PRWeek recently unveiled its Global Power Book. While PR in India is yet to poise as a developed, structured and organized industry surprisingly enough a select few succeeded to make their way to the esteemed and rightly named Global Power Book. We tried to check with the winning warriors what all went in to reach the apex and how does the world appear from there?
The stature of yoga gurus from India rose globally by a few notches owing to UN’s International Yoga Day. That hit headlines all across. What didn’t was the story of another kind of doyens from India who’ve made their presence felt and appear to be fully loaded to sketch the best of communication road-map and face harshest challenges. Those are none other than the PR Gurus of India.
PR Week Global Power Book is an internationally renowned and well acclaimed document that lists the most influential Public Relations personnel in the PR industry worldwide. One may call it the Oscars of PR industry. That summarizes the amount of credibility, strength, creativity and strength required to be on it.
Twelve Indians have been able to make it to the Global Power Book this year. Some of them give tough competition to the biggest of the PR czars of the world.
Out of twelve personalities who have made it to the book three represent agencies while the other nine belong to the corporate sector.
Dilip Cherian happens to be one of the most prominent personalities on the list representing Indian PR agencies. Founding partner of Perfect Relations Dilip is one of those Indian PR gurus better known as Image Manager who could easily be called the father of PR in India. Decades gone by since he started, the industry has witnessed a drastic turnaround and transformation. From fax to mail, from press conference to tweets, from newspaper to sites and apps the scenario is nowhere close to where Dilip Cherian started. What amuses the most is the fact is that he still stands all firm and tall, not like a mile stone but a light house.
With an intention to unravel the mystery behind his ‘PR Power’ we asked Dilip Cherian about the dynamics of the PR sector and its future.
“The big opportunity in tomorrow’s PR space that we are gearing up for is ‘The new World of Fragmented Attention of Millenials’. This means that PR has to create techniques that ‘steal’ their attention fragments to tell them our client’s stories. It’s a New World and ensures we are constantly innovating,” says Dilip Cherian.
Speaking about the hurdles in the course of PR he adds, “The Challenge that Big Groups like Perfect Relations face today are not totally new. Scale is. Challenges therefore multiply. With 5 entities and over 500 colleagues we have to constantly identify micro-teams with mini leaders, maxi leaders and variations of each theme. That’s how we keep the troops energized & innovative.”
Dilip has also served on just as prestigious PR Lions Jury at 60th Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, France. He has been elected to IPRA’s (International Public Relations Association) Global Council as the India Council Member and has been an advisor to the President of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI). Dilip was also elected to IPRA’s (International Public Relations Association) Global Council as the India Council Member.
Sharif Rangnekar, Director and CEO, Integral PR Services, talking about the dynamic nature of the PR sector states, “It feels good to be part of the power list with so many well-established professionals. In my journey as communications consultant, what has mattered most is the deep desire to constantly redefine public relations in a manner that it expands its space creating greater opportunities for our clients while ensuring that PR is not stuck in time.”
Rangnekar, a former journalist with The Economic Times, recently stepped down as President of PRCAI after being in charge for four years.
Corporate Communication Czars
A big share of the names listed from India came from the corporate world. We tried capturing their reaction as well.
Roma Balwani, on being selected as one of the brightest and most influential PR professionals globally by the PRWeek’s Global Power Book 2015 says, “I dedicate this to my colleagues at Vedanta, my parents and my mentor Mr. B.I. Bhambhani. It has been a fascinating journey. I am privileged to have worked with some of the most gifted entrepreneurs, corporate leaders and executives across industries. I strongly believe that with every passing year the number of Indians in the PRWeek Global Power Book will rise.”
“My confidence is reinstated when I see the highly talented, hard-working and committed young professionals, who have the conviction to proactively change the world for better.”
Pertinent to mention here, Roma comes with more than three decades of experience in the Communications industry, with vast experience, insight and intellect.
“In PR, each day presents itself with new challenges and opportunities. My biggest learning from all these years has been to never compromise with your integrity, no matter what. The rest will fall in place effortless,” Roma adds. Currently the President of Group Communications, CSR & Sustainability, at Vedanta Resources, Roma Balwani has played key role in the making of some of the biggest power brands in India.
Excited to rub shoulders with the who’s who of Public Relations across the globe, Shweta Shukla, Director of communications and government affairs, Asia-Pacific, Kimberly-Clark says, “I am truly humbled to be on this list. Thanks to P&G and Kimberly Clark – I have been very lucky to get deep exposure across all disciplines of communications from Brand and Corporate PR to CSR to Government Affairs across APAC. The biggest driver of being in PR continues to be and be seen as a business leader who delivers tangible business impact.”
Raza Khan’s reaction on finding place on the esteemed Power Book was, “I feel humbled to be part of this prestigious PRWeek Global Powerbook 2015 that features who’s who of the global PR industry. The growing no. of Indians in the list also highlights the importance that the companies operating in India (both Indian and global) are attaching to our profession. With India all set to lead the global economic growth story, I am confident that more professionals from the country will become a part of this list.”
Talking about the PR trends Raza adds, “In today’s digitally connected society, rapid changes are taking place in the media consumption habits of the people. It is, therefore, increasingly becoming important for the organizations to adapt to these changes to remain relevant among the stakeholders. It is this facet of the profession that makes it so exciting and interesting.” Raza Khan is the Head of Group Corporate Communications, Bharti Group.
Kamlesh Sharma the Director of Public affairs and communications, India and Southwest Asia, Coca-Cola India is not only exalted with the honor but has an excellent piece of advice for industry professionals. Talking about the revered list he says, “This perhaps recognizes the effort that goes into protecting the shine on brands like Coca-Cola. And as communication professionals, we better be capable of doing our bit for these brands because brands belong to consumers. It feels good to be a part of a global list that has a very few Indians, clearly reflecting the mark that Indian communication professionals are making on the world stage.”
Sharing a TIP for his contemporaries in the sector, Kamlesh adds, “As a tribe we need to continue to be current, contextual and co-related on content, if we need to get the consumer’s or stakeholder’s mind space, in an era of information overload. I congratulate everyone on the list, some of whom I have known as friends, and some others as professionals. It does take years of persistence to be able to get here.”
Responding to the query on how does feel to be on the mega list, Barsha Panda, Head of Corporate Communications, Yahoo says,“Can one feel excited, honored and humbled at the same time? Well, that’s exactly how I feel about being featured in PR Week’s Global Power Book 2015 – to have been placed alongside masters and champions from the global PR community.”
Talking about what it takes to reach there, she adds, “In my experience, to be a respected Communications leader, one has to earn a ‘real’ voice at the table, and its not easy. It means rising above the ‘wordsmith’ and ‘messaging’ tag. It requires sticking one’s neck out, advocating ‘authenticity’ in brand building. It calls for bold experimentation, and pragmatic calls on ideas that look good only on paper. You have to rise above being a PR master, and think and act like a business leader.”
Others that made it to the list include names like Madan Bahal, Co-Founder and MD of Adfactors PR, , Madhavi Jha Director of Corporate Communications, Honeywell India, , Sonya Madeira, Managing Partner, Rice Communications, Anil Nayak, Senior director, communication and public affairs, Asia-Pacific Johnson & Johnson, Jamshed Wadia, Head of social and digital media, Asia-Pacific and Japan, Intel.