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.

Discord appoints first chief communications officer ahead of IPO

Gaming chat platform Discord has named Stephanie Hess as its first Chief Communications Officer (CCO), signaling a focus on enhanced communication as the company gears up for a possible Initial Public Offering (IPO) later this year.Hess, a seasoned communications leader, will be responsible for:Repositioning Discord as a leading gaming platform: This involves improving communication with various stakeholders, including users (gamers and parents), game developers and publishers, and policymakers. Discord currently boasts over 196 million monthly active users.Protecting brand reputation: Hess' team will tackle the growing concerns around online safety for children and content moderation on the platform.Leading a unified communications strategy: She will oversee internal communications, external communications, and policy communications, working closely with the marketing team.Building the communications and marketing team: Hess is actively recruiting for key positions, including a Global Policy Communications Lead and an Internal Communications Manager.Hess brings a wealth of experience to the role, having previously served as Head of Global Communications and Marketing at Asana, where she played a key role in the company's IPO in 2020. She also held communication positions at Zynga, Sun Microsystems, and Oracle.This appointment by Discord highlights the company's commitment to strengthening its position in the gaming industry and addressing critical issues like online safety. With a robust communications strategy and a seasoned leader at the helm, Discord appears well-positioned for its potential IPO.

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.

The evolving role of PR professionals in the digital age

Authored By Anastasiya Golovatenko, PR Director, Sherpa CommunicationsIn the ever-shifting landscape of public relations, the role of PR professionals has undergone significant transformation. The digital age has reshaped traditional responsibilities, demanding new skills and approaches. Here, we explore the substantial shifts and expanding responsibilities that define modern PR practice.Integration across disciplinesPreviously difficult to define, the role of public relations is becoming more clear as the industry evolves. Nowadays, PR professionals need to break past traditional limits, becoming skilled in various areas from marketing to social and digital strategy. As the boundaries between these fields blur, PR specialists must develop a comprehensive set of skills, enabling them to boost brand visibility and interaction across different verticals. This change has turned PR from a niche role into a broad discipline that is key to an organization's overall strategy.Shift in hiring practicesThe criteria for hiring within PR and marketing fields have also evolved. CVs that once dominated recruitment processesare no longer a key element; the focus is on candidates' soft skills now. Abilities such as quick adaptation, analytical thinking, and multitasking are highly valued.Today’s PR landscape needs professionals who possess a proactive 'go-getter' attitude, who can adapt quickly to the fast changing business landscape.Emphasis on digital proficiencyDigital proficiency is now non-negotiable for PR specialists. The digital age demands more than social media platform proficiency alone; it requires a deep, intuitive grasp of digital tools and strategies. From managing influencer relations to navigating social media algorithms, PR professionals must engage audiences in real-time. This digital savvy enables them to craft compelling narratives and run PR, social, and digital campaigns in sync.Data-driven decision makingAs the whole world is using data, analysis of data is a must now. Modern PR professionals must be adept at analysing and leveraging data to guide their campaigns. Utilizing metrics to gauge campaign effectiveness, monitor brand sentiment, track competitor activities, and identify emerging trends is essential for developing informed, strategic plans that align with business goals. This data-driven approach not only bolsters the impact of PR campaigns but also ensures that they deliver meaningful business outcomes.Strategic role of content creationAs the role of PR professionals expands in the digital space, there is an increasing expectation for them to actively engage in content creation. The ability to craft impactful, SEO-driven content that improves client visibility online has become crucial. PR professionals are now at the forefront of strategic communication, developing messages that not only inform but also engage and persuade the public across various channels. This responsibility covers everything from writing press releases and blog posts to creating video content and podcasts, requiring a blend of creativity, strategic thinking, and media savvy. This evolution has positioned PR specialists not just as facilitators of communication but as key content creators, influencing public perception and brand reputation directly.Crisis managementThe rapid pace of digital communication presents new crisis management scenarios to address. In the UAE, industries such as aviation, FMCG, retail, and F&B may require rapid response capabilities to effectively manage crises, requiring in-house PR teams and their agencies to be ready to handle potential crises quickly and efficiently. In such cases, it's important to develop and regularly update a crisis comms strategy that includes key messaging, communication channels, and especially live monitoring to react fast to online waves. As the digital landscape continues to evolve, so too does the role of PR professionals. These experts are at the forefront, adapting to new technologies and methodologies while upholding the core principles of their profession. The future of PR promises further changes, with professionals continuing to expand their skills and strategies to thrive in this dynamic field.DISCLAIMER: The views expressed are solely of the author and does not necessarily subscribe to it.

Arkreach unveils first contextual media sentiment analysis for communicators

Arkreach, an India-based communications analytics product company that was launched in December 2023 is paving the way in the media world by revolutionising communication analysis with its new AI-powered feature for Contextual Sentiment Analysis. The feature, part of its 4 advanced modules, is developed using a Large Language Model (LLM) – which is trained on a staggering corpus of 60 million articles in over 50 languages – allows communication professionals worldwide to analyse contextual sentiment with unprecedented precision, focusing on specific entities like brand mentions, topics and key spokespeople across multiple languages. Contextual Sentiment plays a vital role in communications where it becomes imminent in recognizing the right tonality to plan and strategize for the issue of interest rather than to work with the basic sentiment of the article. With progress in AI-enabled analysis, this feature launched by Arkreachuses cutting-edge frameworks and tools to help communication analysts and planners across PR agencies and brands access this never-before-available insight. Leveraging its expansive database, available in diverse languages from across the globe – ranging from Sub-Saharan African Swahili, Somali, and Amharic, to Japanese, Cantonese, Kazakh, Gujarati, Marathi, and Hindi in Asia – the latest feature assists in collating accurate contextual insights. Commenting on the success of the new AI feature launch, Mr Vishal Sharma, Chief Strategy Officer at Arkreach, noted, “In the digital era, communications metrics must evolve – the global PR software and media intelligence market is expected to be worth US$17,569 million by 2027, indicating a massive utilisation of the technology advancements. Arkreach's Contextual Sentiment Analysis, powered by Artificial Intelligence, seeks to revolutionise the field of communications analytics. This novel approach transcends conventional metrics by incorporating granular, context-specific understanding derived from News Consumption Behavioural Data.”Commenting on the feature reveal, Mr Neeraj Kumar, Chief Technology Officer, Arkreach, noted, “The significance of contextual sentiment analysis, for a long time, had remained secluded in the conventional tools. Arkreach gives you pinpoint-accurate sentiment on any issue, but that's not all. It also decodes the WHY behind the context. For clients, this translates into rocket-fueled communication strategies ”Presently spanning diverse geographies across US, the UK, Australia, and Europe, Arkreach is poised to enhance its presence by concentrating on partnerships across India and Europe over the next 6 months.

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.

Excellera acquires Barabino & Partners

Barabino & Partners, the corporate and financial communications giant in Italy, has joined forces with Excellera Advisory Group, a rising star in corporate affairs consulting backed by Xenon Private Equity.Launched in November 2022 through the merger of Cattaneo Zanetto Pomposo & Co. (public affairs) and Community (communications and reputation management), Excellera has been on a growth trajectory. Acquisitions of Public Affairs Advisors and Value Relations in the past year solidified their position. With €25 million in fees and a team of 170 spread across Rome, Milan, and Brussels, Excellera was already making waves.This acquisition more than doubles Excellera's size, reaching €60 million and solidifying their leadership in financial communications and M&A. Barabino, ranked number one in M&A communications for Italy (by deal volume) by Mergermarket last year, brings immense expertise.The acquisition expands Excellera's geographical footprint significantly. Barabino's international network adds offices in London, New York, Berlin, Munich, and Paris, complementing Excellera's Italian presence with a Genoa office.Founded in 1985 by Luca Barabino, the company will continue to operate under its own brand, just like other Excellera entities. Luca Barabino remains CEO, and Federico Steiner retains his role as General Manager. Both join the Excellera board."Excellera becomes a central hub for any global company seeking comprehensive support in Italy," says Paolo Zanetto, (pictured), CEO of Excellera. "We offer corporate, financial, brand, communication, and governance affairs expertise, along with reputation building. Our international network empowers us to guide Italian companies in their global expansion."Franco Prestigiacomo (Xenon founding partner) and Gianfranco Piras (Xenon partner and Excellera chairman) highlight the impressive growth: "In just over a year, Excellera has achieved a 14% revenue increase, welcomed valuable additions, and now takes a major step forward with Barabino & Partners."

Baidu PR chief is sorry for workaholic comments

Qu Jing, head of public relations at China's search giant Baidu, issued an apology after sparking outrage with comments glorifying extreme work hours.In videos on Douyin (China's TikTok), Qu dismissed responsibility for employee well-being and threatened to punish those who complained. "I'm not your mother," she said.Her remarks fueled debate about China's infamous "996" work culture (9 am to 9 pm, six days a week). This follows similar comments from Alibaba founder Jack Ma, who called it a "blessing."Qu claimed her dedication was so intense, she didn't know her son's grade level. She also said working weekends and constant phone availability were expected in PR.Baidu has remained silent on the issue. But Qu apologized, stating her views weren't Baidu's and she regretted causing a misunderstanding."I will learn from this and improve communication, while prioritizing colleague well-being," she wrote.The incident has ignited heated discussions on Chinese social media platform Weibo. Chinese social media platform Weibo has seen heated discussion over the incident in the past few days.This was one of the comments: "As the company's vice-president, [Ms Qu] should have known that her comments and attitude would disgust her subordinates, yet she went ahead to make them public. This speaks of how out-of-touch she is."

