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Fulcrum Awards

The Godrej PRmoment India 3030, in partnership with PR Newswire

23rd March 2017


This year's entries have certianly been the toughest to pick. Young PR professionals went all out with their entries. One entry was done entirely using 'Game of Thrones' as the theme.  Another used iconic Bollywood film, 'Andaaz Apna Apna' to showcase the story of how to do PR for PR. There were many more video entries than last year - and 128 entries in all. And the jury, consisting of 18 distinguished corporate communications and PR professionals were certainly, very impressed.

The winners are a diverse lot, from PR leads for a disrupting fin tech company, representatives from small, innovative start up firms, individuals who are design artists who help the world of PR. We also have a list of special mentions who the jury felt deserved to be recognised.

All this was only possible with the help of our sponsors: PR Newswire and Godrej Industries Limited. A big thank you to them :

My dear friends,

Hearty congratulations on being selected as part of the Godrej PRmoment ‘30 under 30’ list! The jury has chosen you from nearly 130 entries. You will now be seen as the young stars of our industry; so with this recognition comes immense responsibility!

In a fast evolving business environment with multiple external stimuli impacting business performance, and with multiple disruptive modes of communications and platforms for data consumption by the stakeholders, the operative scope of a PR professional has favourably amplified. Today, we significantly impact multiple levers — reputation, employee retention, crisis mitigation, sales, stock price, stakeholder engagement and many more. However, our industry has probably not got the due it truly deserves.

The time is now,  there are technologies that support us, and the need for PR has slowly been realised by more and more organisations. It is now up to us to raise the bar of our deliverables and results by demonstrating the impact that we can create.

I wish you the best and look forward to meeting and learning from each one of you, very soon!

Cheers!

Sujit Patil

Vice President and Head, Corporate Communications
Godrej Industries Limited and Associate Companies
@Sujitpatil

Dear 2017 winners,

First of all, huge congratulations for being truly outstanding in your field. This year's entries were of a particularly high quality showing great creativity and talent - so you should be justly proud of being selected for this accolade.

In today’s world of converging media and fake news, the value of trusted sources and earned media is higher than ever, meaning the role of PR is continually growing in importance and extending its influence. This is why PR is the industry of choice for the brightest and best such as yourselves.

Enjoy this moment and I hope you will all build on this success to continue great careers well into the future. 

Jeremy Thompson, CEO (EMEA & India) Cision/PR Newswire


Read on to discover this year’s 3030 winners!

Aditya Kshirsagar, 28, communications manager, NFN Labs
@a_itya

His Twitter profile says hacking PR to make it measurable. This happens to be one of the former tech writer (Technoholik at ET Now) chief preoccupations about PR.

That is apart from creating shareable content and building relationships. Urging his fellow communicators to keep on top of their skill set, Kshirsagar flags off the following relevant learning areas:

PR for PR
Not one to sit back and complain, Kshirsagar says the future of the PR business is technology. He feels that like the IT business, PR has a bloated, out dated business model. A case in point is what he calls, “ The telemarketing of a press release.”

Kshirsagar’s Tough Talk!
In my conversations with the press, they have told me that they feel ‘spammed’ by PR agencies. So much so, that journalists have resorted to carrying what they call a ‘PR phone.’ I understand that follow ups are necessary but in a world full of cookies, it isn’t necessary. The objective of the follow-up call is to find out if the recipient has read it. Well, then why call? There are scores of tools out there that track emails.

Some of the key campaigns Aditya Kshirsagar has worked on:

Apple Inc.
Key Learning

 Product sourcing without souring media relationship
“Apple products are much coveted amongst media personnel. But with a limited inventory it was always a challenge to maintain cordial media relations. To solve this, we developed a rhythmic cycle of sourcing and providing products to journalists. The key factor here was to measure impact by providing products to a mix of mainline outlets and blogs. Each cycle took into consideration the quarterly goals as stated by the client.”

Approach:
Source product-> Inform them about key features-> Email reviewers guide

Repurposing content for NFN Labs wallpapers
When ISRO launched 104 satellites, I took the opportunity to plug our Rocket wallpaper onto the trending #hashtag.

