'Campaign, narrative & relationship make or break brand-agency partnerships'

At the exchange4media PR & Corp Comm 30 Under 30 Summit, industry leaders deliberated on the challenges of overcoming creative differences and crisis mitigation

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Published: Jul 7, 2022 10:39 AM  | 5 min read
PR & Corporate Communications 30 Under 30

The 2nd edition of the exchange4media PR & Corp Comm 30 Under 30 Summit and Awards brought together some of the most seasoned names in the industry to deliberate on building a future leader and honoured 30 next-generation leaders in communication under the age of 30.

Of the numerous keynote sessions and panel discussions held during the day-long event, one of the most engaging was the last panel session that discussed the subject of 'Fostering brand and PR agency relationships'. The panellists for the session, which was moderated by Shrabasti Mallik from e4m, were someof the most seasoned communications professionals from both brands and agencies - Sunanda Rao, Founder and CEO, Seraphim Communications; Suvir Paul, Executive VP, RF Thunder; Rahul Nag, Head of Communications, Pocket FM; Sourav Das, VP Corp Comm, Sembcorp Energy Limited.

Mallik kicked off the session by pointing out that the success of a campaign rests largely on effectiveteamwork and partnership between brands and agencies. The better the communication, the more successful the campaign. In the light of this undeniable fact arises the question of the number of disagreements,creative differences and brainstorming that goes into doling out acampaign. What, then, are the challenges a brand and a pr agency face during communication while discussing a campaign for a certain product or a service.

Speaking from the perspective of an agency, Rao said, “When you talk about an established relationship between a brand and an agency, trust is the most important thing. But the main question is, how do you get to that stage. There are a lot of processes involved in actually choosing the right agency for a brand and vice-versa. Starting also right from the pitching phase and getting to know each other and then evolving that relationship is the first step, which is, of course, based on a lot of credibilities, hardwork and research on the part of both the agency and the brand.”

Das lent his opinion from a brand'sstandpoint. He pointed out, “The challenge that is being referredto – whether it is who is to be blamed and who is not, and who isto take the credit and who not – is as eternal as the popularegg-chicken theory of which came first. And I can tell you as I saton both sides of the table. The pandemic has made a significant shiftin our lives, in the way we see things and that is not the breakingnews. The good or the bad part is that we both realise, whether it isthe brand or the agency, that we need to survive and thrive together.And I think that realisation has set in. What has also happened during the last 24 months is that brands have become ubiquitous because the customer is now on every possible medium. If I look at the challenge, it is about the dharma of coalition. The agency and the brand cannot be sitting on two poles, they have to find a middle ground– whether it is the in-house team or with the external agency or the agency and the in-house brand guys – as each brings itsstrengths and comes with its weaknesses. The faster we are able to identify that, the faster we are able to realise each other's strengths and build on the weaknesses.”

Paul offered his insights on the importance of brands choosing the right agencies and vice-versa and expectation management. “When we go in and make a pitch to a particular client, it is built on certain premises – a premise of a need or want that is outlined by the client. It is important for us who are on the agency side to understand what is the need for the brand and what are the wants that are being articulated. When you go building a campaign or are going in for a pitch, it is about giving them a sense of the thought process, how are you going to approach that problem-solving that has been articulated by the client. If you get that right, that is the first step to winning anything in the market space today. I also believe that trust is earned and not given,” he explained.

Taking a cue from Paul's views, Nag shared his thoughts on the subject, “I think there are a few aspects that we need to be a little careful or cautious about. The first is expectation management, which does not happen from day one, but from a continuous flow of trust and credibility that one builds over a period of time. And unless and until these two factors come into the picture, there is always going to be a mismatch in expectations. The second is that I have always noticed a thin line between agencies and brands when it comes to the strategic focus in terms of driving any campaign vis-a-vis the tactical part that comes as a byproduct of the campaign. When you look at a campaign, you will see that the corporate side of the conversation is coming from a strategic approach with a strategic outlook. But unless and until the other side, which I call advisors or consultants, gets the strategic aspect of the campaign, it is very difficult to marry both the agency's aspect and the brand's aspect.”

