Corporate Communication is a CEO’s lookout today: Tuhina Pandey, Tech Mahindra

In an interview with exchange4media, Pandey spoke about the rise of Corp Comm approach and trends that will shape the domain in the next few years

e4m by Ruhail Amin
Updated: Dec 27, 2018 8:38 AM

As Global Head of Corporate Communications at Tech Mahindra, Tuhina Pandey is solely responsible for projecting the tech giant in the right light across geographies and time zones, and sometimes even fire-fighting issues. 

As someone who has been on the media side and crossed over to corporate communication, managing brand communication comes as a natural flair. 

In an interview with exchange4media, Pandey spoke about the rise of the new Corp. Comm. approach and some defining trends that will shape the domain in the next few years. 

Excerpts of the interview:

What kinds of shifts do you see in the current practice of corporate communication if we compare it to its traditional approach?

If you look at the supply side of what constitutes Corp Comm, there was a time when you would have agencies and resources on an hourly basis. Now, the conversations have changed. It is more outcome-driven and more strategic than before.  

Corporate Communication is a CEO’s lookout today. It isn’t about how much coverage we get in the media anymore, it’s about how you are being perceived. The fact is that credible content creation has landed at the corporate communications door and the role has become more holistic than before.  

Has the proliferation of communication platforms given rise to situations where unpredictable challenges may land at the Corp Comm desk more often than before? 

Yes, you never know what will come your way, and the crisis sometimes can be real, sometimes manufactured and sometimes just a simple Tweet which has a huge potential to erode the brand. So, the most important thing today is how you act in real time. 

Also, gone are the days when you could sit down and strategize that tomorrow I will issue a statement and this is what we will do. Today, when you are in the Twitterati, I think your ability to be agile becomes all the more important.

Coming to the use of technology in Corporate Communication, tell us how mature is the use of AI and Big data in the domain?

I would say, not very matured.  Certainly, if you look at what is happening in the marketplace, a lot of data-driven insights are already there, and it is a scientific approach of doing things. 

If you look at automation, whether it is campaign management, interaction, database management (in our case) or recommending the right content, all that is very scientific and there are platforms, tools etc., which we have to create which the industry could use to its benefit. 

Tell us about some of the biggest challenges facing today’s Corp Comm practitioners? 

First is the fact that there is no time for strategy. You are absolutely inundated. The biggest challenge is to find the bandwidth of time to focus on strategy and not miss the wood for the trees. 

I also feel there is a talent crunch and we don’t have people who are trained enough. We need more cross-functional folks coming to address this talent crunch. 

In your view, what will be some of the defining trends that will shape the future of Corp Comm?

I think integrated communication is the operational word and there is nothing external or internal anymore. There is nothing called-I will only do policy or I will only do public affairs, media or stakeholder management. There are no silos.
For example, a lot of traditional PR will scoff at traditional media and there are a lot of digital warriors who will scoff at the traditional approach. But it is not about us, it’s about the audience, and the audience doesn’t look at you as silos, they look at you as one entity. I think integrated communication in a true sense will unfold where corporate communication will become a hub and all stakeholders can use it as a service. 

The second piece that I see is a lot of technology kicking in, which is AI, automation, analytics, and they will not remain just buzz words. People will figure out a way of using all of that. And as I said, I see cross-functional folks coming to Corp Comm and the domain will become a lot more hybrid and multi-dimensional than before. 

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