations to include areas such as corporate communications, public affairs, employee engagement, CSR initiatives, and more. This diversification allows agencies to provide holistic solutions that address clients' broader communication challenges. Overall, PR agencies in India are embracing innovation, digitalization, and strategic thinking to stay ahead in the competitive market and deliver impactful results for their clients in an ever-evolving landscape,” he adds.According to Jyotsana Dash Nanda, the pandemic was a turning point for the PR industry and the digital revolution transformed it.“Digital marketing and communication were on the front foot and PR regained its sheen for being cost-effective. The rise of online media demanded quality content, making authentic storytelling and thought leadership essential for reputation management. The pandemic fostered collaboration between PR and media, with video calls becoming the new normal.”Going forward, she feels, there could be challenges considering the potential recession that is looming large at us and agencies will hit the most. However, she adds, some exciting trends are emerging and if the agencies leverage them in advance, they will be the least hit during the recession.“AI tools like ChatGPT will revolutionize content creation, impacting PR strategies. Hot topics like the metaverse and cybersecurity present PR opportunities. In India, the rollout of 5G offers a chance for the tech industry to leverage PR. High-quality content will be key for PR success, with targeted narratives replacing generalized pitching to all. Research-driven storytelling is poised to become the heart of PR and communication, driving brand credibility and business growth in the years ahead so PR agencies need to recalibrate and adapt quickly to remain relevant and effective,” she adds.According to Chetan Mahajan, the top three strategies include: True integration is different from mixing or bringing all communication channels together. Until storytelling is harmonized across multiple channels, it can’t do much good for the brand. This can’t be achieved efficiently until resources are multiskilled. This can only be built from the ground up, as it is a rarity amongst the ones who have been in this industry for a long time.Deep collaboration is a must to deploy the game plan. Today's young talent brings an inherent social and digital world perspective. The veterans bring experience in business comprehension and storytelling, and multiple functional experts bring depth in respective functions like creativity, content, media relations, etc. Deep collaboration that breaks the barriers across functions, hierarchies, and client teams is a game changer.Enabling your teams with an AI assistant and training them to be 2-3x their ability can address the talent gap on the one hand and the need for speed on the other.According to Mrinall Dey, as the PR industry in India continues to experience significant growth, PR agencies are adopting new strategies and approaches to stay ahead in this competitive market and meet the evolving needs of their clients.Embracing digital transformation and integrating technology into their service offerings: PR agencies are leveraging data analytics, artificial intelligence, and automation tools to gain deeper insights into audience behaviour, track campaign performance, and optimize communication strategies in real-time.Focusing on specialization and niche expertise to differentiate themselves in the market: Rather than offering generic PR services, many agencies are developing specialized teams with deep industry knowledge and expertise in areas such as technology, healthcare, finance, and sustainability. This allows them to provide tailored solutions and strategic counsel that address the unique challenges and opportunities facing clients in specific sectors.Placing greater emphasis on creativity and storytelling to cut through the clutter and capture audience attention.PR and overall business successAs businesses increasingly recognize the importance of reputation management and brand perception, how do PR pros see the relationship between PR and overall business success evolving in the coming years?According to Chetan Mahajan, growing and sustaining a reputation has never been more challenging. He stresses that reputation can make or break brands. “In the digital age, this process can happen in a few months/years, unlike many decades in the past. Paid influence is an important mix that can complement a solid foundation built on earned, owned, and shared influence. Business growth is directly proportional to its reputation. Reputation can never be bought, yet it is so fragile. Public relations has never been more important to brands who are in it for the long haul.”Bhavya Sharma foresees the following changes:Tackling AI and misinformation: This will be the most critical aspect that will come to fore. Companies and business leaders will be susceptible to AI-generated misinformation, deep fakes and more. Tackling these new-age tools will be crucial. Integration of brand and PR teams: I believe given how the role of PR is changing rapidly and becoming almost all-encompassing, more and more companies will integrate their brand and PR teams into one to ensure singular messaging across the board