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The Weber Shandwick Collective launches bespoke offering to promote women's health

It will be led by Rachael Pay, managing director, health, Weber Shandwick EMEA and senior health sponsor for the APAC region

By exchange4media Staff | May 26, 2023 1:50 PM   |   5 min read

The Weber Shandwick Collective

Ahead of International Day of Action for Women’s Health (28 May 2023), The Weber Shandwick Collective today announced the launch of its bespoke, cross-market offering committed to shaping healthier futures for all women in Asia Pacific. The Weber Shandwick Collective Women’s Health offer brings together a passionate group of agency experts from across the region, covering health communications, corporate communications, policy and advocacy, employee engagement, digital innovation, and design experience. The offer is fuelled by unparalleled data intelligence and works closely with a curated group of in-culture advisors and external consultants from business, government, academia and society. 

The offer will be led by Rachael Pay, managing director, health, Weber Shandwick EMEA and senior health sponsor for the APAC region, and is designed to drive a change in the definition of women’s health – historically niched around reproductive health and diseases unique to women – to a more holistic view on health, wellness, and wellbeing. Evidence shows women in Asia are at a higher risk of suffering from a multitude of diseases or experience poorer outcomes than men, as is the case with such common conditions including heart disease caused by hypertension, diabetes, auto-immune diseases and Alzheimer’s disease. 

The Women’s Health offer is underpinned by a suite of products and services including the agency’s latest proprietary insights product, The Women’s Health Indicator. Developed by data analysts and behaviour experts, it informs and identifies specific gaps in women’s health by analysing and assessing data points measured across society, media and policy. 

“Research shows that across the Asia Pacific region, women are more prone to experiencing health inequalities brought on by sociocultural influences and conditions and political environments that limit their ability to initiate and access optimal care," said Liz Clark Martinez, Vice President, Health Strategy, Weber Shandwick Hong Kong & Singapore. "To foster change in the field of women's health, we must gain a deep understanding of women and the intersections of culture and modern medicine – only then can we support clients to actively drive progress across all areas of health by developing communications programs that truly resonate and drive action.”

Research recently conducted by The Weber Shandwick Collective reinforces the need for bespoke multi-stakeholder education and awareness campaigns, not only to reach women but to resonate with them to drive meaningful change. 

“Take it in your stride” is a phrase that women in India often hear when they voice health issues. However, healthcare needs to be gender-specific which is often overlooked. Every woman should have access to curated information specific to her concerns without stigma, and it is imperative that this is normalized.” said Ruchika Vyas, EVP- Client Experience and Health Practice Lead, Weber Shandwick Mumbai. 

Findings from media coverage and social media data analysed from April 2022 to March 2023 in multiple Asian markets show a lack of information specific to women about Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis (RA), despite the increased risks for women:

  • Despite evidence that women in Asia with type 2 diabetes are almost twice as likely to die from coronary heart disease as men with diabetes, 2 only 4% of total diabetes coverage in the region mentions women explicitly.
  • Despite data in Japan showing almost twice as many new cases of Alzheimer’s disease in women than in men,5 less than 1% of Alzheimer’s disease conversation in the region is female-focused.
  • Despite evidence that there are at least three times as many women with RA than men with RA in South Korea6, only 3.5% of online content in the region is specific to women. 

“At The Weber Shandwick Collective, we’re helping clients rewrite the script for women’s health, widely acknowledged as one of the critical areas of inequity in our region today. Our offer is driven by a force of passionate health experts and specialists from every office across our business, spanning areas like diversity, equity & inclusion (DEI), employee engagement and  Femtech innovation – who are catalysing change in fair treatment, care, and access to truly reflect the experiences, cultures and life stages of women in Asia Pacific today," said Vanessa Ho Nikolovski, Chief Client & Growth Officer, Weber Shandwick, Asia Pacific. “Our unique offer will bridge knowledge gaps and help companies and brands sit at the heart of women’s health through creativity, action, and measurable impact.” 