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.

Bacchus GCC launches corporate, real estate division, headed by Karim Geadah

Bacchus Agency, a creative communications and digital marketing agency, has launched its corporate and real estate division for the GCC region, led by Karim Geadah, a seasoned PR professional and newest addition to its team, who has joined as Associate Director.  Karim will work with GCC lead, Co-Founder and Senior Vice President, Fiona Wishart overseen by Bacchus Co-Founder Anouschka Menzies.Karim Geadah brings with him over 13 years of experience in public relations across a diverse range of sectors including real estate/property, fintech, finance, cryptocurrencies, luxury lifestyle, automotive, hospitality, aviation, and technology. Throughout his career, Karim has consistently demonstrated his ability to elevate the brands of his clients and deliver exceptional results.With a strong focus on the UAE and KSA markets, Karim's expertise lies in team and client management, business development, strategic planning, crisis communications, content development, media relations, and event management. His wealth of experience has been instrumental in managing high-profile clients over the last decade, including Savills Middle East, Binghatti, OMNIYAT, Uber, Careem, Astra Tech/Botim, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, Hilton Hotels & Resorts, and Turkish Airlines, among others.From Bacchus’ Dubai office, Karim will work with clients including Discovery Dunes, 888 Brickell by Dolce & Gabbana, SHA Emirates and Lamar Development as well as key Giga projects in KSA.Bacchus Agency boasts a rich history of collaborating with real estate clients on a global scale. Leveraging their profound understanding of Ultra High Net Worth (UHNW) behaviour and the agency's expansive global presence, Bacchus has secured prestigious projects such as The WELL Bay Harbor, an innovative urban wellness community set to debut in December 2024 in Miami in partnership with real estate developers Terra, and The Towers of the Waldorf Astoria, one of Manhattan's most eagerly anticipated residential developments on Park Avenue. Strengthening their portfolio, Bacchus maintains a longstanding relationship with British Land, further enhancing their roster of property clients, which include Chelsea Barracks by Qatari Diar, Lamar Development in Dubai, and the expansion of US-based design and hospitality brand RH into the UK and Europe.“We are delighted to introduce Bacchus' Corporate and Real Estate Division in the GCC," said Anouschka Menzies, Co-Founder of Bacchus Agency. "Karim's exceptional experience and deep understanding of the regional market make him the ideal candidate to spearhead this new department. We are confident that his leadership will further strengthen Bacchus' position as a trusted partner for brands seeking strategic communication solutions in the GCC."In his new role, Karim will be responsible for driving the local division's growth strategy, working alongside Global lead Andrea Covington, expanding Bacchus' footprint in the corporate and real estate sectors, and delivering innovative campaigns tailored to the unique needs of clients in these industries."I am honoured to lead Bacchus' Corporate and Real Estate Division and excited for the opportunities that lie ahead," said Karim Geadah. "The GCC region is witnessing rapid growth in the corporate and real estate sectors, and I look forward to leveraging Bacchus' expertise and resources to help our clients navigate this dynamic landscape and achieve their communication objectives."

Manifest appoints Rowena Vithlani as UK Managing Director

Global brand communications agency Manifest strengthens its UK leadership with Vithlani at the helm.Seasoned industry leader Rowena Vithlani joins Manifest as UK managing director, bolstering the agency's growth ambitions. Vithlani brings a wealth of experience from top ad agencies like BBH, AKQA, and most recently, Uncommon.Her appointment reflects Manifest's commitment to expanding its creative offerings in branding, advertising, and digital marketing. Vithlani will lead the UK team and collaborate with regional leadership across the US, Nordics, and Australia.Ali Maynard James, former UK managing partner, transitions to a new growth-focused role, overseeing multi-brand clients, partnerships, and ventures. The new UK executive committee also includes creative director Daisy Shepherd and associate director Emma Seddon.Vithlani is impressed by Manifest's innovative and client-centric approach. "Manifest is a game-changer, creating groundbreaking work and reinventing the agency model. From tech to social responsibility, they represent the future," she says. "Leading the UK charge is a tremendous opportunity."Founded in London (Vithlani's base), Manifest has a second UK studio in Manchester and a global network spanning New York, Los Angeles, Stockholm, and Melbourne. This "24-hour creative cycle" fuels work for clients like Diageo, WWF, and Reckitt.Global CEO Alex Myers outlines ambitious plans for the UK business to reach £10 million in annual revenue by 2030, significantly up from 2023's £3.1 million."Manifest turns 15 this year," says Myers. "We've grown from a startup to a global force. Now, we aim for continued creative and commercial success. Rowena's appointment is key to our UK evolution."Myers highlights a shift in the marketing landscape. "Today, brands need to stand for something, not just sell something. That's how to make a cultural impact. After Covid, established brands are increasingly seeking this connection. This fuels our UK growth, as disrupted brands adapt quickly."Founded in 2009, Manifest boasts award-winning work for clients like BrewDog, Samsung, and WWF. They achieved B-Corp certification in 2023 and hold the Blueprint diversity mark since 2020. This commitment to social responsibility aligns with their focus on meaningful brand impact.

Arsheen K Jain promoted to Head PR & Communications at ixigo

Arsheen K Jain has been appointed as the Head of PR & Communications at ixigo, marking a new chapter in her illustrious career. With over a decade of experience in the field, Arsheen brings a wealth of expertise and a proven track record of success to her new role.Having joined ixigo over five years ago, Arsheen has played an instrumental role in shaping the company's communications strategy and fostering strong relationships with key stakeholders. Her dedication and passion for the travel industry have been evident throughout her tenure, earning her recognition as a dynamic and influential leader.Prior to her tenure at ixigo, Arsheen served as a Principal Consultant at Integral PR Services Pvt Ltd, where she honed her skills in strategic communication and brand management. She has also held roles at esteemed agencies such as Media Mantra and Avian WE, further solidifying her reputation as a seasoned professional in the field.In her new capacity, Arsheen is poised to lead ixigo's communication efforts to new heights, leveraging her extensive experience and innovative approach to connect with audiences in meaningful ways. Her promotion underscores ixigo's commitment to excellence and reinforces its position as a leader in the travel and aviation industry.Speaking on her appointment, Arsheen expressed her gratitude for the opportunity, stating: "I am thrilled to embark on this new journey as Head of PR & Communications at ixigo. It has been an incredible ride thus far, and I am excited to continue building upon the strong foundation we have established. Together with the talented team at ixigo, I am confident that we will elevate our brand, amplify our story, and forge even deeper connections with our audience."

Rajalakshmi Azaraih joins Lupin India & Global as VP & Head of Communications

Rajalakshmi Azaraih has joined Lupin India & Global as the Vice President & Head of Communications. She started her career in Ramco Systems as a Corporate Communications Executive, later assuming the position of Senior Marketing Communications Executive at Tata Elxsi. She held the position of Senior Account Director at Avian We, besides serving in Mudra Communication, Genesis BCW, Professional Aptitude Council Inc, The PRactice. She was the Group Head at Adfactors PR and the General Manager, Corporate Communications at Himalaya Wellness Company. She worked in DIAGEO India as the Senior General Manager, Corporate & Brand Communications. She is an alumnus of Thiagarajar School of Management and has been contributing to the industry of Strategic Communications for more than two decades, working across sectors like pharma, healthcare, automotive, and technology. She has keen prowess in curating purpose-driven narratives that resonate, forging and sustaining reputation of the brand. Her expertise also lies in digital marketing, where she leverages full-funnel marketing approaches for driving measurable business results which add value to the world. She also oversees managing PR-related crises skillfully, advocating ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) accomplishments and encouraging multicultural partnership. A mentor, she believes in the empowerment of teams for reaching their potential, and seeking collaborations where strategic communications can be fueling growth, making impactful change.