Aditya Vikram Jain, 29, account manager — public affairs, Edelman India
@adityavjain  
 

This PR man has had an interesting two-year-long stint at the department of rural development at the Government of Gujarat. Jain helped to build communications plans for wide ranging rural development schools covering education, employment and sanitation:



His plans included ‘Nukkad Nataks', puppet shows, folk art and creation of activity books. The communication plan was well accepted and was implemented in all the 33 districts of Gujarat.

Am most proud of…
The tag line for the MGNREGA scheme in Gujarat was suggested by me — ‘Tamaaro Rozgaar. Tamaaro Adhikaar.’ which helped me realise my potential as a multilingual marketer.” Aditya Vikram Jain

At Edelman India, Jain is stationed on site at EESL,  which is implementing a national programme for LED based Home (Unnat Jyoti by Affordable LEDs for All or UJALA) and Street Lighting (Street Lighting National Programme or SLNP).

In order to engage on a subject that is not widely talked about,  the #iLEDtheway campaign,  a combination of PR and Marketing, invited mass consumer participation .Jain’s role in  executing this campaign led to his promotion to account manager in 9 months from senior account executive.

Afsha Khalfay, 25, manager, GolinOpinion
@afshakhalfay

This young PR professional is sure brewing up a satisfying cup of coffee with her campaigns.  She was entrusted with sensitive and critical projects such as Howard Schulz, CEO, Starbucks visit to India, repositioning the Starbucks brand post the FSSAI crisis and announcing hospitality industry’s biggest merger of Starwood and Marriott.

Top Achievement
Announcing the Starwood - Marriott merger- “The merger announcement was strategised and was led completely by me. Considering the talk about the merger had begun in 2015, it was assumed that the media would not be quite interested. Nevertheless, the merger was announced through a select round table which was supported with infographics and two press releases — one that had details only on brands while the other release that spoke about the transactional details.” Afsha Khalfay    

And for those who would like to apply for 3030 next year, do check out her video entry:

Amrutha Raman, 28, PR consultant, Aim High Consulting
@amrutha_raman

This self confessed Rafael Nadal worshipper is a sports geek. This allowed Raman to jump in and play the game with confidence, shouldering the responsibility of driving impactful key messages for clients in the high-octane venture capital and private equity (VC/PE), social impact and financial inclusion landscape.

Her clients, Helion Venture Partners, Lok Capital and the IFMR Group, considered PR as a key and only vehicle to manage perceptions.

Client Speak
I think her biggest strength is that she immerses herself in the account and has huge empathy for the client. Also ever so responsive and great work ethic.
Sanjeev Aggarwal, senior managing director, Helion Ventures

Raman believes its the under 30 PR pros who are driving messaging at potential unicorns. To find out why she thinks so, listen in:

Aneesha Singh, 29, account manager, Edelman India
@aneesha_s

Former Morgan Stanley employee, self defined grammar nazi and Indian Navy brat, but not necessarily in that order, Aneesha Singh main life lessons have come from ‘Finding Nemo,' so much so that my Instagram username is JustKeepSwimming

In her own words, Singh says, “ Little Nemo with one tiny fin and short term amnesiac Dory have made quite an impression on my life. I learnt that each of us have to make a choice... see our personal limitations as an insurmountable challenge or venture out of one’s cocoon-like comfort zone to swim against the tide (with the Australian sea-turtles would be an added bonus).”

Case Study

Singh’s moment to shine : The tripping of Unit#5 of Tata Power’s Trombay Power Station,  September 2014

The incident

Background:
Power supply in Mumbai was affected due to tripping of Unit#5 of Tata Power’s Trombay Power Station.Immediately after, the team and I fielded more than 50 calls from mainlines, financials, regional, electronic media requesting details of the situation. Media was abuzz as parties with vested interests and competitors of Tata Power shared various statements on the power outage. The day went by with little to zero communication to the media which resulted in overhyped speculation regarding the incident.

The plan:
1 Gathered accurate intelligence from journalists planning stories on the Mumbai power outage.
2 Tracked social and electronic media real-time to understand the stakeholders’ take on the crisis, and to flag-off any overtly negative coverage
3 Organised a Press Conference in the Tata Power office in Mumbai the very next day after the tripping to address media queries, disperse speculations and share an honest brief on the incidents of the past day and the actions taken by Tata Power to solve the crisis.