In addition to the launch of the Women’s Health offer in the Asia Pacific region, Weber Shandwick is proud to be an industry leader in its commitment to supporting women’s health and well-being through its existing and evolving People Programmes and Policies across the region. 

“We are proud to be leading in the development of best-in-class programs focusing on our employees who are women, who make up over 70% of our current workforce,” said Susie Bates, Chief People Officer, Weber Shandwick, Asia Pacific. “In addition to supporting mental well-being talks and resources, our markets are committed to the ongoing development of programmes, including country-relevant menstrual and psychological support to employees, as well as flexible working policies at all levels. We remain completely committed to drive programmes in this space, whilst continuing to be mindful of our culturally nuanced markets and sensitivities around them.” 

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DS Group names Jyotsna Dash Nanda as AVP - Corp Comm

Previously, she worked with Prefect Relations as the Branch Director

By exchange4media Staff | May 24, 2023 12:26 PM   |   1 min read

DSP

Dharampal Satyapal Group (DS Group) has named Jyotsna Dash Nanda as AVP - Corporate Communications. 

Previously, she worked with Prefect Relations as the Branch Director for over nine years.

Nanda has over 25 years of experience in public relations consultancy and marketing communications for clients involving crisis communications, media relations, media training, internal communications, and editorial writing for a wide range of industries including consumer durables, banking and finance, services industry, technology, automotive, healthcare and education verticals. 

Throughout her career, she contributed to India InfoMedia Private Limited, Enterprise Public Relations, Hanmer & Partners, Brodeur India and Candour Communications.

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‘If you are excited about the work you do, you can always fit something important in’

Kathy Bloomgarden, CEO, Ruder Finn, opened up about the agency’s journey of 75 years, envisioning growth aspects in India and many more in the e4m PR and Corp Comm podcast

By Ruchika Jha | May 24, 2023 10:58 AM   |   1 min read

Ruder Finn

As Ruder Finn completes its 75 years, Bloomgarden had an insightful podcast session with exchange4media’s PR and corp comm team where she shared the agency’s story from its inception till date, its expansion in middle east, envisaging growth prospects in the Indian market, its role in shaping global PR industry and more.

Talking about the organisation's legacy and the culture that has been fostered over 75 years, Bloomgarden said, “Culture is something we have prioritised. Our theme is ‘What’s Next’ and I am really proud of that because, as we all know, the field is changing rapidly and especially now, with new technology tools, digital channels, the uncertainty in terms of new marketplace and technical transformations that so many of our clients are going through. We have to push the boundaries to make sure we are adopting the practices.”

Bloomgarden further talked about the lessons she learnt from her father and how she is taking it forward. “My father always said that time is elastic and what that meant, was that there is always enough time to do your job. If you are excited about the work you do, you can always fit something important in,” she conveyed.

Please click below to listen to our podcast:

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Commwiser India announces partnership with Mirovia

Commwiser India currently has its presence in India and Canada

By exchange4media Staff | May 23, 2023 5:22 PM   |   4 min read

Mirovia

Commwiser, a specialised Indian communications agency into the legal and professional services space, has joined hands with Mirovia, a global network of PR agencies providing specialist communications, marketing and business development advice across borders to legal sector clients. With Commwiser being a part of Mirovia, it broadens its reach across Europe, Southeast Asia and Latin America. Commwiser India currently has its presence in India and Canada.

This also presents Commwiser with an opportunity to enhance its service offerings, broaden its horizons, and access a variety of specialised talents and resources in the field of legal marketing, paving the way for more comprehensive client support.

Aman Abbas, Co-founder and CEO at Commwiser, commented: “The Mirovia network truly matches the nature of the legal market - global, collaborative and quality-driven. As part of this global network of legal marketing firms, members are well placed to add value to clients who have similar aspirations. We are excited to be a part of this excellent bunch of professionals as this gives us the capability to support our clients’ growth requirements in different parts of the world.
Commwiser India would also benefit from Mirovia’s unmatched specialised capabilities in litigation PR and handling Class Action suits in India. This is another milestone in Commwiser’s speciality in the legal industry in India, which has been recognised time and again by the industry.”

