PR is all-consuming and far more exciting than before: Diana Fernandes, Bloomingdale PR
Fernandes, Founder-Director of Bloomingdale Public Relations, shares her thoughts on the changing industry, emerging trends and why PR will be all-encompassing in the times to come
Diana Fernandes is the Founder-Director of Bloomingdale Public Relations, one of the fastest-growing boutique PR firms that has offices in India, Singapore & UAE. Over the years, Bloomingdale has catered to over 100clients across industry verticals with services ranging from Public Relations to Social Media, and Influencer Marketing to Digital Advertising. With over 16 years of experience in the field, Diana has worked with clients across various verticals such as Hospitality, Lifestyle, Startups, Technology and Real-estate.
Exchange4media had a candid interaction with Diana Fernandes on her entrepreneurial journey, her thoughts about the changing communication industry and more.
How does it feel being a women entrepreneur at such a young age?
Honestly, I don’t think age or gender has anything to do with entrepreneurship. It requires grit, determination and persistence.
I was also very fortunate to have the opportunity to work closely with the leaders of my previous organisation; it helped me learn the tricks of the trade. At a very young age, I was given the liberty to run the place as in my own way and that’s when I learnt a lot on the job too.
What has been the key learnings throughout your career?
One of the biggest things I have learnt in my career is that there’s no short cut to hard work. I would to an extent replace this with smart-work; however, I truly believe there’s no short cut to success. You’ve got to do what it takes to get the job done.
Even today, despite 16 years of being in the industry, I still ensure that I closely monitor the work done even on the smallest of clients. It is this involvement over the years, that I feel has set us apart from the competition. Nothing beats understanding your clients well and delivering their marketing goals! However big we may be in future, it will always be my constant endeavour to be there for my clients whenever they need us.
Another most important aspect that I must mention is nurturing your team. We are in the business of selling human intellect, and everything we are is because of the people who work with us, and hence great team-building and understanding people is foremost in my scheme of things.
Finally, with a focus on work; I think it’s also important to be there for your family; it’s a fine balance that I think keeps me going. Workout, vacations, days-off, reading, watching Netflix and ensuring that I run my business and my business doesn’t run me is what I have focussed on all these years!
How has the communication landscape changed over the course of time?
The Communications industry has come a long way from beeping fax machines and buzzing phones. With this, the Public Relations space in India has evolved too! The definition of PR has changed drastically. Today it is no more confined to articles in newspapers and magazines or shows on TV. Public Relations today is much, much more. It's all-consuming and far more exciting. There are no defined boundaries as to what services come under PR and what doesn’t. An agency needs to do whatever it takes to ensure the client’s brand is visible and highly recalled among its TG to stay ahead of the curve.
With the incredible burst of digital and media, staying relevant has become more complicated, nuanced and challenging. It was time for public relations to quickly transform itself to our fast-changing world. And it did.
Public Relations today goes far beyond event-based communication or crisis management. It’s a consistent, conscious effort to carefully handle brand reputation in an era where it takes a lot to stand out amidst the noise. In my experience of over 16 years, I have seen brands move from simple press kits to holograms, and I also know that we’re only seeing just the tip of the iceberg.
Moving ahead, PR is going to be even more all-encompassing and the lines will blur to eventually fade. Moreover, with digitalisation; brands are today looking at a more global rather than local approach. Here are some trends that I think will keep changing the face of PR as we know it, and we have no choice but to keep up: data and analytics, increased focus on digital media alongside print mediums, importance of brand’s profitability, digital-first content, CSR, ROI-driven aproach and quantifiable targets and the Importance of Storytelling.
According to you, how important is earned media for a PR agency?
Earned (non-paid) form of media is the base of the PR industry in India. Clients / Brands approach PR companies primarily to secure earned visibility across media verticals. Nothing beats a third party endorsed article (journalist written article) and that’s what PR is all about. Even with numerable mediums of communication and the advent of new mediums and formats for content dissemination and consumption (newspapers + magazines + wire agencies + radio + websites + blogs + social media + podcasts + vlogs + youtube videos + vimeo), good old earned media prevails. The platforms may vary and the landscape has certainly expanded; however, the focus still remains on earned media.
You were among the winners of "top 100 influential" list. How do you feel about it and how will this recognition add value to your profile?
I am very grateful to the entire team at exchange4media for this recognition. It’s my first ever award; so, this one is extra special. It came as a huge surprise to me. Being at the event with my mom was nothing short of magic! It’s an honour that will stay with me for as long as I am and I’m truly thankful to everyone at E4M who thought I was worthy of this. It brought me tremendous recognition, not only within the industry and my peers, but also across prospective clients, journalists, friends and family. It was a great platform to also meet and interact with so many industry stalwarts whom I probably had only heard of. Meeting them in person was amazing and I have certainly made a lot more friends in the industry after this event and award.
What are your plans for 2020?
2020 is all about growth and taking the next big leap. We’ve come a long way from where we started in 2013. Today we are a bigger, stronger and a robust team fully capable of handling challenging clients across services and verticals. In India, apart from our presence in Mumbai, we look to expand in Delhi and Bangalore this year. We’ve already begun work on this and we should be having a full-fledged team in both cities before the start of the new financial year.
My future plans are also centred around making Singapore as big as India and focussing on the APAC market from there.
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