seamlessly.Rise in employee advocacy: PR teams will play a crucial role in supporting and promoting employees through employee advocacy efforts, distinct from internal communications. Companies will aim to cultivate and empower internal thought leaders and company advocates. PR professionals' expertise in thought leadership and leadership profiling will be invaluable in this endeavour.Elevation to strategic core function: PR division will likely be given its due and seen as a strategic core function. As a result, one will hopefully also see more Chief Communications Officers (CCOs).As businesses continue to acknowledge the critical role of reputation management and brand perception in their success, the relationship between PR and overall business success is expected to evolve in several ways in the coming years, says Bhaskar Majumdar.According to him, PR professionals will increasingly be viewed as strategic partners within organisations, working closely with senior leadership to align PR objectives with broader business goals.This partnership will involve integrating PR strategies into overall business strategies to drive growth, enhance reputation, and build brand equity. There will be a greater emphasis on measuring the impact of PR efforts on business outcomes. PR professionals will be expected to demonstrate tangible results and ROI, linking PR activities to key performance indicators such as brand awareness, customer acquisition, revenue growth, and stakeholder engagement. PR will become more closely integrated with marketing and communications functions to create cohesive, multi-channel campaigns that effectively engage target audiences and drive business results. This integration will blur the lines between traditional PR and marketing activities, leading to more holistic communication strategies. As brand reputation becomes increasingly important in the digital age, PR professionals will play a central role in managing and safeguarding organisations' reputations. This will involve proactive reputation management efforts, crisis preparedness, and transparent communication to build trust and credibility with stakeholders. PR will play a key role in positioning executives and organisations as thought leaders within their industries. By leveraging media relations, content marketing, speaking opportunities, and other channels, PR professionals will help establish and amplify their clients' expertise, influence, and credibility. With the growing influence of digital and social media, PR strategies will need to adapt to the changing media landscape. PR professionals will need to leverage digital tools, analytics, and social listening to engage with audiences, monitor conversations, and manage brand reputation across online platforms. The relationship between PR and overall business success will become increasingly symbiotic, with PR playing a central role in shaping brand perception, driving stakeholder engagement, and ultimately contributing to business growth and success in the years to come,” concludes Bhaskar Majumdar.As the digital age deepens its grip, the relationship between PR and business success is undergoing a metamorphosis and is gradually getting a seat in the boardrooms, opines Jyotsana Dash Nanda.“In today's information age, consumers value authenticity and transparency. To build trust, businesses need clear and consistent messaging across all platforms. Successful PR goes beyond media mentions; it demonstrably impacts the bottom line through metrics like website traffic, social engagement, and brand sentiment analysis. Metrics like website traffic driven by PR campaigns, social media engagement generated by PR initiatives, and brand sentiment analysis will be crucial for quantifying PR's value. Imagine a company launching a social responsibility campaign that garners positive media coverage, leading to a surge in customer inquiries and a significant boost in sales. This data-driven approach allows PR to confidently showcase its contribution to overall business success. Strategic partnerships with influencers, industry leaders, and even partners can amplify reach and messaging. PR can also be a force for positive change by championing social causes that resonate with stakeholders. This way PR can transform from a mere communication channel into a strategic business vertical/department driving customer engagement and business success,” says Jyotsana.Mrinall Dey also believes that as businesses increasingly recognize the critical importance of reputation management and brand perception, the relationship between PR and overall business success is poised to evolve significantly in the coming years.“As businesses navigate an increasingly complex and interconnected media landscape, PR will play an even more integral role in shaping and safeguarding brand reputation. PR professionals will be tasked with not only managing crises and shaping public perception but also with proactively building and enhancing brand trust and credibility. As consumer expectations continue to evolve, PR will be instrumental in helping businesses communicate their values, foster authentic connections with stakeholders, and demonstrate their commitment to social responsibility and sustainability,” concludes Mrinall Dey.Image by Barkha Mishra from Pixabay