TEN by TishTash: Polly Williams on tailoring corp comm for the GCC

In the realm of public relations and marketing in the Middle East, TishTash Communications is making waves with its latest endeavor, Ten by TishTash. This new venture marks a strategic move for the company, as it steps into the realm of corporate communications.Ten by TishTash is designed to cater specifically to the intricacies of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region, covering Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE. Offering a range of services including digital media, content creation, and crisis management, Ten by TishTash aims to be a reliable partner in reputation building and protection across various sectors such as lifestyle, beauty, wellness, interiors, law, and real estate.In this interview, Polly Williams, the Managing Director of TishTash, sheds light on the rationale behind this initiative in an interview with AdgullyME, discussing its strategic implications for the future of corporate communications in the region.Excerpts: What prompted TishTash Communications to launch TEN by TishTash, and how does it address the evolving needs of corporate clients in the GCC region?As an agency we have consistently worked with many corporate and global clients over the last 12 years. In 2024 we have seen a real shift in the needs of these clients and the balance of the media and stakeholder match. We saw an opportunity to design a purpose-built division that responds to these changes. TEN by TishTash aims to respond to the seismic shift in the PR landscape, created by digital innovation and consumer transparency. Digital touchpoints are inescapably at the forefront, alongside the change in consumer appetite and needs. TEN by TishTash works to amplify businesses and brands looking to connect with impact - be it with stakeholders, employees, clients and consumers in a way that fits this brave and diverse new world. Could you elaborate on the integrated storytelling and authenticity that TEN by TishTash aims to offer? How does it align with modern PR objectives?Corporate comms still carry a stigma of some very old-fashioned troupes. Think men in suits, grey haired C-suite leaders etc. But the truth is the world has evolved and agencies need to evolve with it. Most businesses are not led this way. We have noticed a growing need for the ‘non-traditionally’ corporate businesses, to have a wider, integrated understanding of up to date, joined up thinking on the capabilities around their stakeholder, employee and consumer messaging and we believe corporate, ‘joined up’ storytelling for these businesses can have the impact required - cross platform and cross stakeholder, with the authenticity an audience now demands.With the emergence of digital touchpoints and changing consumer preferences, how does TEN by TishTash plan to navigate and leverage these shifts in the media and stakeholder landscape?Everything we do at TishTash is about creating impact for our client. TEN by TishTash will be no different in its objective and we will compound our success by sharing a fresh thinking approach to integrated marketing and PR that utilises the agency's unparalleled understanding of the regional landscape. The digital first approach from TEN by TishTash takes a keen focus on output that is relevant, modern and creative. This will include strategic thought leadership, profiling, events, whitepapers, trade shows and credible sustainability initiatives, working together, versus in silo, and in the language that the audience of a business, brand or leadership team want to read, listen to and understand. What specific strategies or approaches does TEN by TishTash employ to ensure impactful corporate communications for its clients, especially in areas such as thought leadership, profiling, and B2B coverage?The key starting point is a deep dive into current brand sentiment against business objectives or brand promises. Taking from this, a strategy that combines the identified audience appetite, aligned with the business goals is key. Identifying where stakeholders are now and the topics that are relevant to new audiences are crucial. The lines drawn between what is B2C and what is B2B are blurring and the work we do aims to better bring those two sides together in an authentic way. For example, one of our corporate clients recently unveiled new maternity leave policies for their workforce. This was covered in both B2C and B2B publications (digitally and in print). Historically, you would not consider that such news would have that depth and breadth of coverage, but with the right strategic thinking and storytelling, bridging corporate and social interest, we are able to broaden reach and find new relevant audiences.  How does the leadership team, including yourself, envision the role of corporate communications evolving beyond 2024, and how does TEN by TishTash aim to stay ahead of these changes?The role of corporate communications is no different to the role of consumer communications, and that’s exactly why TEN was created. It’s about people. What they read, listen to and what they are influenced by, when and where. The importance of digital-first, the need for sophisticated storytelling and the increasing role of AI are all essential areas for consideration. The success of TishTash has always been in our agility to respond to the quick changing landscape, and this strategy will continue as we focus on new integrated storytelling and authenticity that match modern PR objectives.

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."

B&K appoints Pitchfork Partners as its strategic communications partner

B&K (Batlivala & Karani), one of the oldest financial services groups in India, has appointed Pitchfork Partners as its integrated communications partner. After a competitive selection process, Pitchfork emerged as the agency of choice to develop and execute a comprehensive communications strategy for B&K. Under this mandate, Pitchfork will work towards enhancing the group’s external reach through strategic media relations, thought leadership and social media outreach. Jaideep Shergill, Co-founder, Pitchfork Partners, said: “As our economy grows, the need for firms which understand money and can offer suitable research backed counsel to institutions and individuals alike is also witnessing a mounting demand. B&K has been at the forefront of this for over 140 years and we at Pitchfork are thrilled to be their strategic communications partner. We are confident that our extensive experience in financial services communications will help the firm in driving impactful conversations across mediums.”Saahil Murarka, Group Managing Director, B&K, commented: "We are excited to kickstart our communications journey with Pitchfork Partners. Their proven track record and industry understanding approach align perfectly with our requirements as we aim to engage more effectively with our stakeholders."Established in the 1880s, B&K enjoys an undisputed legacy and has built a wide range of offerings with a special focus on Equity Capital Markets and Wealth Services. The group’s current AUA exceed INR 50,000 crores.

Shweta Chawla joins Lionsgate Play as the lead PR and Comms

Shweta Chawla exclusively shared with Adgully that she has joined Lionsgate Play as the lead PR and Communications professional. Before joining Lionsgate Play, Shweta spent almost three years handling Amazon India's Consumer Communications. She has also served as a Corporate & Consumer Communications Specialist at Trell and TikTok.Additionally, Chawla has experience handling PR and Communication for The Viral Fever. In her early career, Shweta worked with Viacom18 Media for over four years, starting as a PR intern and gradually progressing to a Corporate Communication specialist.

Independent comms agency APRW launches training initiative for employees

APRW Pte Ltd (APRW), one of Singapore's earliest and largest independent integrated communications agencies, announces the launch of APRW+, a comprehensive training initiative for its full-time employees. APRW is the first independent communications agency to work with NTUC U SME to build an Operation and Technology Roadmap (OTR). Designed to empower and benefit APRW employees with continuous industry learning and professional development, the programme aims to upskill, upgrade and uplift employees both professionally and personally. It also underscores APRW’s dedication to providing valuable learning resources for its employees to thrive in an ever-evolving industry. Driving value in employees with upskilling and integrated industry skills With nearly 30 years of experience in delivering excellence in communications for clients across the Asia Pacific region, APRW continues its dedication to creating significant media and digital presence for clients. The agency also recognises the importance of nurturing talent, and enabling them to reach their full potential and achieve their career goals.The APRW+ programme aims to fast-track employees' development, offering opportunities for employees to participate in certification programmes, managerial development schemes, and robust hands-on training initiatives. APRW+ offers a comprehensive array of skills-enhancing courses that are conducted in-house as well as by external trainers from accredited organisations and educational institutions for employees at various stages of their careers. It aims to instil a proactive approach to learning and a mindset of continuous development in employees. The programme will also expand employees’ industry knowledge, maintain their relevance in the dynamic professional landscape as well as enabling them to stay abreast of the latest technological advancements.“In the ever-evolving landscape of communication, we embrace the dynamic challenges posed by technology and the rising complexities of modern communication. To remain confident and resilient, we understand the imperative to upskill, staying ahead in anticipation of change. As an agency, we recognise that in today's paradigm, controlling the narrative requires adapting to societal changes such as adopting digital tools, which can be seen as an addition to help with efficiency,” said Cho Pei Lin, Managing Director of APRW.Moulding talents to future leaders of tomorrow with opportunities in Singapore and beyond APRW+ consists of five levels, each representing a step forward in the growth and development of client account servicing employees, starting from executive-level to transitioning into leadership roles. It includes a mix of core and non-core electives ranging from foundational topics to management and managerial-related modules to growth, diversification and adaptability. Employees can also look forward to curated seminars and global engagements via webinars, conferences and training programmes for overseas exposure. This includes partnerships with agencies from IPREX, a leading global communication and public relations network. APRW is the sole IPREX representative in Southeast Asia, representing Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Malaysia."As the world becomes increasingly interconnected, opportunities for overseas exposure at work are highly valuable in helping professionals broaden their horizons and gain new perspectives. For instance, at the upcoming IPREX Annual General Conference in Greece later this month, we will be joined by communication experts from around the world, giving us a platform to interact and exchange best practices with them. It is going to be an eye-opening trip and I am grateful to the agency for providing such opportunities for us to step out of our comfort zones and embrace new learning experiences,” said Bijal Doshi, Senior Manager at APRW. Beyond just upskilling and training, APRW+ also serves as a foundational ground for the agency’s future leaders. The Director Mentorship Programme at the final stage aims to ease selected employees into leadership roles and to be owners and part of the business as well, to be well-equipped and familiar with the different functions of running an agency - from HR, business to finance and budgeting.With APRW+, the agency sets a benchmark for empowering its employees to thrive in an ever-evolving landscape, ensuring that they are well-equipped to navigate the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.

Anasua Mitra moves on from ZEE5, joins Lava International Ltd

Anasua Mitra of ZEE5 has joined Lava International to lead brand’s PR and Corporate Communucations, Mitra confirmed this news with Adgully where she said, "After an exciting journey at ZEE5, I am happy to share I have joined Lava International Ltd. to lead brand’s PR and Corporate Communucations.I will be responsible for brand’s overall communications across traditional, digital and social media platforms."Prior to joining Lava International, Anasua was handling ZEE Entertainment Enterprises Limited's Corporate Communications as Senior Manager Corporate Communications.

