With over 20 years of experience across PR and Communications, Pooja Chaudhri is the Executive Director at Concept PR and our next feature in the PR Women Entrepreneurs series on Medianews4u.
Chaudhri has worked across the Indian and UK markets. Her in-depth and astute understanding of strategic and outcome oriented processes gives her an edge in recognising market and business trends. At Concept, she heads the sports, lifestyle and entertainment business.
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?
It is no secret that Covid-19 has all but demolished plans, strategies and visions for growth that industry had envisioned for them. News reporting structures, edit calendars and diktats have changed, journalist mandates have transformed and the focus of news has taken a turn that will, forever, define the news reporting and consumption going forward. With a focus on revenue and sustenance, media houses have now come to depend on more than just advertising and space revenue and have included the advertorial/paid route for editorial as well. Now, this is slowly becoming an integral part of communication, corporate or otherwise.
A strategic approach to the overall brand and organisational communication for clients would need the coming together of Public Relation, digital and media to craft a plan that has specific outcomes that will be addressed by various forms of output and media. This would also fit into the revised business models and editorial plan of action of various media houses and be a win-win for all concerned.
Preferring to see the glass half-full, these multiple permutations and combinations could very well be the panacea that would ensure an uptick or even just a reversal of fortunes in the immediate future that could augur well for all.
What will be the objective of the communication/marketing strategy?
As outlined earlier it is imperative that client brand equity and relevance is maintained given the severe impact of the pandemic. All interface with customers and consumers has moved from the physical to the phygital over these past 6 months. Given these changes, the objectives of the strategy would clearly be to stay relevant, connect as much as possible with customers and retain utility and saliency. Hygiene, safety, security have also become key words in play today and all customers are looking for these from the brands that they interface with. Furthermore, with the economic impact being as debilitating as it has, brands need to be empathetic towards their consumers/ customers and temper their offerings accordingly.
How did you keep the morale of the employees during this lockdown period? On a personal note, what is keeping you positive?
One of the foremost approaches is where employee concerns and trepidations are addressed directly and given assurances on several matters at a direct Townhall or Video Call. The Chairman, Director or CEO’s words and statements can have a major impact on the minds of the employees; with their actions they can assure the safety of employees and help them cope emotionally in the difficult times.
Enhancing existing skill sets and encouraging employees to upgrade themselves is another motivator and helps in the retention of good human capital.
While work is all taken care of, another aspect that could get left out is the fun and engagement that otherwise is a given while organizations are working normally. At Concept PR, we have regular contests and quizzes for employees using technology that give employees a continued sense of camaraderie, team spirit and belonging which helps immensely in these times of WFH. We’ve connected as a more cohesive team nationally, notwithstanding the remote working!
What are some of the post-lockdown business strategies that you will use to win new clients?
The lockdown has taught us new ways to work. It has established the use of technology in ways that we could not imagine. These are insights which we will continue to live and work with going forward. However, strategies to win clients remain the same, regardless. It is about identifying an opportunity, knowing their needs, and delivering the solutions that help them grow their business.
What is that one special mantra you want to give to the millennials joining the PR Profession?
Whatever your interest levels, one needs to be aware of their surroundings, the industry they operate in, the city/state/country they live in and the world that they consume. There is no substitute for knowledge. Knowledge is power!
Post-Covid what would be your advice to your clients on ways to do effective communication?
The importance of communication now more than ever is to keep it simple. That’s when it is most effective.