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.

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.”

Pitchfork Partners engaged by Ram Madhvani Films, Equinox Films, Equinox Virtual

Ram Madhvani Films, a renowned production house known for its award-winning works like Neerja and Aarya in Hindi cinema and the OTT space, has appointed Pitchfork Partners Strategic Consulting, a leading Mumbai-based agency specializing in strategic communications, as its communication partner. Pitchfork Partners' mandate also includes Equinox Films, the award-winning ad-production house known for iconic ads such as Humara Bajaj anthem and Happydent White along with Equinox Virtual, their gaming vertical.With this collaboration, Pitchfork Partners will lead corporate communications efforts for the three verticals, focusing on enhancing brand awareness and market engagement. Their proven track record of successful partnerships with diverse clients positions them as a valuable ally in Equinox Films, Ram Madhvani Films and Equinox Virtual’s journey towards expanding their footprint in the media and entertainment, advertising and gaming industry.Expressing his optimism, Ram Madhvani, award winning filmmaker, visionary producer and Founder of Equinox Films, Equinox Virtual and Ram Madhvani Films, stated, "We are delighted to welcome Pitchfork Partners on board as our strategic communications partner. Their tactical insights and industry know-how will play a crucial role in amplifying our brand narrative and fostering greater engagement with our audiences. We look forward to collaborating with them to achieve our communication objectives."Amita Madhvani Co-producer, Ram Madhvani Films, Equinox Films and Equinox Virtual, says, "Ram Madhvani films, Equinox Films & Equinox Virtual represents the forefront of our creative vision, pushing the boundaries of storytelling through immersive experiences. Furthermore, we are committed to harnessing cutting-edge technologies to transport audiences into captivating virtual worlds. Our partnership with Pitchfork Partners signifies our dedication to sharing these innovative narratives with the world. Together, we look forward to shaping the future of entertainment and inspiring the Indian audiences."Commenting on the partnership, Jaideep Shergill, Co-Founder,Pitchfork Partners, remarked, "Ram Madhvani Films and Equinox Films have carved a niche for themselves in the media and entertainment and advertising industry, and we are honoured to be entrusted with the responsibility of enhancing their communication efforts. Through strategic messaging and targeted outreach, we aim to amplify their brand impact and reach new heights of success in the ever-evolving entertainment landscape."This collaboration between Pitchfork Partners and the three ventures helmed by Ram Madhvani marks a significant step towards reinforcing their position as leaders in Indian cinema, the advertising landscape, and the rapidly growing realm of gaming.

Civic Studios appoints Pitchfork Partners as its strategic comm partner

Civic Studios, a global media company, has appointed Pitchfork Partners Strategic Consulting – a Mumbai-based firm with operations across India – as its new communication partner. With this appointment, Pitchfork Partners will spearhead corporate communications for Civic Studios to build and elevate awareness for the company. Pitchfork Partners, a consultancy reputed for its strategic brilliance, boasts a proven track record of successful collaborations with diverse clients. They will draw upon their experience and innovation to craft powerful messaging, execute impactful campaigns, and manage strategic media relations to further augment Civic Studios' reputation as a leader in socially conscious storytelling designed to make an impact.Expressing her enthusiasm for the association, Roohi Bhatia, Director Strategy & Operations, Civic Studios, said, “We are thrilled to have Pitchfork Partners on board as our communications partner. Their experience and capabilities will be instrumental in helping us achieve our communication goals. We look forward to working with them and crafting a compelling brand narrative in India.”Civic Studios, known for its impactful storytelling like 'Schirkoa: In Lies We Trust’ (NETPAC Award winner at International Film Festival of Rotterdam 2024, with guest voice cast such as Karan Johar, Shekhar Kapur, Anurag Kashyap), ‘Vakeel Babu’ and ‘Ye Saali Naukri’, believe in creating authentic stories of change, hope and pride, across formats of film, web series, and short-form digital content. Its upcoming India and international releases include Little Thomas, (feature film starring Rasika Dugal and Gulshan Devaiah), Family Aaj Kal (upcoming web series on Sony Liv featuring actor-influencer Apoorva Arora), and over fifteen projects in development with talents such Gurinder Chadha (Bend It Like Beckham, Bride & Prejudice, Blinded By The Light), and Pan Nalin (Last Film Show - official Indian entry to the Oscars 2023, Samsaara, Angry Indian Goddesses). They also collaborate with reputed non profit and community-based initiatives to facilitate impact campaigns on ground, and conduct evaluations to measure impact with the intended audience. The aim of Civic Studios is to create a global community of creators who want to tell stories that entertain, engage, and empower. Sharing his views on the appointment, Jaideep Shergill, Co-Founder, Pitchfork Partners, said, “Civic Studios is at the forefront of content production, and we are honoured to be their partner of choice for building the India narrative. We believe that our skills and domain expertise will significantly help in crafting strategic communications that will strengthen Civic Studios’ reputation and brand awareness.”The collaboration with Pitchfork Partners promises to elevate Civic Studios' impact, empowering them to reach greater heights and inspire audiences globally through captivating stories.

