PR firms need to be strategists and brand custodians: Trigam Mukherjee, The Prophets

Trigam Mukherjee, Founder & MD of TMH Consultants, the holding company of PR agency The Prophets, talks about his entrepreneurial instinct, the role of startups and their future in the field

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Updated: Nov 11, 2019 3:03 PM
Trigam Mukherjee

In the cluttered public relations industry, Trigam Mukherjee founded The Prophets in 2015 and has been instrumental in scripting its success story from a modest scale of engaging with start-ups to steering the company towards counselling and guiding globally-renowned brands across diverse verticals.

 Founder and Managing Director of TMH Consultants, the holding company of PR agency The Prophets, Trigam’s entrepreneurial journey is balanced with his experience in corporate India as well as renowned global agencies like Mullen Lowe.

An interaction with Trigam Mukherjee on his entrepreneurial instinct, the role of startups and their future in the field.

Edited Excerpts:-

 How has your journey in the PR industry been?

I started my PR career 15 years ago with a large national agency and then moved to market communications after having spent 6-7 years in the agency. In 2015 I began my entrepreneurial journey with The Prophets with a vision of offering value-based PR consultancy. Then in 2018, I co-founded a gaming platform that is now a prominent fantasy sports platform in India. However, I am equally committed to PR because of the love and passion I have developed over the years for it.

What led you to establish your own PR firm? 

Over the years I have engaged with several large agencies and was present to the fact that there exists a large gap between client expectations and the agency deliverables. Many agencies are content being messengers of the client rather than being strategists and brand custodians. Additionally, I found that there was an inconsistency between how large and small clients were serviced differently. A smaller fee meant one could not get the full benefit of the senior resources at the agency.  At The Prophets, we treat all clients equally taking ownership in helping achieve the business objectives of the client.

What makes The Prophets different in the cluttered space?

I wanted to ensure that at The Prophets all our clients see the benefit of having a PR consultancy as a strategist and brand custodian. We work as partners with our clients to ensure that PR makes an impact on their business and not PR for the sake of doing PR to get media mileage. We work with a limited number of clients to ensure that we can provide focused consulting to them. The clients we have signed on have been through word of mouth and that goes to prove that the model and values I started The Prophets with has paid off.

What are the core factors that newer agencies are doing well against the established players in the industry?

One of the major issues facing the PR industry is the high attrition rate and causes uneasiness on the clients’side. This has been my personal experience when I was on the client's side. Here, I have ensured that the senior management, the founders and directors, are part of the core servicing team and are clued in on all aspects of the clients business to ensure continuity and confidence for the client. Another aspect of smaller boutique agencies is that we are far more nimble, prompt and flexible comparing the larger agencies and that also makes a huge difference in relationships between client and agency.

How important do you think is the amalgamation of traditional and new age media for the PR fraternity?

I think it is very important that PR agencies today understand new age media or non-traditional media as well. Influencers form a large part of media recommendations from agencies, even though many agencies have not fully grasped this space well. We have seen how some agencies have pushed digital media influencer activities across all of their clients even if it is a force fit. As a result, several brands end up spending on poorly designed influencer programs that has absolutely no impact on their business. Agencies now need to adopt analytics based campaign management and reporting, which is one reason we have done away with the archaic cost-benefit analysis that generally agencies do.

How are communication agencies leveraging newer technologies in creating stories and making an impact?

The lines between PR, Digital, Social as well as Advertising is blurring. We develop the strategy for the clients and work with their other communications partner to execute it. We look at all options in how to best tell a client’s story and not just ‘media’. At The Prophets we work with vendors providing allied PR services that leverage different technologies for news tracking, analysis, information dissemination etc that help us in being more efficient and effective as strategists.

What paradigm shift have you noticed in the industry?

As I said earlier, the more PR industry has changed the more it has remained the same. The single biggest factor that has impacted the industry is access to information. This was non-existent when I started my career. We are able to gather and assimilate information at a faster pace and hence able to provide more accurate analysis to our clients. On the flip side, it can also mean information overload.

What are your growth plans for the next 5 years?

I would not say we have not grown. I was the only one operating four years back and now we are seven, handing perhaps a slightly larger number of clients. We will continue to grow steadily while maintaining the value systems that we are known for. I reckon in 5 years we should have 25 more case studies that tell compelling brand stories and PR successes.

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