CommsAdda celebrates National PR Day with a session on AI-led Crisis Comms

CommsAdda, a volunteer-led community of senior Corporate Communications & Marketing professionals, celebrated National PR Day with the successful hosting of their third knowledge session. The session, titled "AI-powered Crisis Communication," featured a comprehensive exploration of utilizing artificial intelligence in crisis management. Held on Friday at the Egis India premises in Gurgaon, the session attracted approximately 30 senior corporate communications and marketing professionals. Moderated by  Piyali Mandal, a seasoned crisis communications advisor, trainer and founder of The Media Coach, the knowledge session delved into the role of AI in crisis communication strategies and what to watch out for and how to be prepared. Attendees gained insights into leveraging AI-powered tools for real-time monitoring, sentiment analysis, and proactive crisis management. The CommsAdda Knowledge Session explored how AI can revolutionize crisis communication. Piyali demystified different AI types and its applications, showcasing generative AI's power for creating new data-driven strategies and focused on harnessing AI throughout the crisis lifecycle, from proactive risk assessment to effective response and recovery. Sharing her thoughts on the importance of incorporating AI into crisis communications strategies, Piyali said, “Examining the application of AI in crisis communications is not just timely but critical, especially as we navigate an era where the timeframe for crisis response is shrinking. The palpable enthusiasm in the room underscored the significance of the topic. What began as a knowledge-sharing session seamlessly evolved into an interactive brainstorming session, where we explored ways to integrate AI into our workflow as communication professionals effectively and responsibly. It's truly inspiring to witness CommsAdda's proactive approach in keeping its members informed and empowered through such sessions.” Advancements like predictive analytics and AI-powered audience segmentation were highlighted for better crisis management. These included the scarcity of Indian case studies, the need for spokesperson training with tools like Perplexity, Yoddle etc., for research, data analysis, inherent data bias, security concerns, limitations in emotional intelligence, and transparency issues. While acknowledging challenges like data bias and security concerns, the session offered solutions and addressed the concept of "AI washing." It showcased tools like Canva AI and emphasized responsible AI use through practical exercises.Mrinall Dey, a veteran communications professional and co-originator of CommsAdda, said, “We are delighted to have hosted our third knowledge session on National PR Day. At CommsAdda, we are committed to fostering continuous learning and professional development within the corporate communications community. The communication industry has undergone a profound transformation, driven by the widespread availability of data, the expansive reach of the internet, and the proliferation of smartphones. The topic of AI-powered crisis communication is particularly relevant in today’s fast-paced digital landscape. In an era where crises can escalate rapidly, harnessing AI technology can empower organizations to respond swiftly and effectively. The live simulation exercise provided everyone with hands-on experience in applying AI tools to manage crisis situations” The two-hour session included a live simulation exercise where participants had the opportunity to apply AI-powered tools to manage a simulated crisis scenario. Participants actively engaged in the exercise, gaining practical insights into the application of AI in crisis management. CommsAdda had previously conducted two knowledge sessions on Navigating the Blurring lines between PR and marketing jointly hosted with Kunzum in Delhi and Gurgaon.

Concept PR bags mandate for Fashion Entrepreneur Fund (FEF)