Tapping Regional PR Strength: Strategic Integration over Numbers Game

As regional public relations (PR) continues to expand its influence, it brings a distinct set of strategies to the table, tailored to the nuances and preferences of local audiences. These strategies often leverage deep understanding of regional cultures, languages, and media landscapes, allowing for more targeted and impactful communication. By tapping into grassroots networks, local influencers, and community events, regional PR fosters authentic connections and builds trust within specific geographic areas, offering a personalised approach that resonates with diverse audiences.With over 100 languages, India’s diversity offers a huge potential for regional content. Couple this with the increase in literacy rate – which stands at 77.7% in 2023, an increase of 5% as compared to the 2011 census – and it is not surprising that regional media has been on a steady growth trajectory. In fact, the top two newspapers in the country in terms of circulation are Dainik Bhaskar and Malayala Manorama, both non-English publications.“People across the country prefer consuming news in their native language and to effectively communicate with such a diverse audience, we need to be proficient in regional languages – either by building expertise in-house or collaborating with regional language specialists,” pointed out Jaideep Shergill, Co-Founder, Pitchfork Partners.To leverage the reach of regional media, the approach by the PR industry needs to change. Shergill noted, “We tend to develop initial drafts and content in English, with subsequent translation into various regional languages. Things do get lost in translation, bringing inevitable gaps. Addressing this challenge requires a nuanced comprehension of the target audience and effective collaboration with vendors and associates who specialise in regional languages. For instance, a media interaction can have someone from the PR organisation who speaks the local language, thus reducing the possibility of ambiguity or miscommunication.”Other impactful measures can include building a strong regional presence, incorporation of the relevant Indian languages in PR communication, and strategies driven by the preferences and cultural values of specific regions to build meaningful and long-term connections with local audiences.Ameer Ismail, President, Lintas Live, MullenLowe Lintas Group, too, believes in the immense potential of regional PR in the ever evolving landscape of India. He observed, “Dramatically increased smartphone penetration is changing the way people in small towns and rural India consume information. The strength of regional language media and social media has brought about a huge cultural shift in consumer behaviour, especially amongst the youth of our country. Brands have realised the importance of capturing the attention of regional and rural audiences.”Ismail further said, “Our strategy for regional PR seamlessly integrates a profound understanding of local cultures, languages, media landscapes, social media trends and usage of data with the flexibility to adapt to evolving dynamics. We prioritise fostering an appreciation for local nuances, enabling us to craft authentic and impactful storytelling that deeply resonates with diverse audiences. Across our brand portfolio – from The Leela, Porsche to Paree – we have integrated regional PR into the overall media canvas seamlessly.”Elaborating on their work with SOCIAL, Ismail said that it is where teams implement tailored strategies to connect with varied regional audiences across India through hyperlocal community engagement initiatives like engaging with local artists through workshops, collaborating with local businesses and communities through initiatives like pop-up stalls, displays, etc., to garner more visibility. “Through regional PR, SOCIAL effectively communicates its brand message, values, and offerings that build brand awareness,” he added.Pooja Chaudhri, Executive Director, Concept PR, too, believes that regional PR is growing at a fair clip. “As communication experts, we advise our clients to use the best possible tools to get their message across to their customers. With increasing growth in non-metros, regional languages play a crucial role. We must ensure that PR communication strategies are customised according to the regional customers and should not be an adaptation of a broader national one. I think, we live in a time when communication must be designed bespoke. With the rapid response that any communication evokes these days, the obsolescence of messaging is a genuine hurdle that needs to be crossed regularly,” she said.Valerie Pinto, CEO, Weber Shandwick India, noted that the emergence of regional PR marks a dynamic shift in how brands engage with audiences, presenting distinctive strategies in contrast to traditional national approaches. At the core of regional PR lies a deep understanding of culture, local dialects, traditions, and cultural sensitivities, ensuring that messages resonate authentically. It is about adapting messaging, imagery, and campaigns to harmonise with local preferences and humour, ultimately enhancing brand relevance on a personal level.“But beyond just tailoring content, regional PR places a strong emphasis on community engagement. By comprehending local event landscapes and grassroots initiatives, brands can authentically participate and contribute, fostering goodwill within the community. In the realm of regional PR, it is not just about reaching an audience; it is about becoming an integral part of the community tapestry, creating connections that go beyond marketing strategies,” Pinto added.“Regional PR has always been a great way to take the message down to the grassroots,” said Tarunjeet Rattan, Managing Partner, Nucleus PR. At the same time, she observed, “However, there has been an interesting trend evolving, where the evolution of regional media and audiences has turned the tables on Metro PR. Now, when you look at integrating Regional PR into your overall plans you have to leverage it more strategically with good story pegs, rather than using it to boost your coverage docket. This signifies an overall move towards strategic integration rather than playing in the numbers game.”

