With gaining investor confidence and increased positive press, Infosys has seen the beginnings of a brand resurgence recently.
As the head of the IT giant’s communications efforts, Sukanya Ghosh has been at the forefront of leading Infosys’ communications strategy. In an exclusive interview with Image Management, Ghosh discusses Infosys’ recent PR efforts and how they contribute to corporate reputation.
Q. According to the Nielsen’s Corporate Image Monitor 2012-13, Infosys ranks amongst India’s most reputed companies. How do you think your PR efforts contribute to Infosys’ corporate reputation?
The reputation and goodwill that Infosys shares is a testimony to the principles of ethics, transparency and good governance that has defined this company since its foundation. However, we never take this goodwill for granted. We work at retaining and strengthening it every day. And this is not my individual or my team’s contribution alone. It is the result of the collective efforts of our leadership, employees, clients, shareholders and other stake holders who help in spreading the good word about us. The PR team can channelize this to reach various audiences. I believe that to enjoy the kind of reputation and good will we do, the DNA of the company has to be strong , and for Infosys, that holds true.
Q. An October article in the Economic Times claimed that you were seeking an “image makeover” after “a year of bad press.” What is your PR strategy for 2013 to change this?
I don’t believe I said that and hence I cannot really comment on claims. Our PR strategy continues to stay focused on creating better understanding of our growth strategy across stakeholders. Aligning our audiences around the exciting innovations taking place across our business – both within our traditional lines of businesses including Business IT Services and Consulting and System Integration as well as the new lines of businesses like Products and Platforms , Big Data, Cloud etc. ;and showcasing our investments and strong focus on creating world class teams globally.
Q. You also recently changed your PR agency after a 12-year relationship. What prompted this decision?
As we expanded our business capabilities, steered our company on its next phase of evolution and saw the increasing importance of new channels of communications, it was important to revisit the existing scope of work with our existing PR agency partner.
Q. What do you think about the trends of large corporates working with multiple PR agencies for their communications efforts?
I have worked in multiple agency situations as well as with one global agency set up – both have its virtues as long as you know how to make it work. End of the day it depends on how well you can make your agency team a part of your team and not treat them as mere ‘arms’ and ‘legs’ or ‘doers’ not ‘thinkers’. If one does not take the time to educate and induct their agency team into the core of their business and give them a clear understanding of what the company needs, single agency or multiple agency models, neither will work.
Q. How do you think PR can evolve into a boardroom function? Do you see it as an imminent next step, a long term eventuality, or neither?
Absolutely, PR can evolve into a boardroom function if we as professionals can raise the impact of the function for business. Any company’s board looks for experts who can not only effectively run the business today but can also strengthen the foundations of their business for the future. As long as one can create a tangible impact to the business rather than focus on the ‘communications’ or ‘PR’ goals alone , the function shall be respected and needed across the company and even at the board level.
Q. On an industry scale, do you predict any significant change in the PR budgets of companies? Why?
I do envisage changes in the PR budgets simply because we have many more audiences to think about- internal and external, as the walls between the two have disappeared in a connected world. We have many more channels to tap. We need an almost 24X7 monitoring of developments in this social media driven world. There are no more Saturday or Sundays (or Fridays which we said was a bad day for PR, as no one read the papers on a weekend!). To do all of this one definitely need more money.
Q. A PR agency job is often seen as a temporary stepping stone for a corporate communications role. Do you think this way of thinking has an adverse effect on the industry’s already limited talent pool?
It may be true for some people since a large corporate has its own attractions. However I also know of people, not so much in India but in other parts of the world, who opt to go back to an agency after working with corporates for a few years. Because they feel the range of experiences and learning is far more in an agency environment. They get to deal with many different clients and portfolios.
Interviewed By Kunal Pal for Image Management