'Indian agencies are at the cusp of hypergrowth'

Manisha Chaudhary, Founder-Director, Value 360 Communications, discusses the company's growth, changes in the PR industry and more

e4m by Nafisa Shaheen
Published: Jun 15, 2021 1:24 PM  | 5 min read
Manisha Chaudhry

“We started our entrepreneurial journey at the peak of global economic slowdown which taught us to see opportunities in the time of adversities”, said Manisha Chaudhary, Founder-Director, Value 360 Communications. Continuing e4m’s ‘Rising India’ series, today we talk about India’s first PR company with a focussed approach for early-stage business, Value 360 Communications.

The firm was started in 2007 with the vision of building a high-growth, resolute, practical, and measurable integrated communications programme in a sector-agnostic organization. Its journey followed a similar path as the evolution of the start-up ecosystem in India.

Their initial work on several internet companies such as Snapdeal.com, Olx.in and goibibo.com gave it much-needed attention. In the last decade, Value 360 Communication was one of the common agencies for many new-age brands that were created between 2007 and 2019 – Paytm, Droom, Urbanclap and Practo, among many others. 

Headquartered in New Delhi, Value 360 Communications is among the Top 10 PR companies in India with principal offices in Mumbai, Bangalore, Chandigarh, Lucknow and Kolkata.  

Over the years, the PR firm has grown at a robust pace, both in terms of client base and revenues. Value 360 Communications currently services 150+ clients and has registered a revenue growth of 30 per cent over the last decade.

With a 70% client retention ratio, the firm constantly changes its approach in line with the latest trends and developments in the brand communication space. Value 360 Communications aims to keep innovating and evolving to deliver with the help of its huge team comprising 200+ professionals.

In an interaction with exchange4media, Manisha Chaudhary, Founder-Director, Value 360 Communications, spoke about the rise of the firm, key driving factors, changes in the industry over the past 3 decades, staying away from acquisitions and mergers, expansion strategy, and more.

Edited Excerpts:-

How has the PR landscape changed in the last 3 decades for Independent and Indigenous PR firms? 

In the last 3 decades, we saw a significant transformation in the communications space. The ecosystem has evolved tremendously with social media, digital marketing, and big data entering its ambit. Factors like the 24/7 news cycle, data-driven decisions, and changing consumer perceptions have transformed the way agencies operate. For indigenous and independent PR firms, this has meant rapid innovation in line with the industry’s changing dynamics. The convergence of technology and communication has had the most profound impact on the industry, and agencies that have adopted these new technologies are thriving in the market. 

 Innovation is the key; how is the industry evolving? How are PR agencies coping with it?

There has been a paradigm shift in the way PR agencies operate. On the back of new technologies, agencies are evolving into end-to-end communication firms that look at every aspect of communication. Today, there are multiple outlets through which brands can connect and build relationships with their target audiences. With this, the industry has become more multidimensional than ever before.

The ambit of communications has expanded exponentially, and it will only continue to grow. We will see agencies become communication hubs with technology at the core. The transformation is already underway. 

In the last decades, we have witnessed major acquisitions and mergers between Indian and global agencies. How hard is it to stay independent and expand? 

Mergers and acquisitions are an intrinsic part of a market that is going through growth and consolidation. However, we are in a position where we are confident that we will remain independent and grow into a multidisciplinary group of several unique independent organizations which will specialize in different practices within the larger communications umbrella.  

What is your view on the next 10 years of India as a global leader and an emerging market? How do you see the growth and engagement for the agencies?

As mentioned above, Indian agencies are at the cusp of hypergrowth which will be unlocked by technological adoption and geographical expansion. Going forward, agencies will not need to be acquired to build scale. We live in times when companies can bank on innovation and disruption to achieve Unicorn status in 7-10 years. Industry players in the communication space are also chasing this dream now. 

