On 23rd May 2020, SCoRe organised a masterclass with Kunal Kishore the co-founder of PR and communication firm Value360 Communications. He interacted with the students of SCoRe and shared a summary of his journey after establishing Value360, his expectations from the PR industry, and many insightful information.
Starting with the expectations and learning from his first job, he said that in his initial days of joining PR, he thought that this profession is going to be difficult but as he went deep down into public relations, he realized that how important is this profession for an organization. Some of the notable points he made were,
Further talking about the challenges that he along with his team faced after establishing his firm, Value360 Communications he says, in the first year of establishment his firm faced a global meltdown in 2008 due to which they lost a lot of big clients. So, they decided to take whatever clients are coming their way irrespective of the fact that whether the client is potential or not for them. This difficult phase taught them how to build communication influencing around an early stage company. Gradually they started getting chunks of startup brands as their clients. Today, the firm is proud to say that in the past ten years if India has produced 100 homegrown brands then 75% of those brands are the clients of Value360 from a very early stage before becoming brands. Working with many big brands’ communication they realised that content plays a major role in any communication and the immediate stakeholders of a PR company are the people who are writing their content on different platforms like journalists, influencers, employees. The best part was when Kunal was explaining his statements with examples of his real-life events. From difficult times to success stories, Kunal shared many insightful information with the students. Moving ahead, he talked about the works that Value360 has done during this Covid-19. The firm completely focused on the communications, what should be the right message with the right way of delivering during such a critical phase when demands have almost become zero for some of the clients.
After sharing his experiences and works, he took questions from the students of SCoRe to answers.
1. How do you think that some industries like retails will change their strategies even if they go digital? There are some people who are not yet habituated shopping online. Are brands thinking for them as well? If yes, then how they will strategise this situation?
Ans- The businesses and authorities are changing during the COVID. As an industry, what we believe is, beyond everything our lives are very important. So, businesses are preparing themselves and prioritising things and they are reinventing. People have become more sensitive and protective about themselves during this COVID so they have to change the approach and they are looking to change the approach to maintain social distancing. People will go to malls and shops to shop in malls and other shops but with keeping social distancing in mind. Post-COVID, we will be able to see the change in businesses and will welcome their consumers. It will also give rise to the gig economy.
2. Since #BoycottChina is trending on social media and we know that China is one of the biggest investors in the Indian Startup ecosystem. So, how as a communications specialist, we can deal with such a situation for a brand?
Ans- For dealing with such a situation in the past, we had researched and found that in almost every startup India, China has invested. So, we wrote a story in newspapers and mentioned that it’s not only one brand that has China as an investor but the whole Indian startup is surviving on the money of Japan and China. On the other hand, we started a parallel conversation that whether we should say no to trade and we included many economic advisors and professors of economy from reputed Universities of India. And we came to the conclusion that any diplomatic conflict should not impact the trade relationship of the country. So, in such a situation, you need to include third party advocates with credible names in the society or country to build a case for you. Don’t try to fight the situation alone, you will be in trouble.
3. Since everyone is working remotely and many challenges are faced by the companies. So, how are you managing to lead your team successfully?
Ans- What I feel as a leader is, this is a very testing time because you are not in an ideal situation where you can provide good infrastructure to your team where they can work properly. There are some people having a good internet connection and some don’t. In such a situation one should be empathetic towards their people. You want productive work from your team but for that, you cannot be aggressive about that. We are guiding our people, helping them through. We are working with seniors on how they can help their juniors to plan their day. Sensitizing the team without reprimanding them. So, in the past fifty-day lockdown, we closed almost 24 new clients because we were able to identify what sector was growing and the team was committed. One more thing I am doing is, for a fresher, working from home is not easy so we are including them in the calls so that they will at least understand what is happening while sitting at their homes.
4. Do you think that there are clients now who are willing to take more risks in terms of their communication approach than they were before? Do you think this change is happening?
Ans- Yes. There are clients who are pivoting themselves to the new normal. There are businesses that are changing their modules. Some companies are restarting.
So, Kunal answered such many question using his work experiences’ examples and ended the class with a parting comment for students that, “I know it is a very difficult time for you students to join the profession. I would advise you all to invest this time in upskilling yourselves, learn new things, try asking questions to your team members. You have to be eager to learn new things. All the very best for your future.”
– Tamanna Singh
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Tamanna Singh, an aspiring PR professional who is a student at School of Communications and Reputations (SCoRe). She completed her winter internship with GolinOpinion, Mumbai.
She is from Hazaribagh. She did her Bachelors in English literature from St. Collumba’s College Hazaribagh and has experience in teaching as an English teacher for 6 months in Rastra Bharti Academy, Udaipur. Tamanna has been a regional level player of Volleyball in her school time. Her blog is named as ‘The Perfect Desire’, where she shares her opinions and life experiences. Besides her academic schedule, Tamanna is always glued to music. She loves singing and dancing. For her music is important to start and end her day in a better way. She describes herself in three words, i.e, learner, funny, and a truly loyal person.