The new normal in a world where Covid-19 unfortunately is becoming a part of our life, it will bring about many changes in the way businesses will be conducted, and more importantly the way we live our life. The recent outbreak of the COVID –19 is also seeing a tectonic shift in most people’s lives.
We decided to speak to Women Entrepreneurs in the PR business. Their plans and strategies to their clients during this period of crisis as businesses and brands are limping back to the new normal. How they are going about planning their communication plans for a new world post the covid-19 lockdown, keeping a note of some of the new buzz words such as ‘social distancing’, ‘work from home’ and the latest one; ‘atmanirbhar’
Today we speak to, Komal Lath, Founder – Tute Consult, an integrated communications agency headquartered out of Mumbai. She has 17+ years of experience in communications under her belt, and has worked with many reputed international brands, celebrities and an array of established brands across MNC’s and domestic markets.
She is a voracious reader, this magnetic maven of the house talks and walks her work with the energy straight from the sun! Under her expertise and dynamism, Tute has evolved and grown beyond traditional methods of public relations to a mar-com solutions house.
As a Women Entrepreneur in the business of PR how are you coping with the impact of Covid-19 and what are the strategies you are building for your clients?
Every industry around the world has been a target of the novel virus and due to this almost all sectors and industries have taken a hit in some or the other form. Likewise, the marketing and PR industry has also witnessed a downfall in the past few months but we see it slowly starting to gather back up. It is like a domino effect which has impacted directly or indirectly. PR however is intrinsic to every industry and especially at this time, we take the role and onus of consultants and help clients navigate their unified messaging and help tide fears and other complex internal and external communications that tend to go haywire. We are helping clients build more digital strategies as that is the way forward and ensuring the content is not insensitive towards the global situation of Covid 19. Our strategies are more focused towards generating awareness for the brand and creating conversation so that when the lockdown gets lifted, it leads to eventual sales.
What will be the objective of the communication/marketing strategy?
The objective of the communication and marketing strategy at such times is to ensure the consumers feel safe, secure and thought about. Guaranteeing safety measures, abiding by hygiene standards, etc. have become crucial to communicate with the audience via various communication tools. Also, the main objective is to make sure that the brand is top of mind to potential consumer but also not seeming desperate.
How did you keep the morale of the employees during this lockdown period? On a personal note, what is keeping you positive?
We have a lean and close-knit team that engages with each other daily either via video call session or basic phone calls. We have been undertaking small team building tasks and activities together to make sure everyone is doing okay and on the same page. Informal zoom session to learn a new skill or games night is something the team always looks forward to! I personally keep myself motivated and positive by thinking about the better times and near future when situations will be easier and fat calmer. Yoga and Zumba fitness sessions definitely help me calm myself too and clear my head. And I think it is very important for us leaders to be calm, positive and motivating so that it resonates with the employees as well!
What are some of the post-lockdown business strategies that you will use to bring your business back on track?
I do not personally think any ‘business strategy’ is going to be successful to bring business back on track but of course everyone will undertake certain measures and processes to ensure things are smoother. Apart from government intervention, I think we are going to go more aggressive towards new business development. We are also gunning for changing the perception of Tute from only PR to a more holistic approach of marketing communications in order to be able to reach out to more and more potential clients and the suggestions and advice falls under marcom so stop bracketing ourselves as PR only.
What is the strategy for Tute to stay ahead of the curve?
Adapting to new media and new work cultures is one of the thing that will help us be at par if not ahead of the curve. We as a team are also undertaking online courses and classes to learning new skills and since the team is comprised mostly of millennials, it’s easier to adapt and learn-unlearn things. This will ensure we are in the race to win! Our mission (as we also complete 10 years) is to lead the curve and not be in a race but walk towards business goals for us and our clients.
What is that one special mantra you want to give to the millennials joining the PR Profession?
Be patient. Invest time in reading, building written and verbal communication skills and stay on top of everything in detail and not only skimming through. My pet peeve with a lot of youngsters is lack of focus and they get distracted very easily. That is something I would advise against!
Post-Covid what would be your advice to your clients on ways to do effective communication?
I do not think there is going to be a post-Covid, it is going to be a life of living in existence with it now. However, we would want for all our clients to have effective communications and strategies to ensure the right messaging goes out and consumers are aware about what is happening with them. We would advise the following:
- Please stop thinking of PR as a magic tool to generate free coverage. We can advise on Paid, owned and Earned with equal dexterity
- We would also request the clients to trust us and our strategies so that together we can move onto bigger mountains!
- Need to up the respect for the profession beyond press clippings and value the webinar or LinkedIn Advisory we write and provide as it should not be considered “free”.