Ankita Prasad, 25, consulting associate-account manager, Genesis Burson-Marsteller
@AANKITAPRASAD

The one and only SRK was her first crush, her clients send her birthday cakes and she is on a mission make press releases redundant. Just some of the things about Ankita Prasad that makes her a 3030 winner!

This young PR professional has worked on high end tech clients such as the Micromax Informatics owned Yu Televentures and Opera Software.

For Yu Televentures the first one year’s campaign, was entirely dependent on PR. The PR campaign made use of an exclusively created forum called ‘YUPlayGod’ . Press announcements were made through the forum which was followed by technology evangelists and consumers.

No  press releases were issued, but by engaging with more 2500 geeks across all the tier 2-3 cities, the brand became one of the highest selling online brands in India beating competitors like Xiaomi and OnePlus.

Why PR for PR should be an SRK movie!
As an industry we have been doing an abysmal job in creating awareness and excitement about PR. Even the media professionals we work with closely sometimes ponder as to what do PR professionals really do. There is a dire need to make Public Relations look larger than life-just like an SRK flick with Karan Johar or Sanjay Leela Bhansali. Right now, Public Relations is like an unheard art movie which needs to get its due credits. PR has all the ingredients to be a blockbuster hit but PR professionals need to get some zing while talking about PR.

Deepak Kapoor, 28, image manager,  Perfect Relations
@DeepTheK

A self confessed opinionated adventurer, Deepak Kapoor can always be relied upon to spot the story in the trend. Kapoor is also founder of ‘The Commune’ an interactive group for media, marketing and communications professionals.

Client Speak
Deepak is an extremely capable PR professional, not afraid to get his hands dirty and get involved to help tell the best story possible about our brand. He always delivers coverage, but is not afraid to challenge and suggest an alternative if what we have requested will not bring results. He is able to do this because of his wealth of contacts and knowledge of the market. BBC can be a difficult client, not least because of the time zones and there are cultural differences which have to be overcome. But Deepak has been patient and flexible in his dealings with not just me but also with the executives and talent we send into market. He is a real asset to our account and the agency.
Helen Deller, Senior Publicist, BBC Global News Limited, London

How to do PR for PR:  “Many successful companies including Apple, eBay and Twitter were built by multiple leaders owning different skills. Likewise, PR agencies and corporate communications teams need to align together as a team and create an image for the profession which is at par with advertising, media or marketing. This will lead to various stakeholders acknowledging our work as well.” Deepak Kapoor 

Deepanshi Tandon , 28, senior account manager, Edelman India
LinkedIn : Deepanshi Tandon

Deepanshi Tandon’s confidence shines through, right from this introductory sketch about herself:

As to why she stand out, in her own erm, sketch:

There is proof too!

Client says Rah Rah!
Through skilful negotiation, she prolonged Edelman’s contract with the brand for two more years...

Deepanshi Tandon has been a stellar resource on Rolex since the time I have come on board. What I like best about her is the ability to go beyond the mandate and explore various possibilities for the brand. Her dedication and passion make her stand out among the people that I have worked with. She understands Rolex’s style of working and most importantly brand ethics and brand language.
Rolex watches are symbols of excellence, performance and innovation. She’s a complete brand fit as these characteristics reflect in her work output. Her strategic thinking and contribution to the brand demonstrate her media expertise and ability of problem solving in times of need.

Milind Nadkarni, head-communications marketing, Rolex

Doing PR for PR!
Releasing...
The Life of ‘PRarelaal’ 


Devika Premlal, 25, associate, Weber Shandwick India
@devikapremlal

This chicken biryani lover from Bengaluru has worked for the Innova Crysta launch Press Conference in Pune, Platinum Etios launch test Drives and the Toyota Auction Mart inauguration.

My moment to shine!
Almost 6 months after I joined the organisation, I was assigned to manage the press conference in Pune, for the launch of the all new Innova Crysta. As the event was happening simultaneously across 9 cities, due to shortage of team members, I was the only person PR representative from the client side as well the consultancy side. By working closely with our network partner in Pune, I managed the whole event, with around 60+ media attending the event, resulting in all India coverage in Hindu Business Line, Financial Chronicle and other key regional Marathi newspapers.” Devika Premlal  

Divya Jain, 27, senior lead account consultant – client servicing, Value 360 Communications
@divjn

Divya Jain has worked for an astounding 120 clients in the last five years across 25 industry sectors. These verticals are as varied as AI, Polymers, Bitcoins and gaming.