While traditional PR was based on buying relationships, the way forward will be based on creating conversations around brands and scaling based on meaningful relationships. PR agencies will have to rethink their strategies and open a new dimension of tech-led, holistic communication services for their clients. We are building different communication ventures, democratizing the communication process, giving more visibility to different stakeholders of the industry, and rapidly expanding the scale at which we operate. This multidimensional growth will invariably be the future of the entire industry. 

Some of the agencies have expanded and have offices globally. Do you see Indian agencies going abroad and acquiring local agencies? 

There is a very real and lucrative opportunity for young and nimble companies to create their own growth roadmap by expanding across the globe. However, going global must be a very strategic move. It boils down to understanding what you offer to the broader market. At Value 360 Communications, we are extremely confident in our value proposition and will probably take the next step by the next year. 

Where do you see value 360 in the coming 5 years?

As mentioned above, I see Value360 evolving into a full-service communication firm that will be at the cross-section of all aspects of communication with technology at its core.

The content in this section is curated by the PR and Communications team. For any feedback kindly write to karan.bhatia@exchange4media.com.

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‘PR industry will have to create frequent pieces of engaging content that can be online’

At e4m PR & Corp Comm 40 Under 40 2022 summit, Sanjeev Handa, Sr. Vice President and Head of PR & Communications, Maruti Suzuki Ltd, shared trends in PR and communication industry

By exchange4media Staff | Feb 2, 2023 3:15 PM   |   3 min read

Sanjeev handa

At the e4m PR & Corp Comm 40 Under 40 2022 summit, Sanjeev Handa, Sr. Vice President and Head of PR & Communications, Maruti Suzuki Ltd, spoke in-depth about how millennials and GenZ play a crucial role for a brand. He also spoke about the evolving trends in the PR and corporate communication industry. Handa delivered a keynote address.

Emphasizing on the importance of adapting and evolving to the new trends which revolve around Gen Y, Sanjeev Handa said, “For the past two extraordinary and challenging years that we have faced, we have transcended from the Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous (VUCA) world. The world as we knew to us is fast transitioning into BANI world, which is very ‘Brittle’ as people are more ‘Anxious’, systems and processes are ‘Non-linear’ and situation of the ground is ‘Incomprehensible’ (BANI).”

“Therefore we need to learn to be more resilient, attentive, adaptive and transparent. The world is changing and the customer is adapting to the change. The needs and desires are also fast evolving.”

Talking about millennials in detail, Handa said, “One of the most significant changes we are seeing in the marketing and PR circles is the impact of the Y generation. Millennials are the largest percentage in a workforce and are shaping digital face of communication at several spaces. They are fast in embracing in new technology such as Instagram, Snapchat, etc and are using them to connect with the audiences in more authentic and engaging ways. This is leading to the shift away from traditional one-way communication strategies towards the need to two-way and interactive communications strategies.”  

“The future of communication therefore needs to be carefully constructed with thoughtful content that engages readers and deliver information quickly and very concisely. Long features, click bait articles and paywalls will be shunned by future audience. PR industry will have to place more effort in placing and creating frequent pieces of engaging content that can be driven out online rather than through long case studies or feature-led articles in publications and dailies.”

Describing the importance of technology and the need to create an impact via content, Handa explains, “We better understand the new generation needs, wants and desires. We would need to embrace new technologies and formats. Therefore creating a system to deliver content digitally to masses and audiences will be the most effective way for promoting the reputation of brands. Primarily through blogging and supported by social media strategies this will result in audiences being offered with snackable content. This will be of huge impact.”

 

The content in this section is curated by the PR and Communications team. For any feedback kindly write to karan.bhatia@exchange4media.com.

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Intellectual capital is the new wealth of organizations: Dr Navneet Anand

In his keynote address at the e4m PR & Corp Comm’s 40 Under 40 Summit, Dr Anand, Founder & Director, GreyMatters Communications talks about his own experiences in the communications profession

By exchange4media Staff | Feb 2, 2023 2:59 PM   |   2 min read

Dr Navneet Anand

The world of PR and Corp Comm has evolved a lot over the years. It has become an integral part of a support system for brands. At the e4m PR & Corp Comm’s 40 Under 40 Summit, Dr Navneet Anand, Founder & Director, GreyMatters Communications & Consulting gave a keynote address and talked about the integrity and intricacies of being in the communications profession.