Concept Public Relations India Limited (Concept PR), part of the Concept Group, an independent integrated communication group, has won the PR mandate for the esteemed Fashion Entrepreneur Fund (FEF), a venture studio that supports entrepreneurial ideas of the fashion industry and fosters a collaborative fashion ecosystem, is inviting fashion entrepreneurs to showcase their business ideas and grab the opportunity to transform their dreams into reality, with an initial investment of Rs 20 crores.Led by Mr. Sanjay Nigam and Mr. Vagish Pathak (Chairman, Fashion Entrepreneur Fund), the Fashion Entrepreneur Fund (FEF) has garnered the support of prominent key business leaders as investors, including Indian film director Karan Johar, Vinod Dugar (Honorary Consul of Malawi and Co-Promoter of RDB Group), Mr. Sandeep Jain (Director of Vega Industries Pvt. Ltd.), Mr. Gaurav Dalmia (Chairman of Dalmia Group Holdings), Mr. Sukhraj Nahar (Founder, Chairman, and Managing Director of Nahar Group), Ms. Manju Yagnik (Vice-Chairperson, Nahar Group), Mr. Prithviraj Kothari (Managing Director of RiddhiSiddhi Bullion Ltd - RSBL), Sonali Dugar (Dugar Finance & Investments Limited) and Mr. Naveen Jindal (Chairman of Jindal Steel & Power Limited). Together, they bring invaluable expertise to complement Mr. Nigam's entrepreneurial vision.The partnership with Fashion Entrepreneur Fund not only amplifies Concept PR's diverse portfolio but also solidifies its position as a leader in shaping and elevating brands. With a commitment to strategic prowess and immaculate execution, Concept PR is poised to bring its unique blend of creativity and expertise to the forefront of these prominent ventures.Mr. Ashish Jalan, Managing Director of Concept PR, conveyed his enthusiasm for the collaboration, stating, “Concept PR is truly honored to be entrusted with the PR mandate for the Fashion Entrepreneur Fund. This partnership not only reflects our steadfast dedication to fostering success in fashion and entrepreneurship but also underscores the exceptional concept behind FEF. As a venture studio, FEF is committed to nurturing innovative ideas within the fashion industry and fostering a collaborative ecosystem. With FEF inviting fashion entrepreneurs to showcase their visionary business ideas, we are eager to leverage our expertise and creativity to enhance the brand presence of this prestigious venture. Together, we look forward to turning dreams into reality.”Highlighting Concept PR's strategic prowess, Mr. Jalan emphasized the value addition to the company's diverse portfolio through the inclusion of the Fashion Entrepreneur Fund. He stated, "Collaborating with industry leaders not only boosts our portfolio but also provides an exciting opportunity to contribute to the success of these ventures. We are confident that our strategic insights and execution capabilities will play a pivotal role in making the Fashion Entrepreneur Fund a resounding success."Mr. Sanjay Nigam, Founder of FEF India Fashion Awards and Fashion Entrepreneur Fund, conveyed his confidence in Concept PR. He stated, "Selecting a PR partner is a critical decision, and Concept PR's stellar industry reputation, coupled with their history of successful campaigns, made them the clear choice. I have full belief in the team's ability to authentically convey the essence and vision of the Fashion Entrepreneur Fund.” “Entrusting them with our 'baby' is a decision I make with absolute trust in their capabilities," affirmed Mr. Nigam. This partnership signifies the alignment of shared values and goals, and Concept PR is geared up to deploy its expertise to enhance the visibility and impact of the Fashion Entrepreneur Fund. The collaboration promises a synergy of creativity, innovation, and strategic communication that will undoubtedly set new benchmarks in the fashion and entrepreneurship industries.

The Hype Studio wins PR mandate for Uttar Pradesh Kabaddi League

The Hype Studio, a PR and digital marketing agency, has won the PR mandate for the Uttar Pradesh Kabaddi League. This collaboration marks a milestone in promoting Kabaddi as a premier sport in India, paralleling the success of other major sporting leagues.The Hype Studio, founded in 2018, has carved a niche in crafting brand narratives and digital strategies. With a portfolio that includes PR, digital marketing, and influencer management, The Hype Studio is poised to elevate the Uttar Pradesh Kabaddi league through communication strategies and engaging media advocacy."The Uttar Pradesh Kabaddi League represents not just a sport, but a cultural heritage that resonates deeply within India. We are excited to leverage our expertise in omni-channel communication to bring this vibrant sport to the forefront of the Indian sports scene. Our approach will blend creative storytelling with strategic insights to foster a strong connection between the league and its fans," said a senior management from The Hype Studio. The Uttar Pradesh Kabaddi League, a venture initiated by 1X Sportz in association with the Uttar Pradesh Kabaddi Association, aims to showcase and nurture local talent through a structured sports platform. With eight teams competing in a total of 60 matches, the league promises to be a crucible of high-octane Kabaddi action, adhering to a double round-robin format to ensure fair and competitive play.The league has been strategically developed to reflect the IPL model, offering a significant opportunity for local athletes to gain recognition and develop their skills on a grand stage. "Our partnership with The Hype Studio is crucial in creating a resonant brand identity and a compelling narrative for the Uttar Pradesh Kabaddi League. Their innovative approach and proven track record in public relations make them the ideal partner to help us realise our vision of making Kabaddi a household sport across India," said Sambhav Jain, founder of 1X SportzThe Hype Studio's focus will not only be on promoting the league but also nurturing a sustainable interest in Kabaddi, enhancing its appeal and accessibility through strategic media placements and captivating digital campaigns.