Coming from a family where no one had a job, but got into the family owned business, Jain had to ask her parents for a two year run in PR to prove herself.

She got work on MyOperator, a call management system that supported Prime Minister Modi’s ‘Mann ki Baat,' call in radio programme.

Says Jain, “As the company partnered with the PM Office (PMO), the major challenge was to create visibility for ‘MyOperator’ other than The Prime Minister himself . The other challenge was to get better visibility for MyOperator with respect to its major competitor ‘Knowlarity’ which was also live with the ‘Kumbh Mela' Campaign .

The ‘Out of the Box’ moment!
“The tweets made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi about ‘Mann ki Baat.’ were used as a framework for positive stories for MyOperator. Driven by all organic activity, helped the firm grow its’ social media follower base by 300% .” Divya Jain

Fern Pais, 27, assistant account manager, Adfactors PR
@FernPais

An alumni from the prestigious Xavier Institute of Communications in Mumbai, Fern Pais says she is a “strategy champion and an effective storyteller”, who gets a kick out of front page coverage.

She is also a strong advocate of content, having worked to help plan and promote  the stockbroking firm Karvy Group’s flagship initiative ‘India Wealth Report'-an analysis of India’s wealth portfolio and investment preferences.

Breakout Work
IDBI Bank was keen to commemorate the eight anniversary of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks. It partnered with Sea Hawks – a six-member swimming team comprising personnel from the Indian Air Force and Mumbai police, and two civilians — to attempt a world record for the longest-ever 1,000-km open-water relay day-and-night swim from Mumbai to Mangalore.

Pais’s Contribution
I recommended a four-phase media engagement programme through the 3-week duration of the swim which successfully stoked stakeholder interest in the event. Of the 4 media programmes, I recommended holding a mid-sea media confab — a novel concept in India and probably not-too-common elsewhere — taking 20 journalists on a speedboat to interact with the swimmers and experience their challenges.

Impact !
  1. The 3-week media outreach involving over  500 journalists garnered over 750 million (print + digital) impressions with repeated front page and full page coverage in leading publications. Separately, there were 20,000 electronic impressions, the highlights being – ET Now and DD News.
  2. Majority of the headlines mentioned IDBI Bank thereby positioning it as the driving force behind the event. During the curtain-raiser phase, I pitched stories of the ‘super 6’ swimmers generating two front page anchor stories (The Hindu and DNA).
  3. #IDBISwimOfTheCentury trended nationally on Twitter on the day of the main event in Mumbai. The online edition of The Times of India uploaded the Mumbai flag-off video on its Facebook page that garnered 420,000 views.

Komal Kakkar, 30, manager — corporate communications, Apollo Munich Health Insurance
@komal1003

Six years ago, Komal Kakkar saw an advertisement by Apollo Munich about ‘Uncomplicating’ health insurance. 

The stunning ad was entirely shot using art installation

Moved by its mission, Komal decided that she wanted to work with the firm, she got in touch with Apollo’s marketing manager and got the job.

Among her top achievements at the firm have been to help  set up a ‘Research & Data Analytics Lab’ at Apollo Munich that analyses internal data to get deeper insights on consumer behaviour, changing preferences, disease/claims pattern, and treatment costs. Insights derived from this lab are used to craft effective PR campaigns.

Breakout Campaign
With India suffering from frequent dengue outbreaks, Komal was instrumental in driving end to end PR strategy for creative campaigns designed to promote Apollo Munich’s economical over the counter insurance plan for an infectious disease:

Creating Awareness about Dengue-#splashthepuddle

1. Iconic cricketer Sourav Ganguly’s video talked about his daughter’s encounter with Dengue and urged everyone to splash every puddle they see.


2. ‘Kill the Killer’ used gaming to educate people  with the message-"Not all mosquitos can be killed, one needs to stay completely covered rather than merely using devices to banish them.”

Kuheli Ray, 28, senior account manager, Edelman India
@CheeseToast_

Kuheli Ray describes herself as totally filmy! It’s no wonder that she suggests using 'Andaz Apna Apna' to do PR for PR. More on that in a bit.