Gus Sellitto, Founder of Byfield Consultancy in London, said: “As Mirovia continues to grow, we are excited to welcome Commwiser and TriOn & Co. Having new members in India and Singapore represent a significant milestone in our efforts to expand globally and enables us to assist clients in a broader range of geographies. Singapore has become one of the biggest global centres for arbitration as well as the primary business hub for Southeast Asia, while India is set to become the third-largest economy in the world within a decade and is beginning to open its vast legal market to foreign firms. With Commwiser’s and TriOn’s deep knowledge of their respective markets, Mirovia will be able to enhance its ability to provide the best communications advice to its clients at an international level.”

Founded in 2017 by Aman Abbas, former Communications Head at KPMG and former Director of Client & Market Development at leading Indian law firm Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas, Commwiser is a specialist PR agency focusing on Professional Services and Law Firm Marketing, including strategic and reputation counsel, media relations, litigation PR, digital and social media integration, and stakeholder mapping and engagement.

The Mirovia alliance was founded in February 2020 by leading agencies Byfield Consultancy in the UK, Eliott & Markus in France, Eye Communications in Germany, Valletta Relazioni Pubbliche in Italy and Gerico Associates in Spain and Latin America. Benelux agency Stark Narrative joined in 2022. Commwiser and TriOn, a Singapore-based strategic communications firm - are the first Asia-based members to join the Mirovia network.

As recognised legal PR specialists in their respective jurisdictions, Mirovia partner agencies collaborate on cross-border mandates by pooling their respective strengths to legal sector clients’ advantage internationally – providing local market expertise and supporting clients with profile-raising, communications, legal directories submissions and marketing activities. Mirovia members now comprise over 100 specialists ideally placed to support international law firms, including US firms, looking to enhance their profile across Europe and Asia.

Additionally, Mirovia provides crisis PR and litigation PR support to clients internationally. Mirovia members also advise law firm clients in need of reputation counsel. In litigation PR, Mirovia members work closely with dispute resolution lawyers helping to manage the reputation of businesses and individuals who are bringing or defending litigation across borders. Last year, and in direct response to the anticipated growth in class actions across Europe, Mirovia launched a dedicated Class Action desk to provide reputation management PR services to businesses launching or defending class actions in Europe and internationally.

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Shalini Singh joins RPG Group as Group Head - Brand and Communications

She was previously associated with Ambuja Cement and ACC as Chief-Corporate Communications, Chairman-POSH Committee and Add

By exchange4media Staff | May 23, 2023 2:22 PM   |   1 min read

shalini singh

Shalini Singh has joined RPG Group as Group Head - Brand and Communications.

Prior to this, she was associated with Ambuja Cement and ACC as Chief-Corporate Communications, Chairman-POSH Committee and Add.

Director ACC Mineral Resources Ltd. Singh is an integrated communication and sustainability professional with over 27 years of multi-industry experience. She has worked with various organisations such as Holcim, TATA Power, Accenture, Bharti Tele-Ventures Limited, Kale Consultants Limited and Arvind Mills.

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Value 360 Communications and RepIndia announce new JV

The new entity RepValue will offer clients and brands an advanced mechanism for superior, real-time reputation management insights and solution

By exchange4media Staff | May 22, 2023 2:19 PM   |   3 min read

repvalue

Value 360 Communications and RepIndia today announced a JV to form a new entity named RepValue to offer clients and brands an advanced mechanism for superior, real-time reputation management insights and solutions. The combined synergy of RepIndia and Value 360’s digital and PR capabilities over decades will enable clients to significantly enhance their reputation and brand communication matrix.

RepValue will focus on creating a strategic crossover of PR and digital reputation management to build holistic, full-service, insight lead and outcome-based brand reputation solutions. The collaborative ambit will span tech-backed capabilities, including creative innovation, content creation, online branding, crisis management, social listening, and round the clock response management, CRM, SEO, social media, corporate communication, and perception management, to bolster the online reputation and presence for key brands. 