Omnicom PR stumbles in Q1, despite overall company growth

Omnicom's PR arm faced a rough first quarter of 2024, marking its third consecutive decline in revenue. The 1.1% dip comes after a 2.9% drop in Q4 2023 and a steeper 5.5% decline in Q3. This stands in stark contrast to the positive performance of Omnicom as a whole, which saw global revenue rise 4% organically in Q1.PR's struggles were overshadowed by strong growth in other areas. Advertising & media, precision marketing, experiential marketing, and healthcare all saw revenue increases. Conversely, branding & retail commerce and execution & support also experienced losses.Despite the PR group's struggles, Omnicom CEO John Wren remains optimistic. He highlights the company's ability to combine marketing and sales solutions with data-driven insights to deliver measurable results for clients. Wren also credits industry-leading tools and strong leadership for the company's new business success, which fuels his confidence in the future.Looking back, Q1 2024 marks a significant shift from the previous eight quarters of consistent PR growth. Prior to this period, the PR group enjoyed impressive gains, exceeding 4% growth in most quarters. The first quarter of 2021 stands as the last time the group experienced a decline.

Communicating Your ‘Amrit Kaal’ Brand Narrative

Authored by - Anand Prakash, Reputation Management ConsultantJust a few years back, we experienced the biggest public health crisis in the 21st century, with far-reaching consequences for our economy, health, international relations, and sociocultural environment. The COVID-19 pandemic was the first-of-its-kind disruptive crisis experienced by mankind. The situation was new and unprecedented. There was much learning involved in navigating the crisis, especially while communicating with various stakeholders. Since then, we have displayed tremendous resilience and have scripted a strong recovery emerging from the shadows of the pandemic. Since Hon’ble Indian Prime Minister ushered the nation into the age of Amrit Kaal, the country has embodied a spirit of relentless positivity. It was then the vision of India@100 was shared with us to work towards a new dawn for the country, which will bring with it the chance to fulfil the nation’s aspirations. Today, India finds itself in a unique position to be making history. From a world perspective, developed countries like UK, Japan, and Ireland have entered into a technical recession, and around 14 more are standing on the edge. Around 70 countries are facing debt distress, around half of them are in the high-risk zone, and 4 to 5 have defaulted since 2020. Other developing economies are showing a sluggish growth trend, even as the global GDP is expected to slip from an estimated 2.7% (FY2023) to 2.4% (FY2024). Even China is experiencing an economic slowdown having recently experienced back-to-back crises in its real estate sector.  Contrarily, India stands strong with a 7.3% GDP growth going past the International projections. India has done so amidst strong global headwinds, such as climate change, international conflicts and hostile geopolitics, energy market and supply chain disruptions, and many more.  Multiple factors, including prudent policy making, aggressive developmental initiatives, increased capital expenditure, fostering international relations, and so on have contributed to our economic growth. However, one factor stands out. For the first time ever in the history of independent India, we have a vision and a roadmap for the next 25 years, offering much clarity to the citizens on what we need to work towards as a nation. The year 2024 will be critical for India, as the nation will go on to exercise its democratic right. Irrespective of the outcome, the period of Amrit Kaal is unique and special. In my interactions with over 40 CXOs in recent times, I have observed how brands have adopted to be a part of the Amrit Kaal narrative, absorbing the spirit of positivity, by not only bringing a transformation in organizational mindset but also adopting it in their communication strategies to reflect upon the brand image. However, even at the times of high positivity, there is a need to be cautious and thought oriented. Amrit Kaal is also new and unprecedented. While it presents us with tremendous opportunities to share our stories, a blind approach may lead to unforeseen fallouts. All organizations want to continue building a stronger brand image. However, just as success cannot be guaranteed even if market conditions are right. One has to take the right steps and not take conditions for granted.As communication and reputation consultants, we are committed to helping brands across sectors, automotive, real estate, technology, finance, start-ups, energy, media, new economy, and many more to get the organizational alignment right and leverage the power of storytelling to build compelling Amrit Kaal brand stories. I am leaving you with four questions that might trigger some thought: ·      How or in what ways is your brand in Amrit Kaal? ·      While aligning your story with Amrit Kaal, what is that is unique that you are telling? ·      Other than positivity, what key emotions, say empathy, courage, pride, hope, inspiring, are central to your story? ·      How can the Amrit Kaal narrative become a part of the organization’s change management communication? Your organization is contributing to nation-building, and in doing so, it has many stories to tell. Building brand reputation needs the right stories to be told to the right people at the right time using the right platform and tools. While stepping into the new financial year, as we collectively work in the times of Rising Bharat, the first step would be to find the right communication partner to tell your Amrit Kaal narrative to the world and help shine spotlight on your contribution to the nation’s goal of Viksit Bharat@2047.