Kuheli has worked on campaigns for Fox Life and for GSK India brands ‘Horlicks Immunity’ and ‘Horlicks Kesar Badam’ . Work that earned her the client's nod of approval.

Says Deepa Dey, head communications for India sub continent, GSK Consumer Healthcare, “Kuheli supported the GSK Consumer Healthcare business as a part of the larger team. Her commitment to deadlines, ability to multitask and her curiosity for new media and easy  adoption of the same made her a valuable member of the team. During her stint on GSK, she also built strong relationships within the organisation and managed internal stakeholders well.”

In order to truly appreciate Ray’s love for PR and Bollywood, do check out this hilarious PR campaign on “ PR for PR”:

Lisha Jain, 27, account manager, Avian Media
@KutingChai

You know you are a Mumbai girl when your Twitter handle references cutting chai. Lisha has worked on several high octane clients such as L’ Oreal, Coca-Cola, McDonald’s and Venus Gillette.

Breakout Campaign
Coca-Cola India at 'Make in India 2016' was a special campaign as it was the ideal platform to drive conversations and create buzz around Coca-Cola India at the first-ever Make In India event held in Mumbai. We had to position Coca-Cola India as a responsible corporate entity by showcasing the company’s sustainable ways of doing business in India and how it integrates all interests of commerce, governance and society, using the Make In India platform.

Lisha’s contribution:
From planning to execution to on-ground co-ordination, successfully managed to be on top of things on all five days at Make In India. Simultaneously managed multiple activities and undertook different strategies for different launches.

  1. Exclusive PR Outreach: To reveal Fanta Green Mango and create curiosity, exclusively shared a teaser release with the ‘Press Trust of India’, which secured maximum online and print coverage a week prior to ‘Make In India. ‘
  2. Focused Outreach: Organised a panel discussion, along with the stakeholders, to highlight the ecosystem created by the company in India, which is contributing to the Make In India initiative.

Client Speak
Matrix India (L’Oreal India) “Any mistakes pointed out are not repeated. Lisha’s aggressiveness is a boon as she ensures more coverage with our magazines.’’
Darayus Mehta, senior manager marketing, L’Oreal India Pvt .Ltd - professional products division

Megha Suyal, 30, account director, Edelman India
@MeghaGee

Behind the PR persona is the soul of a poet and a music lover. This guitar playing PR pro established and led the digital practise during her stint at Hungama Digital Services.  In 2014, she was also instrumental in creating Hungama’s winning campaign for the GSK Global Digital Challenge to create awareness about child nutrition using digital campaigns for Africa:

At Edelman, Megha has worked on campaigns for Office 365-which included a Twitter campaign using the #SorryBoss to create awareness as well as campaigns for Mahindra XUV500 Launch and the Intel, ‘Without my PC’ campaign.

Humans of PR
In order to create awareness about the PR professional, Megha suggests a ‘Humans of PR’ campaign to tell the stories about the people who work in PR. Here’s a glimpse of how it would play out:

Campaign name: Humans of PR #PeRspective
A simple yet impactful initiative, that highlights the human nature of the field and gives an insight into what seems a well-oiled machine. 

Initiate a campaign that’s done through social platforms + video bytes....ask clients, consumers, media, journalists, bloggers...everybody just one single question — what do PR people do in their job? We do online listening, analyse the insights and derive the key talking points for the next phase!

We show what we hear & read, impact mindsets & bust the myth by showcasing what it takes for a person to understand brands ranging from a jargon heavy B2B brief, to a consumer savvy FMCG campaign.

 

Michelle Lobo, 23, associate, Weber Shandwick India
@Mich16L

A follower of Howard Roark’s life philosophy and Coldplay in equal measure, this Mumbai gal works with the corporate and finance practise at Weber.

She considers herself an integrated communications professional and has worked with global clients.

One of the most interesting campaigns she has worked on is the Fullerton India ‘ Pashu Vikas Divas ‘ Fullerton India is a leading NBFC in India that provides financial products. The company organised ‘Pashu Vikas Divas’ - India’s largest cattle care event for the second consecutive year in 2015.