Jenny Fieldgate joins The Hoffman Agency as European MD

The Hoffman Agency, a global communications consultancy known for its work in technology, has announced changes to its European leadership team. Jenny Fieldgate, (pictured), formerly of Red Consultancy, takes the helm as the new European Managing Director.Fieldgate brings over 13 years of experience to the role, having most recently led Red Consultancy's corporate and technology practices. Prior to that, she spent nearly five years at B2B technology specialist Whiteoaks.Mark Pinsent, the outgoing European MD, will transition to a senior consultancy role. He expressed satisfaction with the team's progress and his decision to pursue a different path within the agency.Pinsent highlights Fieldgate's extensive experience in corporate communications, complementing his own focus on technology. He looks forward to leveraging his expertise to deliver exceptional results for clients.Fieldgate is excited to join The Hoffman Agency, impressed by their unique approach and collaborative spirit. She aims to build on the strong foundation established by Pinsent and the team to drive further growth across Europe.President and CEO Lou Hoffman confirmed the agency's ambitious plans for Europe, including acquisitions. He sees Fieldgate as a key player in achieving their goals, specifically targeting "smallish indies" seeking a broader platform.The leadership shake-up in Europe is part of a broader global restructuring at The Hoffman Agency. Caroline Hsu's promotion to Chief Global Officer in 2022 marked the beginning of these changes, followed by Gerard LaFond's appointment as North America MD.The agency also recently experienced a change in Asia-Pacific leadership. After a brief tenure, Dominique Rose Van-Winther departed the role. Hoffman acknowledges the setback and plans to re-evaluate the best structure for the region.The Hoffman Agency, with its 14 offices worldwide, is on track to exceed $30 million in revenue this year. Hoffman has set his sights on reaching $40 million in the coming years.This growth strategy combines strategic acquisitions with organic expansion. With a strong foundation in place and Fieldgate's leadership, The Hoffman Agency is poised to become a major force in the global tech communications sector.

Jummar PR joins PRCA MENA as a new corporate member

The Public Relations and Communications Association in the Middle East and North Africa (PRCA MENA) has today announced Jummar PR as its latest corporate member.Jummar PR is a local Saudi public relations company based in Riyadh and they provide communication consultancy for organizations, entities, and companies, driven by deep understanding of the local culture and clear insights of social and economic contexts in Saudi Arabia.Head of PRCA EMEA, Monika Fourneaux said:“Jummar PR's addition as a corporate member underscores PRCA MENA's commitment to fostering diverse and culturally attuned communication practices in the region. Their expertise in navigating the intricacies of Saudi Arabia's social and economic landscape aligns seamlessly with our mission to elevate standards of excellence in public relations and communications across the Middle East and North Africa.”Jummar PR’s Co-Founder and Managing Partner, Ibrahim Al-Mutawa, said:"Celebrating our membership with PRCA MENA marks a significant milestone for Jummar PR. We are thrilled to join forces with an esteemed association dedicated to advancing the PR and communications industry in the region. This collaboration reaffirms our commitment to delivering strategic communication solutions tailored to the unique cultural landscape of Saudi Arabia, and we look forward to contributing to PRCA MENA's mission of excellence and innovation."

Francesca Boase joins Sandpiper as MD of Professional Services

The Sandpiper Group has announced the appointment of Francesca Boase as Managing Director, Professional Services. Sandpiper, renowned as one of the foremost independent communications, public affairs, and research groups in the Asia Pacific region, is set to leverage Boase's extensive expertise to further elevate its specialized Professional Services practice on a global scale.Based between the bustling metropolises of Hong Kong and Sydney, Francesca Boase brings over two decades of invaluable experience to her new role. Her career trajectory spans both agency and in-house positions, where she has collaborated closely with executive teams and boards, carving out a niche in reputation strategy, corporate communications, and crisis and issues management.Prior to joining Sandpiper, Boase held the prestigious position of Director of Communications for Oceania at EY. During her tenure, she spearheaded corporate affairs, issues management, and external communications initiatives, leaving an indelible mark on the firm's strategic landscape.Boase's appointment comes at a pivotal moment for Sandpiper, coinciding with the burgeoning expansion of its professional services reputation advisory endeavors across the Asia Pacific and the Middle East regions. The consultancy's unwavering commitment to excellence has earned it prestigious accolades, including recognition as an Asia Pacific Agency of the Year by esteemed industry voices such as PRovoke Media, PRWeek, and the Public Relations Communications Association (PRCA). Furthermore, Sandpiper has emerged as a trailblazer in ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) and Sustainability realms, cementing its position as a frontrunner in the ever-evolving communications landscape.Emma Smith, Chief Executive Officer, Sandpiper, said: “As one of the region’s most experienced advisers in reputation management for professional services, Fran brings a wealth of valuable knowledge and experience to our clients across Asia Pacific, the Middle East, and beyond. Her appointment coincides with the growth of Sandpiper’s professional services reputation advisory work across Asia Pacific and the Middle East. Over the past 12 months, Sandpiper has been named Asia Pacific Agency of the Year by PRovoke Media, PRWeek, and the Public Relations Communications Association (PRCA), as well as PRCA’s 2024 Specialist Consultancy of the Year.”Francesca Boase, Managing Director, Professional Services, Sandpiper, said: “This is an exciting and challenging time for the professional services industry, and Sandpiper’s global reach and deep expertise in corporate and public affairs makes it ideally positioned to partner with clients across the corporate spectrum. I’m looking forward to collaborating with an international team of dynamic and dedicated professionals to lead the practice globally. I’m excited about the opportunities ahead.”With Francesca Boase at the helm of its Professional Services division, Sandpiper is poised to navigate new horizons, delivering innovative solutions and unparalleled expertise to its diverse clientele, and solidifying its status as a powerhouse in the realm of communications and public affairs.

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.

Visa Inc appoints Vidisha Chatterjee as Sr Director, Head of Corp Comm

Vidisha Chatterjee, formerly the Communications Director at WhatsApp India, has joined Visa Inc as Senior Director and Head of Corporate Communications for India & South Asia (INSA). After departing from WhatsApp last year, Chatterjee has now announced her new role with Visa Inc.With over 20 years of experience, Vidisha Chatterjee has made significant contributions in scaling businesses and building trust for global brands across various domains including business, marketing communications, and content creation. Notably, she served as WhatsApp India's inaugural Director of Communications.Chatterjee is recognized as a strategic advisor in team-building, leadership training, and business transformation. Her previous roles include Head of Communications at Colgate-Palmolive India, as well as positions at Apollo International, India Today, Star TV, Genesis Burson Marsteller, among others.

Minor Hotels appoints BrandsWeLove as its PR agency for India

Global hospitality group Minor Hotels has selected BrandsWeLove (BWL) as its public relations agency in India ahead of the debut of its flagship modern luxury brand Anantara Hotels, Resorts & Spas in Jaipur, India, later this year. The appointment follows a competitive pitch, effective from 15 April 2024. BWL will partner with Minor Hotels to increase awareness of its global portfolio of properties among Indian travellers, especially for its flagship luxury Anantara Hotels, Resorts & Spas and upscale lifestyle Avani Hotels & Resorts brands. The agency will support the hospitality group through strategic communications, including media relations, influencer engagement and on-ground activations. BWL will also promote Minor Hotels’ expansion in India, first with the Anantara Jaipur Hotel in Q3 this year and future new openings in the pipeline. Marion Walsh-Hédouin, Global Head of Public Relations & Communications for Minor Hotels, commented: “India is becoming an outbound travel superpower as more Indian travellers broaden their horizons by heading overseas. India is one of Minor Hotels’ fastest-growing international source markets, and the country is an essential piece of our global expansion plan to capture a portion of the expanding domestic travel market, too, with the target of 50 new openings in India within the next decade. BrandsWeLove joins our team at a significant time for Minor Hotels as we gear up for the opening of the Anantara Jaipur Hotel, the first of many of our flagship brand in India. We are excited to tap into the agency’s luxury hospitality experience and the team’s strategic and creative thinking to tell authentic stories that build upon strong recognition of our brands among Indian travellers.” Deepa Harris, Founder of BrandsWeLove, further confirmed how pleased they are to work with Minor Hotels, a globally recognised organisation with a legacy of impeccable hospitality. “Our focus will be to build on their already strong and differentiated positioning with brand narratives that command deeper affinity and desire.’’ BrandsWeLove is a boutique marketing and PR representation company. It operates in the ultra-luxury category and has expertise in the hospitality, tourism and lifestyle sectors. It has a client roster of marquee brands that aredifferentiated by their brand purpose, personalised and connected experiences and customer-centric excellence. BrandsWeLove has successfully established and positioned these brands for success in this market via a deep understanding and network of the media and influencer landscape. BWL has a history of delivering on clients’ visions and ambitions by focusing on the parts that truly provide value.