9Yards Communications is agency of choice for SSMC

9Yards Communications has emerged victorious as the integrated marcoms agency of choice for Shekh Shakhbout Medical City (SSMC). Furthermore, this partnership marks a significant milestone in the reimagining and shaping of the brand, narrative, and vision of one of the UAE’s most respected medical institutions for serious and complex health care.As a result, 9Yards will now provide SSMC with a comprehensive suite of marcoms services, including strategic communications, creative and advertising, PR, digital marketing, and multi-media production.Expressing his delight at the SSMC-9Yards partnership, Hussam Almulhem, CEO of 9Yards Communications, said: "We are thrilled to be appointed as SSMC’s agency of choice and this win underscores the time, effort, and dedication of our talented team in delivering an exceptional response to the client’s brief. We now look forward to taking SSMC's already significant brand presence to the next level.”

Agency expands regional roles, showing growth and investment in EMEA.

WE Communications, a leading independent global communications agency, today announced new regional leadership appointments that showcase the agency’s continued commitment to driving overall growth across the EMEA region, which had double-digit growth last year. Daniel Blank has been elevated to head of integrated marketing, EMEA, and Jasmin Athwal to head of growth and business development, EMEA.“WE’s EMEA region has experienced strong performance over the past few years, and our business is ready for additional cross-regional leadership that will continue our positive trajectory,” said Kass Sells, WE’s CEO of international. “Daniel and Jasmin have proven track records of driving results and will be an unstoppable pair when it comes to leading WE into this next chapter.”Under his new remit, Blank will be responsible for driving the agency’s creative and digital work across all EMEA markets. He will manage a team of more than 35 specialists spanning client capabilities that include insights and analytics, creative concepting, design, social media, paid media and content production. Prior to this, Blank served as deputy managing director of WE’s Germany office for six years. Throughout his career of more than 25 years, he has partnered with many multinational brands across the technology, healthcare, consumer products and sustainability sectors.“Clients today rightfully expect seamlessly integrated campaigns and 360-degree digital servicing from their agency partners,” said Sells. “By bringing together a cross-regional team, WE will further increase its creative diversity, quality and scalability for the brands with which we partner.”Athwal is charged with leading new business and marketing, including the development and implementation of a growth strategy across WE’s German, U.K. and South African operations that fuels cross-regional collaboration and integration. She will collaborate closely with local market leadership to drive client acquisition across WE’s key sectors of health, technology and consumer. Athwal most recently was senior director, technology at WE, where she provided counsel to B2B executive leaders on strategic communications and media relations, supporting the growth of WE’s largest clients in the EMEA region.WE’s EMEA Region experienced more than 14% growth in the last calendar year and represents clients that include Forest Stewardship Council, Honeywell and Microsoft.Athwal is based in London, and Blank is based in Munich. Both will continue to report to Sells.

Shiva Bhavani of Wing Comm. stresses crisis management for brand safeguarding.