Glimpse of the campaign
- Phase 1 of this campaign included reaching out to media via listicles to inform folk across the country’s rural belts about these camps.
- Phase 2 was driven through a press conference in Chaksu (Rajasthan) and press releases across key markets in India. Irfan Pathan was hired as the brand ambassador for the campaign.
- The program was covered in print in 90+ publications across the country.

Nayantara Nath, 24, senior account executive, public affairs practice Edelman India
@nayantaranath

Nayantara Nath’s first job straight out of the prestigious Indian Institute of Mass Communications was with Edelman India. She is also the youngest senior account in the public affairs practise at Edelman India.

She has worked for the Tata Trusts as part of a 3-member team that successfully negotiated for an increased mandate to support the Trusts in advocacy towards social causes in the space of education, nutrition, health and sustainable agriculture. This involved changing perceptions of key stakeholders, drafting policy recommendations, creation of authored articles placed in key publications and building momentum around causes that required immediate government intervention.

Breakout Moment
International exposure with the Energy Efficiency Services Limited

I was privileged to be chosen as a member of the delegation that accompanied the client to Paris, France for a month-long engagement to build momentum around India’s position on climate change at the United Nations Conference of Parties (COP21) Summit.

Prajakta Kuwalekar, 26, account manager — strategic communication and advocacy , Adfactors PR
@prakukar

Prajakta Kuwalekar likes food, travel and is obsessed with politics. A Mumbai girl who is at ease in saada ‘Dilli’. This savvy 26 year old has worked with a fistful of state governments including in Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu Chhattisgarh and Jharkand.

She was also the lead on the pitch that that won work with the Government of Andhra Pradesh.

At this young age, she is working on helping change perceptions among the people in a conflict ridden, Naxalite, region in India.

Client Speak
Prajakta’s team developed outreach and advocacy measures whose effectiveness was quantifiable through progressive results. There is an experiential touch to the way she thinks, bringing forth innovation.

Recently, Prajakta led a new initiative of offering professional counsel to key public stakeholders in distressed districts of our state. I believe Prajakta handles such tough assignments well mainly because of her understanding of social aspects and her passionate approach to these issues.


Rajat Kumar (IAS) Joint Secretary to Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh CEO, Naya Raipur Development Authority Government of Chhattisgarh

Pratishtha Kaura, 26, associate manager, Text100 India
@PR_wali

A Huff Po blogger, the PR manager for her own PR firm and a senior account executive to boot, Pratishtha Kaura is an impressive example of the modern young PR professional. She is equally comfortable influencing and being an influencer in her own right. Now wonder she calls herself a ‘PR Journalist’!

Watch her story here:

In keeping with her desire to promote PR, take a look at this infographic Pratishtha has created:

Priya Dhawan, 27, senior account manager, consumer marketing, Edelman India
@priyadhawan89

A fitness freak herself, Priya Dhawan helped strategise and execute a n media strategy for Reebok’s ‘FitToFight’ campaign.

She was also instrumental in using the iconic Mumbai Dabbawalla’s  for a KFC campaign.

Breakout Campaign
If you saw Mumbai Dabbawallas’ delivering KFC, you know what got them to do that! To get people excited about a food product, a lot lies on how it is launched. The aim was to build up the lunch occasion. The differentiator to launch the meal box stood in the experiential.

The Dabbawalas are a significant part of every Mumbaikar and it was one of the most creative uses by KFC to get office goers (their core consumer for this offering) to sample their new product.

This was one of a milestone campaigns for the brand as KFC sold 1 million meal boxes in a matter of just 6 weeks.

Priyanka Serrao, 28, Senior Account Manager - Brand, Edelman India
@PriyankaSerrao

She describer herself as a food hacker on her Twitter bio, has worked for top campaigns for the jewellery division of Titan and is justifiably proud of her work for differently abled athletes playing tennis.

Priyanka Serrao’s Breakout Moment
A key achievement from the year gone by is when I led the team which made a difference to the lives of wheelchair tennis athletes in India. While pitching for a new business, I received an opportunity to collaborate with the ‘Tabebuia Open’, India’s first ‘Wheelchair Ranking Tennis Tournament’. After getting an understanding of the landscape of wheelchair tennis in a cricket-crazed nation like ours, I rallied a team of volunteers who were excited to make a difference on a pro-bono basis. We decided to make the players themselves the voice of our press engagement and we associated with Rohan Bopanna, Indian professional tennis player, to help bring these stories to life. Stories were shared nationwide and people were talking about the importance of giving athletes not only the right opportunities, but also the right facilities to help them excel. We began a conversation that had the potential to change the game for Indian Wheelchair athletes, literally.

