Agility, teamwork & clear communication are the keys to success: Udit Pathak

As Media Mantra turns 9 today, Founder-Director Pathak shares that the firm is in the process to devise a media management tech platform in an attempt to pioneer digital adoption in the industry

e4m by Nafisa Shaheen
Published: Aug 26, 2021 5:15 PM  | 8 min read
Udit Pathak

Media Mantra, an Independent India Based PR and Communication Firm completes nine years today. Established in 2012, the organisation has remarkably grown over the years through client and journalist referrals to emerge today as one of the top PR agencies in India. With a 70% client retention rate, the organisation entails a prodigious clientele list, a passionate and experienced team, and a brilliant company trajectory. Currently, the public relations firm represents a wide variety of brands ranging from start-ups, education, BFSI sector, health, and corporate giants.

The firm believes in being boutique and nimble in its approach, which is highly process-driven. The agency ranks in the top 10 PR agencies of India with having more than 70 employees. Being the 2nd fastest growing public relations agency in Asia, it has a growth rate of 45% year on year.

Agency's inventive PR-centric strategies have helped various clients including industry veterans to touch new milestones at a fair pace. Alongside, agency's esteemed proficiency in accelerating start-up visibility today, it has well positioned itself as a must-go-place for startups.

Exchange4media spoke with Udit Pathak, Founder-Director, Media Mantra, as he let us in on their nine-year journey, lessons learned, future plans,' and more.

Edited Excerpts:-

How has the nine years' journey been? What were the key lessons learned along the way?

When we started Media Mantra in 2012, taking the leap from a corporate job in the PR industry to starting our own venture was indeed risky and challenging! But having a successful run makes me believe that my inner soul guided me on the right path. 

Entrepreneurship was not going to be easy and I was well aware of it. But I was also determined to keep moving forward and I constantly pushed myself to step out of my comfort zone. I have to say having Pooja as a supportive spouse and a hardworking team helped me and the firm sailed through all the challenges and eventually emerged as a recognized independent and communications brand in the industry. 

If I had to describe the journey so far- it has been a rollercoaster ride, full of ups and downs. But I have also been able to gather a few learnings along the way that I would like to share with everyone! As an entrepreneur, the major lesson I've learned is that one should be flexible to cope with sudden external changes. I also understood that urgency comes with opportunity and I learned how to deliver even in stressful conditions!

I realized that being agile is equally important so that we can think of effective yet out-of-the-box solutions to efficiently deal with crises. I would also like to mention that teamwork and working collaboratively while communicating effectively paves the way for success and I wish to take this ahead with me in the times to come as well! 

What is the kind of growth Media Mantra has fostered over these years?

We are known as one of the prominent PR firms that have exhibited significant growth from the grass root levels. So far, we have achieved 45% year-on-year growth and I am glad that we have been able to surpass all odds and become a success!

What are the best practices at Media Mantra which make it different from others in the cluttered market?

Media Mantra is an independent PR and integrated communications firm. As I have mentioned above, we are recognized in the industry for our robust independent set up and rising from the rock bottom level. We have flourished and have grown exponentially from being a start-up venture to now being an award-winning PR firm. We take immense pride in sharing that we have been thriving on our own and have been quite successful in doing so.

Adding to it, our focus is not just following the traditional PR practice of securing media coverage. We do make concerted efforts to offer bespoke communication solutions to our clients. We don’t just devise communication strategies but we help start-ups and brands to build and redefine their communication strategies and help them achieve their business objectives. This is what differentiates us and gives us an edge in the industry!

How important is PR for start ups and how are you helping them in making a niche in the market?

In the present times, PR is an essential tool for not just brands but for startups as well. Public Relations seem to be the ideal way out for them to create a buzz about their presence, their business model, and differentiating services in the industry. PR not only helps them in building their image in the market but also enables their effective engagement with their target audiences. 

Having started our journey from the scratch, we have come a long way. We understand how challenging it can be to survive in the market. Hence, we leave no stone unturned to help our start-up clients with high-end new-age communication solutions and PR strategies. We have a dedicated start-up division, Start-up Mantra where the team possesses domain expertise and helps ventures in achieving their objectives and enables their image building and reputation management. We help ventures successfully cover their journey from that of a start-up and evolve into a brand. 

What are the changes that you have witnessed along the way in the PR industry?

The Indian Public Relations landscape has taken a drastic turn over the years. The industry is now home to both established firms that have grown exponentially as well as various independent PR firms that have been performing well. 

PR is not just limited to garnering media coverage or managing media relations anymore. The industry has evolved significantly over the years and Public Relations firms now think beyond brick and mortar models to introduce innovations in their communication strategies. In fact, clients nowadays harness the power of the PR and communications sector so that their brand voice can reach the masses and their messaging can be shared effectively with their target audiences. 

What have been your strategies to cope with the pandemic situation?

It goes without saying that COVID-19 led to chaos and brought about various disruptions. However, with god's grace, we were able to manage everything seamlessly and have been continuing in doing so! 

We have been one of the few firms that have been hiring aggressively even amidst these turbulent times. We did not lay off employees or enforce pay cuts and have been actively recruiting worthy talent. 

Of course, owing to the social distancing norms, we had to adapt the work from home concept. However, I strongly believe that the hybrid model will be the future of the work culture of which remote learning will be an important element. We have already incorporated the same in our operational strategy at Media Mantra and have been practicing it for quite a while now. Alongside, we have been offering flexibility to the teams so that they can work at their own pace. We understand times are tough for everyone and we have been offering assistance to our team at various levels!

What developments are lined up at Media Mantra? What are your expansion plans?

I would like to share that we have recently launched a dedicated division, Gaming Mantra. This practice is being managed by a specialized team that possesses hands-on industry knowledge and expertise in conceptualizing state-of-the-art communication strategies. Via this division, we are hoping that brands would be able to effectively share their stories with their target audiences and upscale their communication game!

Furthermore, we had planned to open physical offices in the global market last year but had to hit the pause button on our plans due to the pandemic scare. However, we do intend to resume our strategy and we will soon capture the international market via the power of remote working as and when the situation will be viable. 

Is technology important for the PR industry? How do you envision the future of the sector as the digital revolution picks up the pace?

Considering being tech-savvy is the dire need of the hour, I believe technology adoption will dominate the PR industry in the times to come. However, I do feel that leaders should be aggressive and proactive in tech deployment. Presently, there are various gaps in the sector that can be bridged effectively and the industry can grow optimally by leveraging the potential of new-age tech solutions. For instance, there is no defined procedure methodology or tech assistance to analyze the impact and effectiveness of a PR campaign. 

The digital revolution can reform the entire Public Relations and communications landscape. Managing media contacts, communications with journalists or measuring the ROI of PR campaigns and influencer engagement, every aspect will soon become tech-enabled. As an attempt to pioneer digital adoption in the PR and communications industry, we at Media Mantra are devising and developing a media management technology platform. 

Professionals will be able to manage media relations seamlessly through this solution. Be it handling media contacts, media data, or interactions with the journalists, everything will be streamlined. This would enable PR professionals to modify their campaign planning and communication strategies in real-time.

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