Burson announces global leadership appointments

Burson has appointed Chad Latz, Grant Toups, and Chris Kief as the global heads of innovation, digital and intelligence, and technology respectively.Chad Latz, (pictured), currently serving as the global chief innovation officer at BCW, will maintain this role after the merger with Hill & Knowlton, forming Burson. He will spearhead Burson's innovation endeavors, particularly focusing on AI-driven solutions, and continue to cultivate a team of AI specialists spanning data, technology, and academia.Toups, the current global chief technology officer at H&K, will transition to the role of global chief digital and intelligence officer at Burson. Tasked with streamlining digital-first client solutions, Toups will lead a global team specializing in digital and social communications, reputation management, technology advisory, and advanced intelligence services.Additionally, Kief, currently holding the position of BCW's global chief technology officer, will maintain his role at Burson. He will oversee the enterprise technology strategy, including investments, deployments, and governance, while also driving product development through engineering teams.BCW global CEO Corey duBrowa, who will assume the role of global CEO at Burson, emphasized the significant impact of artificial intelligence and digital technologies on the communications sector. He highlighted Burson's commitment to leveraging these technologies to deliver innovative communication solutions, citing tools like Decipher and Sonar for predictive analytics and message testing. duBrowa expressed confidence in the appointed team's ability to uphold Burson's reputation as a leader in the industry.

Leveraging Influencers to Amplify Brand Messaging

- Authored by Komal Rukhana, Founder at Mint and Milk PRIn today's digital age, where social media reigns supreme, leveraging influencers has become a powerful tool for brands to amplify their messaging in order to reach a wider audience. Influencers, with their dedicated following and authentic voice, have the ability to connect with consumers on a personal level, making them valuable partners in any brand's marketing strategy. The consumer's attention spans are shrinking and delivering the right message in short, crisp and engaging ways are now taking precedence. Leveraging the brand voice for companies that can’t be openly marketed over other mediums also becomes a priority when it comes to influencer marketing. In the rapid rise of the digital age, news is first broken online through digital campaigns and then it transcends to traditional media. So the conversation has now altered for brands which peg themselves as a digital first company. As a PR company we weigh engagement, reach, impressions, click through rate, sentiment analysis of the content along with comments even before even suggesting or recommending influencers to our clients. Each campaign is well thought through. For a brand like MyMuse within the Intimate wellness industry- funny and engaging content has been leveraged with influencers to mold the conversation. Two years ago the brand was budding in the space and with a targeted as well as amiable approach the brand has really managed to leverage the conversation using influencer marketing to change the narrative around sexual wellness and educate the customer. Over the last 3 years, their product portfolio has grown from 4 to 25+, spanning personal massagers, high quality lubricants and massage oils, games and journals to wellness products such as libido gummies and wipes. Messaging and brand perception can be monitored and tweaked based on the audience response and the brand has a larger say in what’s being communicated and perceived. The risk of miscommunication within messages is also reduced.AuthenticityWhen it comes to leveraging influencers, authenticity is key. Consumers are savvy and can easily spot inauthentic endorsements. By partnering with influencers whose values align with the brand's, companies can ensure that the messaging is genuine and resonates with their audience. In addition to authenticity, choosing the right influencers is crucial. Micro-influencers, with smaller but highly engaged followings, can often yield better results than macro-influencers. Their niche audiences are more likely to trust their recommendations, leading to higher engagement and conversion rates.Geographic libertyCollaborating with influencers also allows brands to tap into new markets and demographics. Influencers have the ability to reach audiences that may be difficult for brands to access through traditional advertising channels. By diversifying their influencer partnerships, brands can expand their reach and connect with a broader range of consumers. Some of our clients have interest in tying up with influencers with an NRI dominance and that can only be achieved through influencer marketing. It lets you cut borders in a way that wasn’t possible a few years ago. We represented a restaurant brand in Goa recently where the brand's videos would garner a reach of 3k on its feed however by engaging the right influencers we saw the video reach expand to garner 1M+ views thereby drawing immense awareness and reach for the brand. Furthermore, influencers can provide valuable insights into consumer trends and preferences. By monitoring the engagement and feedback generated by influencer campaigns, brands can gain a better understanding of their target audience and tailor their messaging accordingly.Building a community and collaboratingCollaborative reels with multiple creators within a campaign has become the need of the hour now to leverage the reach of all within a single reel to boost virality and generate a larger viewership. Engaging with the same influencers that have worked for the brand from time to time helps create a strong community with them and their audiences.Building micro-influencers from the get go -With budding and boot strapped brands affordability becomes a key challenging factor however this can be mitigated through working with micro- influencers which grow with your brands profile. Collaborating with budding influencers fosters mutual growth for brands as well as creators within the space thereby giving both something to benefit from. By leveraging influencers to amplify brand messaging is a powerful strategy we recommend for brands looking to connect with consumers in a meaningful way. By prioritizing authenticity, choosing the right influencers, and diversifying partnerships, brands can effectively leverage influencers to reach new audiences, drive engagement, and ultimately, boost brand awareness and loyalty.

Rajiv Banerjee joins Standard Chartered as India & South Asia Comms Head

Rajiv Bannerjee has started a new role at Standard Chartered India as the Head of Communications for India & South Asia. He posted on his Linkedin: “Excited to be given the responsibility to shape and execute the communication strategy of one of the marquee financial services brands that has a long association with the Indian sub-continent. The Bank's association with India now spans more than 150 years. The brand promise hashtag#hereforgood, along with the values of hashtag#neversettle hashtag#dotherightthing and hashtag#bettertogether, I believe, reflects amongst its employees, customers, clients and other key stakeholders.”He started his career as the Field Correspondent, Unit Director at Beacon Television and served in the Executive Programming department at Hinduja Media. He was the Senior Executive Teleshopping Network at United Television (UTV). He was the Senior Executive – Content at NetScribes and the Senior Correspondent at Financial Express. He was also the Editor at ET Brand Equity and the Senior Vice President & Vertical Head, Corporate Communications at HDFC Bank. He held the position of Group Head – Corporate Communications at Piramal Enterprises Limited. He is a seasoned strategic communications professional with experience in television, print, digital for 15 years and was a reputation management expert at HDFC Bank for the last nine years. He is a law graduate and have done an Advanced Management Programme in Public Policy from ISB Hyderabad.

Navigating virtual PR challenges and opportunities

-Authored by Komal Rukhana, Founder at Mint and Milk PR With global connectivity being the need of the hour, the landscape of public relations has undergone a profound transformation. Traditional office settings are giving way to virtual and remote work environments, presenting both challenges and opportunities for PR professionals. As the industry adapts to these changes, navigating this new terrain requires agility, creativity, and a keen understanding of the emerging trends.Embracing FlexibilityOne of the primary advantages of virtual PR work environments is the flexibility they offer. Constraints of physical location are eliminated through remote work, allowing professionals to collaborate seamlessly across geographical boundaries. This flexibility not only enhances work- life balance but also enables PR teams to tap into a diverse talent pool, fostering creativity and innovation.Overcoming Communication BarriersEffective PR relies heavily on clear and timely communication, which can be hindered by the absence of face-to-face interaction. To overcome this, PR professionals must leverage a variety of communication tools and platforms, such as video conferencing, instant messaging, and project management software. Establishing regular check-ins and maintaining open lines of communication are essential for ensuring that team members stay connected and aligned on objectives.Harnessing TechnologyTechnology plays a pivotal role in facilitating virtual PR work environments. From media monitoring and analytics tools to social media management platforms, the PR industry is awash with technology-driven solutions that streamline workflows and enhance productivity. Embracing these tools enables PR professionals to adapt to the evolving media landscape, identify emerging trends, and measure the impact of their efforts with greater precision.Cultivating CreativityCreativity lies at the heart of effective PR, and virtual work environments offer ample opportunities for innovation. Without the confines of traditional office spaces, PR professionals have the freedom to explore new approaches and experiment with different strategies. Virtual brainstorming sessions, collaborative digital whiteboards, and online ideation platforms empower teams to generate fresh ideas and develop creative campaigns that resonate with target audiences.Maintaining ProfessionalismWhile remote work provides flexibility, it also requires a high degree of professionalism and self- discipline. PR professionals must set boundaries between work and personal life, establish a dedicated workspace, and adhere to deadlines rigorously. Additionally, maintaining a professional online presence is paramount, as virtual interactions often shape perceptions of credibility and reliability.Adapting to ChangeIn a rapidly evolving digital landscape, adaptability is key to success in virtual PR work environments. PR professionals must stay abreast of emerging technologies, social media trends, and industry developments to remain competitive. Continuous learning and professional development are essential for staying ahead of the curve and delivering impactful PR strategies that drive results.ConclusionAs virtual and remote work environments become increasingly prevalent in the PR industry, professionals must embrace the challenges and opportunities they present. By leveraging flexibility, harnessing technology, cultivating creativity, and maintaining professionalism, PR teams can navigate this new terrain with confidence and achieve success in the ever-changing media landscape. With adaptability and innovation as guiding principles, the future of PR holds boundless possibilities in the virtual realm.DISCLAIMER: The views expressed are solely of the author and does not necessarily subscribe to it.