Here is how she would share her story in PR

Radhika Banta, 29, senior account manager, Creation 
@radhi29

The opening lines of her introduction reads like this : “I am the Khaleesi from House Creation, the driving force responsible for strategic planning, visibility and impact for key accounts and PR mandates . I, rider of dragons and the slayer of crisis, have learnt to anticipate challenging situations and being ready with solutions before the crisis hits the ground.”

Breakout Moment
Met Business Goals: “Led a strategic campaign to create channel mind space for ‘Star World Premiere HD’ in India with the launch of Game of Thrones Season 6’. Met business objectives of the client as the channel achieved No. 1 position at 10 pm slot for all the 10 episodes in English GEC category with our suggested approach for media as well as marketing. Also, the channel had the largest SOV in media with brand mention in news stories. 

Her entry form is replete with pop culture references to Dr. Who, Mad Men and Lunchbox.

But frankly, she had us at Khaleesi.

Sameer Muley, 27, senior designer, Edelman India
@SameerMuley1

Sameer Muley is equally at home with tech, art and coding, seemingly contradictory areas of expertise. It’s this unique mix that lets him come up with highly creative ideas for key clients such asGE and Tata Global Beverages.

Breakout Moment

For Tata Coffee, I worked with our team to hijack a trending topic-Star Wars Day- and turn it into a heated battle between coffee lovers who fought for light or dark coffee supremacy called #MayTheFroth. I contributed to the conceptualisation of the campaign, and on the day of, I was part of a crack team of writers and designers who turned out timely creative to fuel discussion. The campaign trended for more than five hours on Twitter and was so popular, other Indian and international brands began using our hashtag to drive their own conversations.”

For GE, I conceptualised, built and sold an idea called #WhatWouldPredixDo that was selected as one of the best campaigns from Edelman’s 65 offices around the world.

Sanat Sinha, 24, senior account executive, technology practice, Edelman India
@sanatsinha29

Sanat Sinha believes in going beyond his proscribed PR role. Which is why he was the sole employee across India offices to help conduct college campus recruitments.

He says, “Being given this opportunity has helped turn the tide of opinion towards PR favourably in my alma mater – Jamia Millia Islamia, where both batches of students (who then went on to take up key roles in the media industry) were extremely anti-PR. Proof of this has been over 50% turnout of all students for the placement test this year, more than double of the previous year.“

Sanat has also successfully built mindshare for Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), from being yet another semiconductor company, to compete with industry heavyweights such as Intel and Nvidia. Starting by leveraging reactive media opportunities, he eventually got to drive the team’s efforts in creating and executing an integrated strategy covering both PR and Digital.

Siya Malhotra Mittal, senior account manager , Edelman India
@siyamalhotra

She has a mad love for interior design and is a PR professional by day. She has worked on campaigns for companies and brands as diverse as Durex, Magnum Ice Cream, Trump Towers and Diageo.
She was also part of a two member team that was flown to Edelman South Africa to train the local team in all things Unilever.

PR for PR
Siya is the first to admit that there is little awareness about what PR does: 

With clear cut and consistent communication about PR and here's the key according to Siya - outside the industry , the above meme will change to:

Shamit Mahajan, 29, manager, online insights and analytics , Edelman India
@shamitmahajan

Shamit Mahajan helped set up the digital analytics and listening practice for Edelman India clients. He was worked for top clients such as Tata Sons, Microsoft and PayPal. Among the campaign Shamit has worked on included PayPal’s separation from its parent company E-Bay in a listing day activity on Nasdaq. The objective in India was to increase the share of voice for PayPal and users talking about the news.

Says Shamit, “We engaged over 15 tech influencers specialised in the digital payments industry who also attended the event and gave real time updates on Twitter with the Hashtag #PYPL. The hashtag generated over 10% of the global conversations in India which was 2nd highest only after USA where the actual event took place.”

PR for PR
Shamit recommends that in order to showcase the true value of PR and real news in this a social experiment called “#PeRceptibleTrust can help.