Authored by Shiva BhavaniCrafting a PR strategy that aligns perfectly with your brand's vision is crucial for building a strong brand identity, engaging effectively with your audience, and achieving long-term success in today's competitive market. This comprehensive guide delves into the essentials of developing a PR strategy that not only complements but also amplifies your brand vision, backed by relevant facts, data points, statistics, and insights from reliable sources.Understanding Your Brand VisionYour brand vision is the foundation upon which your PR strategy should be built. It reflects your company's long-term objectives, values, and the impact you wish to have on your customers and the wider community. A study by the Harvard Business Review highlighted the importance of aligning your brand's vision with your business strategies, noting that companies that successfully align their vision with their strategic planning are 1.5 times more likely to achieve above-average financial performance than those that do not.Setting Clear PR ObjectivesThe first step in aligning your PR strategy with your brand vision is to set clear, measurable objectives. These objectives should directly support your brand's overall goals and could range from increasing brand awareness and improving public perception to driving engagement and sales. According to a report by the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), setting specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) objectives is critical for the success of any PR campaign.Identifying Your Target AudienceUnderstanding your target audience is pivotal. A deep analysis of your audience's demographics, interests, and behavior patterns enables you to tailor your PR messages and mediums effectively. The Nielsen Global Trust in Advertising Report reveals that messages tailored to specific audience preferences can increase brand trust by up to 83%.Crafting a Consistent MessageConsistency in your messaging is key to reinforcing your brand identity and vision. Your PR communications should consistently reflect your brand's values, tone, and personality across all channels. A study by Lucidpress indicates that consistent brand presentation across all platforms can increase revenue by up to 23%.Leveraging the Right ChannelsChoosing the right channels to disseminate your PR messages is crucial. Whether it's traditional media, social media, or digital platforms, selecting channels that your target audience frequents ensures your message is heard. According to the 2023 Edelman Trust Barometer, trust in traditional media has risen to 61%, making it a significant channel for PR strategies aimed at establishing credibility and trust.Engaging with MediaBuilding and maintaining relationships with the media is essential for getting your PR messages out effectively. Press releases, media pitches, and press events should be crafted carefully to grab attention and provide value to journalists. Data from Muck Rack's State of Journalism report highlights that 65% of journalists view the relevance of a pitch to their beat as the most critical factor in their decision to cover a story.Measuring SuccessTo ensure your PR strategy is effectively aligned with your brand vision, it's essential to measure its success. Key performance indicators (KPIs) such as media coverage, social media engagement, website traffic, and brand sentiment can provide valuable insights into the impact of your PR efforts. A survey by the Institute for Public Relations found that 88% of PR professionals believe measurement and evaluation are crucial components of PR success.Staying Agile and AdaptableThe market and media landscape are constantly evolving, making it necessary for brands to remain agile and adaptable in their PR strategies. Regularly reviewing and adjusting your strategy in response to feedback, market trends, and performance data ensures your PR efforts remain aligned with your brand vision and objectives.ConclusionDeveloping a PR strategy that aligns with your brand vision requires a deep understanding of your brand's core values and objectives, a clear definition of your target audience, consistent messaging, strategic channel selection, media engagement, and ongoing measurement and adjustment. By following these guidelines and leveraging relevant facts, data points, statistics, and insights, you can craft a PR strategy that not only resonates with your audience but also drives your brand toward achieving its long-term goals and vision. In an era where brand perception can significantly impact success, a well-aligned PR strategy is not just an option; it's a necessity.