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.

ZENO Group appoints Prashant Subramanian as India National Corporate Lead

 Zeno has announced the appointment of Prashant Subramanian as the National Practice Lead - Corporate. With more than 18 years of experience across sectors, Prashant will play a vital role in expanding Zeno India’s corporate practice. Based in Gurugram, Prashant will work closely with Rekha Rao, Managing Director for Zeno India.“The addition of Prashant with his wealth of experience across sectors coupled with Zeno’s unique corporate offerings will help deliver strategic thinking and real impact to clients in India,” said Rekha Rao, MD, Zeno Group India. “Zeno is known for keeping in step and leveraging timely developments in the communications sector to innovate and provide real business impact. Prashant will also be integral in delivering our latest technology-backed integrated marketing services to the market.”Prashant’s expertise extends across various industries, including , public health, pharma, healthcare, FMCG, media & entertainment, consumer technology, ed-tech, health-tech, ai, robotics, banking, and financial services, among others. With a strong foundation in public relations, strategy development, advocacy, campaign, and project management, he has consistently delivered impactful communication solutions that align with organizational objectives.On his move to Zeno, Prashant said "I am enthusiastic about joining Zeno during this crucial phase of the organization's progression. Zeno's distinguished global perspective coupled with its use of innovative contemporary methods to provide effective communications for clients, has consistently defined its identity. I look forward to partnering with the skilled team at Zeno to cultivate robust corporate practice. I am confident that my background and expertise will contribute significantly to Zeno's success and enable us to leverage emerging opportunities and realizing our long-term vision."Prashant occupied pivotal agency positions including Vice President – North at Kaizzen prior to joining Zeno. Additionally, he made notable contributions while working with corporate giants like Ansal Properties and Infrastructure Limited, a prominent real estate conglomerate; and SG Cricket, the world's largest cricket equipment manufacturer, where he served as the Brand & Category Head.To learn more about Zeno and its capabilities visit or on social media at LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram.

Jared Robinson joins Ketchum as CFO

Industry veteran Jared Robinson has transitioned from his role as Chief Financial Officer (CFO) at MHP to take on the same position at fellow PR agency Ketchum. Robinson boasts an impressive track record, having spent over a decade at Edelman, where he served as the Middle East's CFO. This move signifies a strategic shift within the PR landscape.MHP, in turn, has promoted its Director of Finance, Raneisha Tarnai, to fill the vacated CFO position. Tarnai brings valuable experience to the role, having played a key part in MHP's growth and development. Her prior experience at Edelman, coupled with her tenure at tech firms SAP and CA Technologies, positions her well for success.Industry analysts anticipate that Robinson's appointment at Ketchum will leverage his extensive financial expertise to bolster the agency's operations. His proven track record in leading high-performing finance teams across diverse markets bodes well for Ketchum's continued growth. Meanwhile, Tarnai's promotion at MHP ensures financial continuity and strategic direction as the agency builds on its momentum.

Razor PR, UJ forge partnership to shape future-ready strategic communicators

Razor PR, the globally award-winning public relations and reputation management agency of M&C Saatchi Group South Africa, and the University of Johannesburg (UJ) have agreed to a multi-year partnership to address the future skills needed by strategic communications graduates entering the working world.As part of this agreement, Razor will provide select graduate placement opportunities for top students in the Strategic Communication Honours programme. In addition, the agreement is geared toward helping enhance the University’s Applied Strategic Communication Honours Module.“We all accept that we don’t yet know the jobs we will need to deliver on in the future. But we can’t wait to figure out what solutions we can co-create. We need to work together to reframe and refocus what the specific skill needs should be. At its heart, this is a partnership geared at closing the divide between the academic world and the working world as we get ready for this future,” said Dustin Chick, Partner & Managing Director at Razor PR. "We’re very excited to be partnering with Razor PR. Working with our colleagues who are actively practicing in the world of communication means that we will help produce graduates who are fit for their future world of work when they leave university,” said UJ Associate Professor, Prof Rene Benecke.The formalisation of this successful partnership was marked today with the signing of the agreement at the office of the Executive Dean of the Faculty of Humanities, Prof Kammila Naidoo. The agreement signifies a shared commitment to elevating the academic standard of the University and enhancing the strategic communication module.Under the terms of the MoU, both Razor and UJ will engage in academic cooperation and collaboration through internships, job shadowing, teaching and learning programmes, research and development initiatives, as well as student and lecturer programmes. This collaborative effort aims to make the module more practical and relevant to the dynamic PR/Marketing/Communication sector.The agreement reflects a dedication to establishing the University of Johannesburg as a centre of excellence for Strategic Communication, particularly in Southern Africa. The partnership seeks to institutionalise deep collaboration, ensuring that it transcends individual interactions and becomes an integral part of the strategic and operational framework of the module.Key strategic priorities outlined in this partnership include promoting the module to incorporate industry-focused insights and needs, fostering innovation and efficiency within the applied strategic communications programme, and providing additional resources to support the module's objectives."We are thrilled to formalise our partnership with the University of Johannesburg. This collaboration underscores our shared commitment to advancing the field of strategic communications and nurturing the next generation of industry leaders," said Jacques Burger, Partner and Group CEO at the M&C Saatchi Group South Africa.The Executive Dean of the Faculty of Humanities, Prof Kammila Naidoo echoed this, saying, "This agreement represents a significant milestone in our efforts to enhance the academic offerings and industry relevance of our applied strategic communication module. We look forward to a fruitful collaboration with Razor.”

Glad U Came launches #KabHaiMothersDay Campaign to Celebrate Moms Across India

This Mother's Day, Glad U Came, an award-winning PR and Influencer Marketing Agency, is proud to launch the heartwarming #KabHaiMothersDay campaign. This initiative aims to spark conversations and heighten awareness about Mother's Day, reminding everyone to cherish and appreciate the incredible women who raised them.The#KabHaiMothersDay campaign centers around a heartwarming video that will be released on both Instagram and YouTube. This emotionally charged video will capture the essence of motherhood and the importance of celebrating mothers. The campaign leverages the emotional connection people have with video content to spread its message and inspire action.<iframe width="560" height="315" src="" title="YouTube video player" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture; web-share" referrerpolicy="strict-origin-when-cross-origin" allowfullscreen></iframe>In a fast-paced world filled with hustle and bustle, it's easy to overlook the quiet, steadfast love that our mothers provide. They are the unsung heroes who sacrifice so much to ensure our happiness and well-being. As Glad U Came, embarks on the #KabHaiMothersDay campaign, let's take a moment to reflect on the countless ways our mothers have shaped our lives with their unconditional love and unwavering support. Glad U Came anticipates the #KabHaiMothersDay campaign to create a significant nationwide impact. Together, let's make every day feel like Mother's Day by showing our appreciation in both: big gestures and small acts of kindness. After all, our mothers deserve to be celebrated not just on one day, but every day! Let's make every moment count. By sharing the video and using the hashtag, people will be encouraged to express their gratitude and love for their mothers in a personal way."We believe this campaign will not only raise awareness about Mother's Day but also inspire heartfelt gestures of appreciation," says Maddie Amrutkar Founder & CEO at Glad U Came. "Ultimately, we hope to make #KabHaiMothersDay a national movement, ensuring everyone takes the time to celebrate the incredible women who shaped who we are today."

Echo Research acquires Reputation Dividend

Echo Research, the leading global research agency specializing in reputation insight, benchmarking, and intelligence, announces its acquisition of Reputation Dividend, the foremost authority in valuing intangible reputational assets for listed companies worldwide. This strategic move strengthens Echo Research's ability to deliver comprehensive, board-ready reputational intelligence solutions to its global clientele.The Reputation Dividend analytical suite assesses an enterprise's intangible reputation value separately from operational and financial metrics, quantifying the external factors shaping this value. This empowers organizations to refine messaging priorities for maximum positive impact on shareholders.With over three decades of combined experience in reputation measurement and analysis, Echo Research and Reputation Dividend offer unmatched expertise and innovative solutions to navigate the intricate terrain of corporate reputation. The acquisition encompasses the name, IP, proprietary methodology, and extensive reputational data spanning more than 700 S&P and FTSE-listed companies since 2009.Sandra Macleod, CEO of Echo Research, stated, "We are delighted to welcome Reputation Dividend to the Echo Research family, alongside Britain’s Most Admired Companies Study. This strategic addition aligns perfectly with our mission to equip organizations with actionable insights to fortify their reputation and drive business success. By integrating Reputation Dividend's expertise, we offer clients deeper insights and strategic guidance to manage and safeguard their reputation effectively."Ray Jordan, senior communications leader in the health care industry, said: "I have deployed Echo’s reputation valuation analysis for many years in my role as past chief communications officer at Johnson & Johnson and Amgen . The insights helped me focus senior leadership and my corporate affairs teams on the most constructive messaging to bolster shareholder value, helping to drive measurable gains in reputation scores and market capitalization for each company during my tenure.”Reputation Dividend pioneered the assessment of reputation's intangible value, which on average contributes 30% to market capitalization. Macleod added: "By integrating Reputation Dividend’s methodologies with Echo Research's suite, we anticipate delivering even greater value to clients seeking to unlock their reputation capital."