Through examples of his own experiences and how he began his journey in GreyMatters, he explained the challenges that come along in this profession and how you find meaning in what you do.

Anand talks about intellectual capital and how it is an extremely important part of the PR and Corp Comm industry. “The intellectual capital is the new wealth of organizations. There are many who look down upon our industry as something which is frivolous. We do come across many people questioning the integrity, the methodology, the ideas, and the campaigns. They think we only go to journalists, pay some money, and then come back and make merry with our partners (clients). That's not true."

"This gentleman called Carl Eric created a theory of knowledge capital, in which he spoke about customer capital, structural capital, and human capital. We have to realize that we are the human capital. It is our capital, our competence, our knowledge, our pride and our ideation, which will make organizations grow.”

He cited examples from his youth, his political campaigns and associations with companies like DuPont, which have shaped GreyMatters and brought in them a sense of integrity, confidence and pride for the communications profession.

Lastly, he says, “As millennials, you must understand, where we come from: starting with the classical PR, which was more people to people, personalized, defined audiences to conventional PR organization to organization and media-centric. And now today, in contemporary PR where your audiences are diverse, they want to communicate with the brand directly and so on and so forth. You have a huge challenge in front of you.”

The content in this section is curated by the PR and Communications team. For any feedback kindly write to karan.bhatia@exchange4media.com.

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Kaizzen elevates Nikhil Pavithran and Prashant Subramanian

Pavithran has been promoted to Group President and Subramanian to the Head - North India

By exchange4media Staff | Feb 2, 2023 12:33 PM   |   3 min read

Kaizzen

In a bid to strengthen its leadership, Kaizzen, a leading integrated communications agency, announces the elevation of Nikhil Pavithran as Group President and Prashant Subramanian as the Head - North India. The announcement comes as the first step towards accomplishing the vision of expanding the agency’s national and international footprint. Earlier, Nikhil, based in Mumbai, was in-charge of operations in Western India while Prashant handled the Delhi market for Kaizzen. 

Nikhil and Prashant will continue to work closely with Vineet Handa, CEO, Kaizzen. Announcing the new leadership, Vineet Handa said, “I am delighted to announce the elevation of Nikhil Pavithran and Prashant Subramanian as Group President and Head North India, respectively. Both have been instrumental in Kaizzen’s meteoric rise, and I know that they will do everything in their power to grow Kaizzen to greater heights. I wish Nikhil and Prashant the very best for their new roles.” 

With Kaizzen for over 5 years, Nikhil joined the agency as Vice President in the Mumbai office and rose to the position of Group President in 2021 holding the global mandate for Kaizzen. 

Commenting on this development, Nikhil Pavithran said, “It is a matter of great honour for me to have been a part of Kaizzen’s growth over the last couple of years. I look forward to leading its talented team in increasing the company’s national and international footprint. As the Group President, I am excited to work towards Kaizzen’s holistic expansion, providing opportunities for its people, and diversification of the agency’s client portfolio across varied sectors.” With over 18 years of experience and working with various agencies across sectors, Nikhil brings with him a wide range of experience in brand communications and integrated marketing. 

On the other hand, Prashant joined Kaizzen in 2018 as Director Client Servicing and rose to become Vice President in 2021. In his current role, Prashant will hold the mandate for strengthening Kaizzen’s presence in Northern India. 

Speaking about this announcement, Prashant Subramanian said, “As the communication industry is subject to constant evolution, we aspire to leverage new-age technology and communication platforms to create newer opportunities Kaizzen’s Stakeholders. Their trust in us has been integral in this journey, and we look forward to their support in helping Kaizzen achieve greater heights in the future.” 

