How different generations of PR professionals are dealing with the lockdown

Even as offices partially open up in orange and green zones, PR professionals are still looking at a prolonged spell of working under a lockdown. PRmoment India speaks to PR professionals across generations to find out how they are dealing with the situation.

For young account executive, Harshit Bagai, says, "This lockdown is no doubt taking a toll on budding PR Professionals like me, but at the same time if we look at the brighter side it is telling us to upskill. I have started learning digital marketing that will give an added advantage  in planning and strategizing digital PR campaigns."

Priyadarshi Shastri, the co-founder of startup SocioCamp PR, says " The lockdown has forced PR Agencies to shift towards digital promotions in a cost-effective way. Firms are working to find promotional techniques even for small businesses that never needed any digital marketing."

Staying motivated during the lockdown 

Rahat Beri, founder and managing director, Blue Ocean, IMC, the 70s and 80s kid says," We have still lived a life without the mall and the pub culture which the millennials haven't had a chance to experience. Those from this generation, in my opinion, would still be able to handle the situation by taking a few steps backwards. Their work approach too will be a lot easier. In fact, they take the lead in guiding their teams who are far less experienced in a lockdown situation such as this."

Having said that, Beri believes that, "Millennials in the industry have surprisingly adapted to the changes much quicker than one had expected...I witness that while the work from home approach has not brought down any significant change as one would have expected, I do realise that what they miss the most is socialising and the freedom that is very unique to urban centres such as Mumbai."

Beri also points out that, "Maybe this is the first time that the millennial generation is confined to their homes in a long while. This may also need parents, neighbours and partners to understand their frustration and empathize rather than being critical about it."

The millennial work challenge

Richy D Alexander is trying to take inspiration from chaos

Richy D Alexander, founder & CEO, Davidson PR & Communications is dealing with the leading a PR firm's work during the lockdown. 

He says, "Being a millennial PR agency, every day is challenging with exploring the possibility of a fresh approach. Unlike Tier I cities, the PR industry is still evolving in Tier-II cities like Kochi. While other PR agencies stay low our chase is in identifying new opportunities which are newsworthy even during this crisis situation. Going beyond just press release dissemination is something we give more focus to these days."

Alexander does admit very candidly that, "In comparison with PR agencies of other generations/groups, especially seasoned ones, we are still struggling with the concept of client convincing and lack of experience makes it difficult to identify the target audience for clients in different sectors."

But Alexander concludes on a note of hope saying, "All great change is preceded by Chaos. We are  trying to move out of our comfort zone."

Seek the human connection while distancing, be empathetic 

Tamira Shah says be there for your client now

Tamira Shah, independent PR, media and brand consultant says there are certain challenges in implementing and adopting the 'Work From Home' culture, which has led to a certain dissatisfaction among the millennials.

Shah says, "Collaboration among team members, brainstorming, less effective work, fewer discussions with co-workers due to time limitations, are just a few of the hard-to-measure things that employees miss while WFH."

Shah suggests that "Let’s be empathetic at this time and not put any pressure and deadlines… Work with your team/ employees/ more brainstorming sessions on social and media platforms… Share insights on industries that have been affected by the pandemic and how brands are looking at a different approach/ adopting new strategies. Trust is built during troubled times. Be there for your customers now, and your customers will be there for you in the future."

Dealing with large mandates from home 

Handling key clients with the company of her cat Mischief

Rebecca Mendonza, head-operations, BOSE Communications is dealing with working from home while handling two key mandates with just 7 people. That of the 'Health and Family Welfare Department', Government of Karnataka and the Bengaluru International Airport.

Mendonza explains, "One of the most defining factors of our firm is that we do not believe in hierarchy. This is something I believe, that we have successfully managed better than other PR pros. Another comforting aspect is that the entire team is hands-on, on all accounts. In fact, our team spans 3 generations who have come together as one strong team, with a collective work experience of over a hundred man-years. Irrespective of which client, or what emergency, if someone needs to pitch in, no matter whom, rest assured it will be done. In a sense, we are all in it together, which makes work that much easier and fun."

Looking ahead: back to work with the new normal?

Aseem Bhargava, senior corporate communications professional with Edelman India says, " I tend to work much more from home and also due to the fact that there are no physical meetings, keeping in touch with the media and clients has naturally become more critical. At all levels, but even more so at senior ones."

He adds, "I'm keeping busier as I  handle e-commerce and also Chinese brands, and it's a tough time for both. Additionally, cooking, keeping the home clean and trying to get back fit is a full-time job. Finally indulging and pursuing hobbies like an online art course and reading voraciously, which I always have and had almost given up is back in my life"

Bhargava ends his thoughts on a philosophical note sating, " I wonder how one will go back to the office."