e4m PR & Corp Comm Communication Bridge: 'Creativity and innovation is the way forward'
PR & Corp Comm experts Deepshika Dharmaraj, Archana Jain, Valerie Pinto, Rashmi Vasisht, Manisha Chaudhury, Pooja Pathak, Shivani Gupta & Nandita Lakshmanan on turning crisis into an opportunity
The ongoing pandemic has been a testimony of the success of female leaderships across spectrum. The past few months have seen a gradual shift to women helming organizations and leading the fight against this medical emergency. Exchange4media has been vocal about celebrating the efforts and uniqueness of women leaders in the communication industry. To this end, e4m conducted a power-packed webinar with some of the decorated women leaders from the public relations and corporate communications industry. The topic for the day was “Innovation in time of crisis: How innovation and creativity can turn a crisis into an opportunity”.
The panel comprised leaders like Deepshika Dharmaraj, Chief Executive Officer, Genesis BCW; Archana Jain, Managing Director& CEO, PR Pundit; Valerie Pinto, CEO, Webber Shandwick; Rashmi Vasisht, Corporate Communication and Public Relations Leader; Manisha Chaudhury, Founder and Director, Value 360 Communications; Pooja Pathak, Managing Director, Media Mantra and Nandita Lakshmanan, CEO, The Practice; Shivani Gupta, Managing Director, SPAG with Tasmayee Laha Roy, Assistant Editor, Exchange4media Group as the moderator of the panel.
Roy kick started the discussion with a question on what agencies and brands are doing to bring innovation and creativity in their communication at the time of the pandemic. Jain took the lead and responded by saying, “This time requires us to be agile and adapt to communication strategy. Strategies need to evolve based on the market place. There have been a lot of changes and the look-book has new editions to it.”
She added, “How AR has come to rescue is quite fascinating. Brands like Kingfisher have introduced a new entertainment channel. That has provided reasons to go to press and galvanise media".
Dharmaraj too weighed on creativity and innovation. She said, “Creativity is about changing perceptions, changing status quo and adapting. At the end of the day, it is about the idea of making a difference". She further added, “We are working with clients who have launched helplines. We have pulled out conversations where people are saying they're not okay. It's important to bring up such matters".
While Pinto added, “Pre and post Covid scenario will be different. Unfreezing rigid ways has been adapted beautifully. Pushing digital and video content has taken the talent".
Vasisht shared insights on changes in communication strategies in the last few months: "Virtualised environments, including live streaming launches, using social media channels are focusing big on content. Brands are tuning to shorter, smarter videos". She added, “Brands need to transform lives. The tonality in these trying times is compassionate, caring, accurate, authentic and credible".
Gupta raised a point about the importance of connecting with the team, personally apart from professionally. "We should have faith in team and team leaders,” she added.
Dharmaraj expounded on scenario mapping, saying that the team is working to map on the ones that could hit businesses and help clients deal with them.
Roy then asked if productivity has suffered, especially when remote work is the new normal, to which Lakshmanan responded: “We have more productivity in last 100 days. We got acknowledgement from clients and teams have been working extensively during these months.”
Chaudhary informed about the steps taken by her firm for employee motivation and higher productivity. She said, “Through virtual connectivity tools, we started using ‘Workplace’—an enterprise connectivity platform, actively to work collaboratively with each other just like a normal business and to ensure real-time communication among the teams for seamless business operations.”
She added, “Teams were encouraged to share best practices and case studies virtually. We also introduced a productivity management software and employees with high ranking were sent appreciation mails, thanking them for their efforts in these turbulent times. The agency has weekly fun activities planned wherein employees shared their Best COVID Moments”.
Pathak pointed towards yet another important aspect -- building positivity and sentiments towards society.
She stressed upon keeping in touch with the team and maintaining the communication flow with them: “Discussion makes one feel that we are in this together. Appreciation mails are sent to team members in order to recognise their effort along with continuing WFH option across all branches.”
Responding to Roy’s question on how to be more efficient and effective, Lakshmanan stressed on the need for a good team, good clients and good infrastructure. "Focus on rhythm and always be positive”, she added.
Commenting the importance of human resource, Gupta added, “Creativity is need for internal communication. Team needs support morally in that situation to be efficient and effective”.
Pinto concluded the session with some food for thought, to sum up the discussion: “The only way to perform better and live better is to feel positive and be positive. We are extremely hopeful of situation getting back to normal in a couple of months. Till then, let us all enjoy our time at homes working and spending quality time with our close ones”.
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