Ayesha Chenoy, Chairperson and Founder, RepIndia, said, "I’m excited to partner with Value 360. We have a common vision, ethics and a proven track record and reputation. What the market needs today is a single strategic, seamless solution. Reputation management is not reactive, but proactive. We need to own our narrative. Every piece of communication needs to go through a reputation filter, every brand issue needs to be managed before it becomes a crisis. This is the first solution that will make the brands future ready, in a world where everything can change in a minute” 

Kunal Kishore, Founder Director, Value 360 Communications, said, "Both Value 360 Communications and RepIndia have charted similar growth trajectories in the communications and digital space. In a world witnessing strong integration of comms and digital, the two powerhouses will together bring in a solution for Indian organisations that can lead to effective reputation management. In a digital-first world where online conversations impact the sentiment around a brand, we will offer a comprehensive solution that draws strengths from both and raises the bar in reputation management." 

Archit Chenoy, CEO, RepIndia, said, "The strategy will be based on the fundamental needs of the business and brand, and the partners will ensure economies of scale not only in terms of pricing but also in efficiency and quality so as to protect shareholder values.” 

RepValue brings a brand promise of exceptional thought leadership, strategic, customised solutions and sniper-focussed execution with experience spanning across industries and a talent base of over 800+ dedicated professionals. It will create a single integrated solution to protect and nurture client reputation. Both communication firms have a legacy of building strong global and Indian brands, including Adani Group, JSW, Tata Trusts, MG Motor India, Canon, Suzuki, Amazon, Paytm, Audi, Shopify, KAYAK, The Body Shop, Haldiram's, and many more.

 

The advisory board for RepValue will be announced soon. 

 

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Pitchfork Partners wins communication mandate for Bajaj Auto's Triumph Motorcycles

Pitchfork already manages Bajaj Auto’s corporate and brand communication mandates for its own range and the KTM brand

By exchange4media Staff | May 18, 2023 4:34 PM   |   2 min read

pp

Pitchfork Partners Strategic Consulting LLP has been awarded the India communication mandate for the largest UK-owned motorcycle manufacturer, Triumph Motorcycles, by Bajaj Auto. This widens the existing partnership between Pitchfork and Bajaj Auto, the world’s most valuable two-and three-wheeler company. Pitchfork already manages Bajaj Auto’s corporate and brand communication mandates for its own range and the KTM brand.

Recently, Triumph transferred its India sales and marketing operations to Bajaj Auto. The two auto majors in 2020 had announced a strategic partnership to jointly create a new range of mid-sized Triumph Motorcycles, and the transfer marks a new phase of the partnership. Pitchfork Partners will work with the Triumph team at Bajaj Auto to strengthen its reputation and increase brand visibility in India. The consultancy will manage corporate and product communication, including products that will be launched under the partnership. 

Triumph Motorcycles, the British motorcycle brand established in 1902, has always set the standard for category-winning machines that combine design, character, desirability and performance to create truly distinctive motorcycles. True to its brand ethos, each product in the Indian market is dedicated to delivering a great riding experience through the fusion of a well-balanced, easy-to-handle chassis and strong, flexible engines. The result is an inspiring range of motorcycles delivering usable performance blended with character. 

Jaideep Shergill, Co-Founder, Pitchfork Partners, added: “Triumph’s transfer of sales and marketing operations to Bajaj Auto is a huge milestone. We are excited to work with these iconic automobile brands. Working with Bajaj Auto on its corporate and brand mandate has been truly invigorating and we are very excited to now also take on the Triumph mandate.” 

Pitchfork Partners is a strategy consultancy focused on client reputation, which it believes is the key differentiator between business success and failure. The automotive industry is thriving in India with several brands aiming to increase mindshare. Pitchfork Partners specialises in understanding business needs and aligning communication to business goals, championing reputation building, management and protection. The consultancy sees itself as a reputation warrior, offering bespoke solutions and a team comprising marketing and communication veterans.

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