A good leader needs to be a great follower: Aniruddha Bhagwat, Ideosphere Consulting
Bhagwat, on being in the ‘e4m PR and Corporate Communications 40 under 40’ list, says adaptability is the biggest skill every professional, across any domain, needs
Aniruddha Atul Bhagwat, Chief Executive Officer & Co-Founder, Ideosphere Consulting, was among the 40 people shortlisted under the second batch of the ‘e4m PR & Corporate Communications 40 under 40’ list. The entrepreneur comes with a strong background in the public relations and communication industry and has worked across domains.
In the third episode of e4m Next Gen Series, we talk to Aniruddha on his thoughts on being in the elite list, trends that shaped up the industry, innovations to come, and more.
How do you feel being a part of the elite list?
After completing a decade of work in this industry, it is great to find my name on this list amongst some great young communication professionals. One of my professional goals has always been focused on doing some great work, helping brands navigate business challenges, and influencing the industry in my own small way, and this list is a small indicator of being aligned to this career path. There is a long way to go, but to be mentioned along with the other professionals on this list is, indeed, a fabulous and humbling feeling.
What are the key skills required in the prevailing market?
Adaptability is the biggest skill every professional across any domain needs to inculcate in the current post-pandemic environment. We are living in a truly uncertain environment, and professionals, who can quickly problem-solve in any given situation, will be the ones to succeed. In a time of remote working, collaboration is another integral skill we must all have, and while it becomes difficult in omni-present environments, the worst thing one could do is become silo-based in terms of attitude and delivery.
Lastly, for us to make the right decisions, adapt and collaborate, it is integral that we work on our emotional quotient on a daily basis. Staying mentally aware and in control is a challenge in volatile environments, and this is a skill that requires a lot of effort, discipline and focus.
What are the qualities that a leader should possess?
Firstly, a good leader needs to be a great follower. Setting a clear vision and ensuring the buy in of every member of the team is important to ensure a company is on the same page, and the purpose of its existence is well known to all.
A leader must also showcase transparency and fairness in everything they do. Leaders must understand that teams allow them to lead; it is a privilege given. Even a small instance of broken trust can dissolve the foundation of leadership, and therefore, maintain trust and transparency is something leaders must work on every day. It is important to note that leadership has little to do with the designation, and everything to do with purpose.
What trends have you witnessed in the past 10 months in the PR and corpcomm domain?
Even prior to the pandemic, we were already seeing communication play a core role at the business level of enterprises, and the pandemic has further accelerated this. The expanse of communications covering internal messaging, culture, and relationship building with all stakeholders has become increasingly important in the post-pandemic world, and it will only continue to grow in this regard.
Customers are now focused on how communication can add to their business or help them solve enterprise-level challenges. The measurability of communication is slowly moving beyond only brand outcomes, but also, how the business outcomes can be derived from communication frameworks. Lastly, in a remote work scenario, communication consultancies have started to innovate to drive engagement virtually and embrace technology, not only at a periphery level but at a core level, where automation, analytics and data-led predictability will be a major proponent of the future-ready communication consultancy.
These are great trends for the industry, and often in adversity, the most impactful paradigm shifts often take place. This is happening today to us, and it is great to be part of it.
How technologically ready and skilled are the PR and Corp Comm professionals to move to the next level of digitization?
Using technology and understanding technology are two different skill sets. Communication professionals over the last decade have embraced the usage of technology, but there is a gap in the understanding of technology and how it can disrupt our own businesses. Continuous, and cross skilling of teams is important, and recently, we have seen strides being taken by firms to ensure a stronger focus on learning and development.
According to you, what innovations will reshape the PR and corp comm industry?
The innovations of the industry will mimic the digital transformation of other service-focused industries. Manual workflows of our industry will slowly start to become automated, and having core delivery engines across each phase of communications delivery whether it is requirement, planning, content, delivery, or measurement will be embraced across the industry.
The other aspect is data curation and learning. Communication enterprises will start building mechanisms to build data lakes to curate past experiences with an intent to predict future messaging and communications decisions. As the industry digitizes with automated workflows in delivery, the next generation of communication professionals will be required to be thinkers and problem solvers rather than only execution-led resources, as this will be largely transformed through technology.
How will this recognition by e4m add value to your profile and the communications industry at large?
It gives a validation of the work we have been doing, and a small indication that we are on the right track. It will also help in creating a community of like-minded professionals with whom we can connect or learn from.
What are your future plans?
Our future plans at Ideosphere will continue to drive business-outcome based communication frameworks for our customers. We have built proprietary models of how communications can impact business challenges and help companies navigate uncertain complex environments.
As the expanse of communication grows at a business level, more and more customers will require single-window solutions for their brands, and collaborating with verified partners will be important. We have spent the last 18 months building a strong, ranking-based partner ecosystem and platform. Today, the ecosystem already has more than 75 partners, and we look to grow across design, content, and execution.
Lastly, we are focused on building a technology first platform to ensure consistency and automate redundant tasks for our team. This will allow us to focus on innovation and problem solving for our customers. We look to introduce technology product suites into the market, which will help accelerate and increase the quality of communication delivery for future communication teams, as the next stage of our vision.
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