“It has been a privilege to be part of this journey with Kaizzen and I look forward to working closely with the management and team to expand our portfolio across North.”, Prashant added. 

Prashant has 17 years of experience in brand & product marketing and communications across various sectors.

The content in this section is curated by the PR and Communications team. For any feedback kindly write to karan.bhatia@exchange4media.com.

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Meet e4m PR & Corp Comm's Top 100 Influential Game Changers 2022

The achievers were chosen from over 250 nominations

By exchange4media Staff | Feb 1, 2023 9:30 PM   |   1 min read

e4m

The 4th edition of exchange4media’s ‘Top 100 Influential Game Changers 2022’ list was announced on February 1, 2023, in a grand event at The Leela Ambience Gurugram. The list recognised and honoured 100 + people from the PR and Corp Comm industry who have changed the dynamics of the industry through their hard work, vision, leadership skill and clout. 

The PR and corporate communications industry is an ever-evolving one. It navigates not only changing trends in communication and technology but also strives to roll out strategies that cater to a wide spectrum of audience. It is, therefore, only just to recognise and acknowledge how PR and corporate communication professionals have helped fire up brand images in the time of crisis, led by examples and are role models in their respective areas of expertise. 

The top 100 awardees were chosen and shortlisted from over 250 nominations received following a robust internal auditing process by exchange4media’s editorial team. 

This is a list and not a ranking. 

Here are the Top 100 Influential Game Changers:

The content in this section is curated by the PR and Communications team. For any feedback kindly write to karan.bhatia@exchange4media.com.

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Announcing the trailblazers of e4m PR & Corp Comm’s 40 Under 40 2022

The winners were chosen from over 120+ nominations

By exchange4media Staff | Feb 1, 2023 9:30 PM   |   1 min read

40 under 40

Exchange4media group has unveiled the winners of the 4th edition of the e4m PR & Corp Comm 40 Under 40 Awards. These awards identified the next-generation leaders (professionals, entrepreneurs, game changers, achievers) - under 40 years of age – in the communication industry who, with their undaunting zeal and unflinching dedication, overcame all odds to become trailblazers.

Braving the odds and rising above has been the mantra that Public Relations and Corporate Communications professionals have sworn by during time of crisis. This prestigious and elite award is an attempt to recognise the fundamental role played by communication professionals in order to firewall a brand’s image.

The winners were chosen from over 120+ nominations and were selected by the members of the jury based on a number of parameters, including leadership/ mentorship skills, such statements of accomplishments as growth and recognitions, future potential and proven contribution to the industry.

This is a list and not a ranking.

Here's the complete list:

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Gear up for the 4th edition of e4m PR and Corp Comm 40 Under 40 Summit & Awards 2022

The day-long summit will be followed by a glittering award ceremony on February 1, 2023

By exchange4media Staff | Jan 31, 2023 10:31 AM   |   2 min read

PR & Corporate Communications 30 Under 30

The wait is over! On February 1, 2023, over 40 professionals (under the age of 40) of the PR and Corp Comm industry will recognise and honour the next generation PR and Communication leaders, who are shaping the industry through their forward looking vision. The 4th edition of the annual e4m PR & Corp Comm 40 Under 40 Summit and Awards 2022 that will be held on-ground at Leela Ambience, Gurugram, is going to be an event to remember.

The day-long summit will bring together stalwarts and experts from across the PR and Corp Comm fraternity to deliberate, discuss and engage in enlightening discussions and discourses on relevant topics, issues and subjects. The theme of this year's summit is “The Era of Millennials in PR” and the agenda features four panel sessions and five keynote addresses.

Adfactors PR is the event's 'Presenting Partner'. The 'Powered By' partners of the event are Hill+Knowlton Strategies, Kaizzen and Candour Communications, and 'Gold Partners' are Concept BIU, 80 dB Communications and Godrej.