Communication gap threatens cybersecurity posture

New research from FTI Consulting's strategic communications segment exposes a critical vulnerability at the heart of many organisations' cybersecurity posture: a communication gap between CISOs and the C-suite.The report, titled "CISO Redefined: Navigating C-Suite Perceptions & Expectations," reveals a concerning disconnect. Despite cybersecurity rising in prominence as a business priority, many senior leaders believe their Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs) are failing to effectively communicate the true extent of cyber risk. This potential lack of trust between executives and security teams could leave organizations dangerously exposed to attack.Key Findings:Despite heightened awareness of cyber threats, a communication chasm exists between CISOs and C-suite executives.Some senior leaders perceive CISOs as downplaying risks or hesitating to raise critical vulnerabilities, hindering trust.Executives overwhelmingly support additional training programs to enhance CISO communication skills.FTI Consulting's Digital & Insights team surveyed n=787 C-suite executives and n=165 CISOs (previously surveyed) at organizations with 500+ employees across various industries.The Growing Disconnect:Increased cyber incidents (90% experienced an incident in the last year) lead to heightened scrutiny from all stakeholders.CISO decision-making power has grown significantly (87% of executives reported an increase), highlighting the evolving threat landscape.However, a third of executives perceive CISOs as downplaying risks or lacking transparency on vulnerabilities.Nearly half (40%) believe CISOs are not fully prepared to communicate with key stakeholders.Closing the Gap:Both CISOs and executives recognize the need for improved communication. Executives overwhelmingly support increased funding for CISO communications training (98%).

VML’s Former Head of Corp Comm, Rohini Saldanha launches The PR Stop

VML’s Former Head of Corporate Communications, Rohini Saldanha has announced the launch of The PR Stop., a public relations firm that will provide comprehensive public relations and communications solutions to clients across various industries. Recognising the transformative power of strategic communication in shaping brand perception and driving organizational success, The PR Stop. Is a one-stop brand communications company that will enable businesses to effectively reach their target audiences and drive growth while carving a niche for themselves in a dynamic business landscape.With a strong track record of building individual and company brand identities, shaping brand narratives, and an extensive network of industry contacts, Founder Rohini Saldanha brings a wealth of experience, expertise, and capabilities to her new venture. Having built her career as a turnaround specialist in the media and communications industry, Rohini has held leadership positions in public relations and marketing communications for over 18 years earning the trust of clients in diverse verticals such as corporate, lifestyle, consumer, media, and entertainment. Her belief in the importance of brands connecting with consumers authentically drives her to utilize PR as a powerful tool for competitive advantage, emphasizing the need for evolving content strategies to stay relevant in changing consumer behaviours.On launching her own company, Rohini Saldanha said, “Simply put it was the right time. I have been toying with the idea of officially launching my own company for a while now. The final nudge came when an editor friend of mine reached out to me regarding a client I represent and asked me to regularly update them with my client roster. That got me thinking that it was vital for me to promote my business as I was doing myself (and others) a disservice by lying low. I guess the initial hesitance came from a place of not wanting to put the cart before the horse. However, having had clients signed on as retainers with me since August 2023, I thought it was the opportune time to ‘pull out all the stops’ in making my company official as my business is expanding.”Rohini further added, “I was initially considering using my name as the company name but besides the fact that it looks pretentious, I wanted a brand name that was simple, easy to remember, and descriptive of my offerings as a business. My advice to most clients is that there should not be any conflict between you and the brand that you represent. You are the brand and over time you should become synonymous with it which is the ultimate litmus test. That is my intention with The PR Stop., where the work I have undertaken and will undertake for my clients reflects my craft, capabilities, and passion for strategic communications. So, whether you sign up with Rohini Saldanha or The PR Stop., it is essentially the same thing.”The PR Stop. offers a range of services, including content development, media relations, crisis management, brand positioning, and strategic counsel. The company's current portfolio includes clients from various sectors including creative, branding, recruitment, and DE&I.

Ayatiworks enters Delhi NCR, teams with Kreasense & Avance PR for brand boost

Ayatiworks Technologies, a frontrunner in digital marketing and strategic planning, is proud to announce its strategic expansion into Delhi NCR, marking a significant milestone in the company's journey. This expansion is complemented by a powerful partnership with Kreasense, a leader in branding, and Avance PR, renowned for its expertise in public relations. Together, they aim to redefine brand innovation and digital solutions beyond traditional marketing paradigms.Ayatiworks Technologies is a digital technology company that specializes in crafting impactful digital presences for brands. Known for its insightful planning and strategizing, Ayatiworks helps brands navigate the virtual marketing ecosystem effectively, creating distinctive digital properties that resonate with their target audience.Kreasense is a new-age branding company focused on crafting unique brand identities and narratives. With a blend of creativity and strategic insight, Kreasense helps brands establish a strong presence in today's competitive market landscape.Avance PR is a full-service PR firm with a focus on business communications and influencer connections. Serving a diverse range of clients, including early-stage startups and unicorn companies, Avance PR excels in delivering highly effective campaigns that drive traction and enhance brand reputation through earned media.Upendran Nandakumar, Founder of Ayatiworks Technologies, expressed his excitement about the expansion, stating, "Our new presence in Delhi NCR is more than just an expansion—it's a strategic enhancement designed to tap into the commercial potential of this region. By bringing our top-tier digital marketing strategies here and partnering with Kreasense and Avance, we are set to redefine innovation and efficiency in brand communication."Balasubramanian, founder of Kreasense, expressed enthusiasm about the partnership: "Joining forces with Ayatiworks and Avance PR allows us to blend our creative branding expertise with cutting-edge digital marketing and strategic public relations. This synergy will undoubtedly lead to innovative solutions that will resonate deeply within the marketplace."Ritika Garg, Founder and CEO at Avance PR, also commented on the collaboration: "This alliance is a powerhouse of creativity and strategic acumen. We are thrilled to integrate our PR expertise with Ayatiworks’ digital strategies and Kreasense’s branding prowess to create dynamic, impactful campaigns that drive brand growth and visibility."The strategic alliance between Ayatiworks, Kreasense, and Avance PR is poised to provide unparalleled services in holistic brand development and intellectual property creation. By leveraging their collective expertise in public relations, brand solutions, and marketing techniques, the three companies are committed to delivering innovative solutions that redefine standards in digital marketing and brand strategy.As Ayatiworks begins its operations in Delhi, NCR, the company is enthusiastic about rolling out new initiatives that will demonstrate its enhanced capabilities. These initiatives are anticipated to set new benchmarks in the industry, underscoring the company’s commitment to innovation and customer satisfaction.

The Fourth Angel and Planet Shine launch Planet Angel

The Fourth Angel, a London-based full-service integrated agency, and Planet Shine, a film production agency, have announced the launch of Planet Angel, a new venture designed to empower brands to tell impactful stories about their positive impact on people and the planet.Planet Angel combines The Fourth Angel's expertise in communications and consulting with Planet Shine's filmmaking prowess to offer brands a comprehensive package. Senior sustainability consultants will guide companies through their sustainability journey, while creative teams craft authentic narratives that align commercial goals with a brand's social and environmental vision. Through multi-channel storytelling and strategic reputation management, Planet Angel brings these positive actions to life."There's a lot of good work being done in sustainability, but there's also been a lot of confusion," said Angie Moxham, Founder of The Fourth Angel. "Customers deserve transparency. Planet Angel helps brands articulate an honest narrative and bring their positive journey to life.""Storytelling, especially through film, is the most effective way to connect with audiences," added Rachel McClelland, Founder of Planet Shine. "We have a window of opportunity to create a better world, and brands can be a powerful force for good."The Fourth Angel was founded in 2018 by Angie Moxham as a full-service PR and communications agency.Established by filmmaker Rachel McClelland, Planet Shine brings a wealth of experience creating films for major brands that prioritize the environment and nature.Through strategic guidance, creative storytelling, and multi-channel communication, Planet Angel helps brands connect with audiences who seek to make a difference.

Sunaina Jairath joins Aliaxis India as VP - Brand and Communications

Sunaina Jairath has assumed the position of Vice President - Brand and Communications at Aliaxis India (Ashirvad) with the aim of fortifying our brand presence and advancing strategic objectives. Boasting over 22 years of proficiency in Communication, Public Affairs, Policy Advocacy, and Impact Communication, Sunaina brings a wealth of expertise to our team.In her new capacity, she will spearhead our Public Relations, Brand, and Corporate Communication Strategy, taking charge of media and stakeholder relations, social media management, and internal communications.Leveraging her extensive experience and strategic foresight, Sunaina's leadership will be instrumental as we capitalize on the momentum within the ecosystem to foster growth.