The Idea
We set up digital kiosks across public places which shows news articles fabricated to give out wrong (more interesting and viral) pieces of information basis the interest areas of the user along with the real news pieces. The users can like, share (on social platforms) the news articles they like.

Post this we can come up with the results which signify the user behaviour to share all the information without judging the authenticity of the news. This is the value which the best PR firms provide to the brands as well as people.

 

Srishti Sharma, 25,  senior account executive, Avian Media  
@Sish_S

Bookworm, shutterbug, film bug; just some of the things that make up PR professional Srishti Sharma. She is a blogging Ninja, content the weapon she throws to bring down the client’s competition.

She would use her 3-hour commute to work to learn more about PR campaigns and has worked on campaigns for Phillips and Dyson.

Break out Moment
Becoming the content custodian “Taking each new writing exercise given to me as a challenge, each pitch, product note and press release had me sitting on draft after draft to get just the right mix of words — words that told the story of my brand. Aiming to lessen the edits from my managers and clients, I tried harder each time. With a little confidence vested in me from the team and client, I started taking ownership of the content completely and taking small risks. I tried a new approach with pitches (incorporating anecdotes, idioms and a little bit of the colloquial tongue) and it worked. It was such a hit that other teams (Absolut Elyx, BPFT and Vistara) roped me in to help them with their content work.”

Sonia Dhawan, 30, head communications, Paytm
@ Soniadhawn

Sonia has been leading the PR initiative at the high profile Paytm for the last seven years. This from it's early days to its current near iconic status as a fin-tech firm.

A thumbs up from marketing
As the Chief Marketing Officer, I work closely with Sonia from the communications team. She embodies our ‘Go Big or Go Home’ philosophy and has consistently delivered beyond expectations. Her in-depth understanding of the company’s business vision, products and operating procedures have gone a long way in establishing Paytm as one of the most trusted and loved brands in India.
Shankar Nath, Chief Marketing Officer, Paytm"

Sugandh Swani, 28, senior consultant, Weber Shandwick India
@SunsetScribbler

A dreamer and a poet who works in the very real world of PR, Sugandh Swani has worked on brands such as Pernod, Callaway, Max Meuller Bhawan’s and Goethe-Institut’s  ‘Year of Germany in India’ and a book launch for her personal favourite, SRK.

Among her work on high profile campaigns, what sets her apart is her personal ethics and reliability. And, most importantly, her ability to cause her colleagues to break out into laughter at odd times!

PR for PR
Sugandh recommends a 360 degree campaign for promoting PR:

Sugandh says the above should include:

  Social media amplification:
a. A song with Baba Sehgal on ‘Pyaar nahi PR’ (highlighting personalities like Prime Minister Modi and Salman Khan applauding their PR skills)
b. A series of ‘Failed Brand Reviews’ with Kannan Gill and Biswa
c. A video with AIB showcasing ‘Honest Indian PR companies’
d. A series of articles with ScoopWhoop highlighting 10 most important factors to success including PR, 10 things to remember for PR.

Vishal Vincent, 27, senior consultant, Weber Shandwick India
@weshallvincent

A sports enthusiast and a Manchester United supporter for life, Vishal Vincent has helped to create crisis communications protocol for  Clariant.

Vishal Vincent says he has traveled the length and breadth of the country to evaluate communication risks for some of the leading FMCG and chemical Companies in India.

Crisis Communications
I have worked on crisis communication projects for Mondelēz India Foods Ltd., Danone Narang Beverages, Clariant Chemicals, AZ Electronics, Godrej Industries to name a few. This experience has made me proficient in risks assessments & stakeholder mapping, developing crisis manuals & protocols, facilitating the rollouts of crisis manuals & trainings.

The distinguished jury also picked the following for special mention:
Jaison Rebello           Edelman India

Shri Priya Gopinath           

Weber Shandwick India
Suhasini Rajpal                   Taj Hotels Palaces Resorts Safaris
Tanushree Pruthi                 Avian Media
Chetna Sachdeva                Weber Shandwick India
Nupur Dhingra           Value 360 Communications
Saumya Tiwari            Edelman India
Divyabh Singh            Gutenberg
Prasad Karat               The PRactice
Deepti Dubey              Weber Shandwick

A special thank to our sponsors for their support for this special initiative:


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