 The panel sessions will delve into topical topics, like:

 

  1. Importance of Digital PR in brand promotion – Speakers: Anand Prakash, Senior Group Head, Adfactors PR; Akanksha Jain, Head- Public Relations & Corporate Communications, Bharatpe; Kritika Padhy, Account Director , 80 dB communications; Bhawna Gupta, Director, Client Relations, Hill+Knowlton Strategies; Moderator: Ruhail Amin, Sr. Editor BW Businessworld & Exchange4media

 

  1. What has been the success of PR agencies when they expand into regional market – Speakers: Nikita Nanda, Vice President, Adfactors PR; Karishma Sain, CEO, Goodword Media; Naina Jha, Associate Director, Grey Matters; Moderator: Rishu Singh, Senior Manager, Corporate Communications, Fortis Healthcare Limited

 

  1. How to make the youth industry ready? - Speakers: Ayushi Arora, CEO and Founder, Media Corridor; Madhvi Chaudhary, PR Manager, Media Mic; Neha Gupta, AVP, Value360Communication;

Moderator: Shrabasti Mallik, exchange4media

 

  1. Rules of engagement between PR and the brands, managing each other expectation – Speakers: Gehna Sawhney, Director - Communications, India & Europe, Pitney Bowes; Lovina Gujral, COO, Candour Communication; Tehseen Zaidi, Head Communications, Syngenta; Moderator: Ruchika Jha, exchange4media

 

The keynote speakers will include Dr Navneet Anand, Founder & Director, GreyMatters Communications & Consulting; Pooja Pathak, Co-Founder and Director, Media Mantra; Atul Raja, Executive Vice President, Global Marketing. Wadhwani Foundation; Sanjeev Handa, Sr. Vice President and Head of PR & Communications, Maruti Suzuki Ltd; and Atul Ahluwalia, Founding Partner, First Partners. There will also be a firside chat session featuring Rohit Bansal, Group Head of Communications, Reliance Industries Limited.

The event will simulcast on YouTube and exchange4media's social media handles.

The content in this section is curated by the PR and Communications team. For any feedback kindly write to karan.bhatia@exchange4media.com.

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Cuemath appoints Lipika Kapil as Director & Head of Global PR-Comm

Prior to this, Lipika managed communications for Koo

By exchange4media Staff | Jan 23, 2023 2:55 PM   |   2 min read

Lipika

Cuemath has announced the appointment of Lipika Kapil as Director and Head-Global PR & Communications. Based in Bengaluru, she will set up the communications function and lead the PR and communications efforts for Cuemath across key markets - India,  MENA and the US. She will report to Varun Jha, Chief Marketing Officer, Cuemath.

Prior to joining Cuemath, Lipika  managed communications for Koo.

On the appointment, she said, “EdTech is one of the exciting industries in the startup sector and I am thrilled to be part of a mission and vision driven brand like ‘Cuemath’. What excites me the most is Cuemath’s sharp focus on teaching math as a life skill, beyond academic excellence and its ‘student-centred’ learning approach which offers a unique opportunity for storytelling. Another exciting aspect of the role will be to anchor communications across international markets and power the brand’s marketing initiatives that aim to take Cuemath closer to our customers across the globe. It's my pleasure to join the business at this juncture and play a critical part as Cuemath commences the next phase of its journey.”

Varun Jha, Chief Marketing Officer, Cuemath said, “As Cuemath aims for global expansion, we see Marketing and Brand Communications as one of the important business pillars for the company. Therefore, the role of PR and communications becomes more important than ever. With Lipika’s experience of managing PR and communications for a variety of brands across industries, her role will be beneficial in designing and implementing PR strategies for Cuemath across markets. She, along with her team, will also support strategic brand and marketing initiatives as the organization expands further. I am delighted to have Lipika on board and wish her a fantastic stint at Cuemath.”

The content in this section is curated by the PR and Communications team. For any feedback kindly write to karan.bhatia@exchange4media.com.

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