Puneet Gupta Joins INOX Group as Head of Comm for INOXAP and INOXCVA

Puneet Gupta joined the INOX Group as Head of Communications for INOX Air Products (INOXAP) and INOX INDIA LIMITED (INOXCVA). He updated his job role on LinkedIn, saying, "Thrilled to announce my new role at the INOX Group as Head of Communications for INOX Air Products (INOXAP) and INOX INDIA LIMITED (INOXCVA). INOXAP is India’s largest industrial gases manufacturing company, and INOXCVA is among the world’s leading cryogenic solutions companies.""I am excited to leverage my expertise in communications to drive purpose-driven brand growth and share compelling stories about the fascinating products and solutions that are poised to make a difference to mankind," he added.Puneet is an innovation-driven strategic communications expert with rich entrepreneurial experience of 18 years in Corporate Communications, Public Relations, Branding, CSR, and Internal Communications.Prior to joining INOX, Puneet worked with INOX Leisure Limited for over four years as AVP of Corporate Communications. He also handled corporate communication for Airtel and was associated with them for over nine years.

McDonald's 'Grimace's Birthday' wins at PR awards

McDonald's "Grimace's Birthday" campaign, created by Golin, was the star of the North American SABRE Awards, winning the top prize for Best Public Relations Campaign of 2023. This marks a historic night for Golin, becoming the first agency ever to snag three major awards: Best Agency to Work For, Large Agency of the Year, and Best in Show.The award-winning campaign addressed a significant drop in birthday celebrations at McDonald's. They brought back a beloved character, Grimace, to reignite excitement. This clever strategy resulted in a staggering 900% increase in birthday celebrations at McDonald's after five years of stagnation."This campaign was pure, fantastic consumer marketing," said Paul Holmes, head judge and founder of PRovoke Media. Awards often favor purpose-driven initiatives, but sometimes, great PR boils down to a creative idea that captures consumer imagination and fosters meaningful engagement."And the results in this case were nothing short of phenomenal," he concluded."Grimace's Birthday" triumphed over other impressive campaigns to win the coveted Platinum SABRE. These finalists included:  Dove's "Black Hair is Professional" with Ogilvy  SAG-AFTRA's "2023 Negotiations and Strike Campaign" with SAG-AFTRA  DHL Supply Chain's "Step Up for Safety" with Fahlgren Mortine  Aura Freedom's "For Her" Campaign with Veritas Communications and Forsman & Bodenfors"These finalists represent the incredible range of PR work seen this year," said Holmes. "From social justice efforts by Dove to navigating the Hollywood strike for SAG-AFTRA, to internal communications for DHL, any of these campaigns could have rightfully won the top prize."Ogilvy walked away as the biggest award winner, taking home eight trophies. MSL and Weber Shandwick followed with five awards each, while BCW snagged four. Finn Partners, Golin, and M Booth rounded out the top with three awards apiece.

MassiveMusic Dubai appoints Rebecomms for Middle East PR services

MassiveMusic, the sonic identity and music agency in the Middle East, has appointed Dubai-based Rebecomms for regional PR and media relations services. The move is part of MassiveMusic Dubai’s drive to enhance industry standards, apply best practice and showcase how more and more brands in the region are using the power of music and sound as an integral element of their marketing and branding strategies.MassiveMusic, part of the global Songtradr group, launched its Middle East operation in 2022 and has gone from strength to strength ever since, helping a scores of global and local companies boost their regional exposure through tailor made sonic creativity. With its regional HQ in Dubai and Managing Director, Pierre Carnet, at the helm, MassiveMusic serves clients in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and beyond. Under the new partnership, Rebecomms will drive exposure for MassiveMusic through targeted media relations, participation at key industry events and community outreach initiatives. Rebecomms was founded in 2022 by seasoned PR and communications professional Rebecca Rees (pictured), who has over 30 years’ industry experience, including 18 years in the Middle East.

1 Crowd Onboards Pitchfork Partners as its Communications Partner

1Crowd, an early-stage sector-agnostic VC fund investing and actively supporting early-stage ventures, has announced its partnership with Pitchfork Partners, a leading PR agency renowned for its strategic communication expertise. 1Crowd joins forces with Pitchfork Partners to enhance its brand visibility, effectively communicate the company’s vision, and highlight the success stories within its diverse portfolio of start-ups. Leveraging Pitchfork Partners' proficiency in crafting compelling narratives and communication strategies, 1Crowd further solidifies its mission to amplify its impact and outreach. Sharing his views on the appointment, Jaideep Shergill, Co-founder, Pitchfork Partners, said, “India’s startup ecosystem is among the most revered globally, having shifted drastically in the last decade, creating more unicorns than ever. To keep the momentum going, venture capital funds like 1Crowd are instrumental in propelling the growth of promising startups in India through funding support and mentorship. We believe that our wealth of experience in financial services communications will enable us to foster meaningful discussions across various platforms.” Anup Kuruvilla, Co-founder, 1Crowd, said, "We are delighted to announce our partnership with Pitchfork Partners as our communications counsel. Together, we aim to strengthen our outreach, championing founders and their ventures, as they seek to build their dreams, while creating opportunities in a growing asset class for our community of limited partners. We are committed to nurturing and empowering these ventures, and this partnership marks a significant step forward in our mission to fuel the growth and success of startups across the nation." Anil Gudibande, Co-Founder, 1Crowd, speaking about the onboarding, shared, “We are excited to kickstart our journey with Pitchfork Partners. Through this partnership, we aim to broaden our reach in the ecosystem as we continue to create value by providing risk capital in the early stages of a startup’s evolution, working closely with our limited partners and founders in building lasting organizations. With Pitchfork Partners by our side, we are deepening our impact and amplifying the stories of ingenuity, grit, resilience, and success that define the entrepreneurial spirit.”

Redhill celebrates 10th anniversary with ESOP

Redhill, a Singapore-headquartered communication services agency, is celebrating its 10th anniversary with the launch of a new Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP). This programme prioritizes employee engagement and invests in their long-term success.The ESOP, effective May 1, 2024, grants stock ownership to all current employees with at least three years of service. This initiative reflects Redhill's commitment to empowering its team and fostering a sense of shared ownership. "As we celebrate this milestone, rewarding our employees who have been on this journey with us is a top priority," said Manisha Seewal, Redhill's president. With over 200 team members across 20 countries, Redhill's international presence is a testament to its remarkable growth. The ESOP program reinforces their position as a global leader in communications and signifies their belief in the power of a collaborative workforce. Seewal said that the ESOP plan is a strategic move to attract and retain top talent, solidifying Redhill's position as a truly global communications agency.This employee-centric move comes on the heels of Redhill's acquisition of Vision Strategy Storytelling (VS Story) in 2022. VS Story strengthens Redhill's sustainability offerings, allowing them to meet the evolving needs of their clients.Redhill provides PR, strategy, design, technology, and marketing services to companies across the world.

Carma names Tim Webb as CEO for Europe, Americas

Carma, a global leader in communication insights and technology, has named Tim Webb as its new CEO for Europe and the Americas. Webb takes the reins from Richard Bagnall, who steps down after nearly six years of service.Webb brings extensive experience to Carma, having spent nine years with Time Out Group, most recently leading their Asia-Pacific operations and global franchising. He also boasts a strong background in publishing, digital, and technology from his time at Dennis Publishing and Incisive Media.Beyond leading the European and American sectors, Webb will become a key member of Carma's executive committee, shaping the company's global long-term growth strategy.Bagnall, previously chair of AMEC, a measurement and evaluation body for PR and communications, joined Carma in 2018. During his tenure, he successfully reshaped the company's presence in the UK, Europe, and the Americas. Bagnall said that he will still be very active in the sector helping comms pros handle the greatest challenge that they face these days: how to demonstrate the value of their work rather than just showcasing activity. "The need for PR to demonstrate its impact and value in terms that the C-suite understands has never been greater. More from me on this in due course,” he added. Excited about Tim's appointment, Carma global CEO Mazen Nahawi said: “His extensive experience and entrepreneurial mindset will help lead the opening of new offices across Europe and America and accelerate the fast-growing demand for products and services in those markets.”

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.

London Pride enlists The Academy for Premiership Rugby push

London Pride, the iconic English beer brewed by Asahi Group subsidiary Fuller's, has tapped The Academy to amplify its sponsorship of Premiership Rugby.The agency will create an earned media campaign centered around the brand's "Support with Pride" platform, culminating during Premiership Rugby's finals weekend in June.Andy Box, Local Brands Director for Asahi Group UK, said: “Fuller’s London Pride has a long standing association with English rugby and the Premiership Rugby Final is one of the most important moments in the calendar. It’s a big opportunity for us to celebrate the game and connect with the fans and The Academy were the perfect partner to help us do this.”Mitch Kaye, CEO and co-founder of The Academy, echoed this sentiment. "2024 is a massive year for sport, which was part of our motivation to launch a dedicated sports offering at The Academy. This is a big win and an opportunity to help a brilliant brand make the most of their opportunity within elite rugby.”This appointment follows The Academy's recent expansion into sports and entertainment, with a new head of sport, Sam Beecham, leading the London Pride account. Notably, the agency also secured the UK PR account for Tinder.