PR is revisiting storytelling narratives to create authenticity for consumers

In an era dominated by digital landscapes and evolving consumer expectations, the Public Relations industry finds itself at a pivotal juncture. With authenticity emerging as a cornerstone of brand-consumer relationships, the art of storytelling takes center stage. As the narrative landscape evolves, PR professionals are compelled to revisit traditional approaches. In this ever-changing landscape, the quest for authenticity becomes paramount, urging the industry to redefine its storytelling paradigms to forge deeper connections and foster genuine engagement in the digital age.Adgully reached out to some leading PR leaders to understand how they are revisiting storytelling narratives to create authenticity for the new age consumers.Jaideep Shergill, Co-Founder, Pitchfork Partners, noted, “In an age marked by abundance of information, where brands vie for attention amidst a cacophony of content, it has become imperative for the PR industry to leverage our storytelling expertise towards promoting more honest and authentic narratives. This strategic shift is even more relevant today as new-age consumers seek truth, rather than polished narratives. Any communicator in the 21st Century who caters to the younger demographic should have a detailed understanding of their audience’s thought process. They are the "King," as Marketing 101 reminds us, and our messaging needs to reflect their values and concerns; everything else will follow.”“This discerning generation is cognizant of the products and services that they use, with an inclination of avoiding products sourced unethically or manufactured through unfair labour practices. They have an ability to sift through volumes of content and select the most authentic narrative in the media that best reflects their preferences. In such a scenario, content becomes more than mere information; we as communicators must move beyond manufactured perfection and embrace real storytelling, flaws and all. Identifying a brand's unique story, prioritising transparency, showcasing positive impact, and utilising real consumer stories can be effective steps. Overall, communication should be rooted in values of the brand, and it should reflect in the narrative,” he further elaborated.Pooja Chaudhri, Executive Director, Concept PR, believes that storytelling is a potent tool to communicate something. She said, “We have grown up listening to stories and being inspired by them, even if they are untrue. For example, one story often told to emphasise that change needs to be gradual is that of a frog in a vessel that gets boiled when heat is increased slowly. We all take it as accurate, even though experiments have repeatedly shown that a frog jumps out of the vessel when the heat becomes uncomfortable, even if it increases gradually. I believe storytelling is more sequential, but adding the essence of narrative can considerably improve the impact. A narrative allows one to share different points of view, and highlight the core message. I believe that if adequately done, narrative storytelling can be a powerful tool to create authenticity for new-age consumers.”“The traditional storytelling methods of the PR industry often miss the mark with today’s consumers, who yearn for authenticity and genuine connections,” remarked Valerie Pinto, CEO, Weber Shandwick India. According to her, “To truly connect with this new-age audience, it is crucial to humanise your brand. Share behind-the-scenes glimpses and engage in authentic interactions. In the era of two-way communication, brands can no longer shy away; instead, they should embrace it. Encouraging user-generated content that mirrors diverse perspectives and experiences is essential. By involving consumers in the storytelling process, we not only build connections, but also cultivate a sense of shared ownership. After all, the heart of a brand lies in the stories it tells and the community it builds.”For Geetu Batra, PR & Communications Lead, Cheil India, the new-age consumer is Gen Z, which has just entered the workforce and, in a few years, may become the dominant consumer segment. It is important to create bespoke content that is tailored to their tastes and preferences. She noted that it is the first generation to be born into the age of social media and has a form for ever-shortening attention spans. So, narratives that lend themselves to short-format content like videos and reels will pass muster. The content needs to be visually appealing so that it doesn’t get passed over for another high-decibel video.“They are not avid platform loyalists, so do not hesitate to experiment with formats like videos, articles, and podcasts while crafting the narrative. There is no easy answer, but it pays to remember that authenticity is the byword for this generation, and sticking true to the values that we espouse is paramount at the end of the day,” Batra advised.