Trust & Transparency: Navigating the Reputation Economy

Your brand isn’t what you say it is, it’s what Google says it is.” – Chris Anderson, Former Editor of Wired Magazine. In today’s digital age, maintaining a positive reputation is crucial for businesses across all industries. From managing online reviews to navigating social media controversies, reputation management has become a cornerstone of digital success.As noted by Nico Goghavala, Owner, The Quarter Restaurant, “Online reviews serve as the modern-day word of mouth. Positive reviews act as digital accolades. Conversely, negative reviews can ripple through cyberspace, casting a shadow on an establishment’s reputation and potentially affecting its bottom line”Adgully reached out to some leading industry experts and delved into the strategies, challenges, and innovations driving the field of reputation management in the ever-evolving digital landscape.Sandeepa Santiago, Innovation Architect & Brand Strategist, CommsCredible, remarked, “We live in a world where it is imperative for businesses to build and retain a positive perception online. Each online engagement leaves a trail behind and this determines how well we can be trusted, ultimately leading to our success or failure. Keeping up with the ever evolving digital landscape, understanding the preference and expectations of stakeholders and regularly engaging with them as per your strength and expertise helps build brand reputation and create value proposition. It is equally important for brands to regularly review their content and fine tune it. Any issue, if left unaddressed for a long time, can lead to loss of consumer trust.”According to Xavier Prabhu, Founder & MD, PRHUB, “Reputation economy is hit in the digital age due to the focus on everything short term, transactional, and the pressure to make it of interest to the audience. The purveyors of digital are typically not trained in the rigor of reputational processes. Nor are they looking at consistent narratives which are integral to reputation. What all of this together does is to change the whole reputation paradigm which necessarily may not be the right or best way to head.”Anand Vaidya, General Manager - Marketing & Corporate Communications, WebEngage, noted, “In the digital age, the reputation economy is constructed through online interactions, feedback, and visibility. User-generated content, such as reviews and ratings, shapes perceptions, while social proof through likes and followers influences credibility. Personal branding efforts enhance individual and business reputations, strategically curated for authenticity and resonance. Algorithmic influence further amplifies visibility, with high engagement driving increased influence. Overall, the reputation economy in the digital age relies on transparency, trust, and active management of online presence to thrive in the interconnected digital landscape.”Key challenges faced by businesses in managing their reputation in today’s digital landscapeSpeaking on some of the key challenges faced, Vaidya from WebEngage, said, “Businesses face numerous challenges in managing their reputation in today’s digital landscape. These include navigating the rapid spread of information, responding to viral content and online crises in real-time, and addressing the proliferation of user-generated content across various platforms. Maintaining consistency across multiple channels while adapting to ever-changing algorithms poses a challenge. Additionally, the anonymity of online interactions can lead to misinformation and malicious attacks. Balancing transparency with privacy concerns is crucial. Lastly, ensuring authenticity and trustworthiness amidst a sea of content is an ongoing struggle. Overall, businesses must navigate these challenges to safeguard and enhance their reputation in the digital age.”“Today’s consumers have shorter attention spans, making it challenging for businesses to retain their attention and loyalty, ensure repeatability and maintain continuous positive engagement,” said CommsCredible’s Santiago, adding that consumers do not buy a brand, they buy because they perceive that the brand satisfies their needs the best. It only takes one negative press incident to shift consumer preference elsewhere. Monitoring consumer perceptions and promptly addressing feedback, particularly negative ones, across multiple platforms can post a challenge for brands.Best practices for businesses to effectively build and maintain their reputation onlinePRHUB’s Xavier Prabhu shared, “It is balancing the need to be instant, play to the audience and be there 24x7, while ensuring consistent narratives and other elements of the reputational process are adhered to.”He advised, “Thinking holistically is a good and best practice to start with. Don’t think of any messaging or narrative standalone. See how it will likely play across traditional online and digital platforms. Second would be visual storytelling that is contextual. Third would be usage of technology in the form of tools and last is think long term and qualitative. Don’t chase numbers and virality for the sake of it.”WebEnage’s Vaidya listed the following best practices that businesses can follow to build and maintain their reputation online:Transparency: Be honest and genuine in communication.Consistent Branding: Maintain a cohesive identity across platforms.Engagement: Respond promptly and professionally to feedback.Quality Content: Share valuable, relevant content.Monitor and Manage: Keep track of online mentions and reviews.Build Trust: Cultivate relationships with customers and influencers.Adaptability: Stay updated and adapt to changes in the digital landscape.

Greeshma Nachane joins PayMate as Corporate Communication Manager

Greeshma Nachane has taken to LinkedIn to share her exciting career move, announcing her new role as Corporate Communications Manager at PayMate, a significant step in her professional journey.In a post on linkedin she expressed her gratitude, saying, “I have immense gratitude towards everyone who contributed to my Adfactors PR journey all my superiors, mentors, colleagues, media journalists, etc. Thank you so much everyone for all the support and learnings!”Greeshma’s professional background includes positions at Adfactors PR, Communicate India, White Marque Solution, and Trikut Films before joining PayMate.