Which city in India are you happiest working in as a PR professional?
A question that quickly brings to the fore the traditional Delhi vs. Mumbai rivalry. Add Bengaluru to the mix and soon there is a lively debate on along the lines of 'my city strongest'!
Bengaluru, the city of gardens, IT startups and traffic!
What's cool about working in Bengaluru?
According to Prajwal Viswanath, marketing and PR manager at Amstar Technologies, "Bengaluru has built a legacy for IT and corporate communications is an ingrained part of IT marketing activity."
Which is why, Viswanath shares, "The best thing about working in Bengaluru as a corporate communication professional is the punctuality of people here and speed with which professionals in the field pick up new subjects."
Tarunjeet Rattan, managing partner, Nucleus PR says also says she is partial to Bengaluru after working in multiple cities across India, "My current city is Bangalore. The people, the heady start-up energy, brands that want to challenge the status quo is professionally very rewarding. Add the awesome Bangalore weather to the mix and it is absolutely worth it. As a PR professional, Bangalore media is really nice to deal with. Yes, we have our fair share of PR bashers, (but which city doesn’t!) but overall they are very pleasant to deal with and value a well-researched pitch".
Shivali Mittal, account director, Ruder Finn Asia who has worked in both Mumbai and Bengaluru, confirms that "Bengaluru is a very media-friendly city as compared to Mumbai and Delhi. Since most of the publications have small teams, it makes it easier to know and understand the journalists. The editors are more approachable and always spare time to meet and attend a key announcement. The Bangalore weather adds more charm to our meetings and brainstorming sessions as it allows us to move out of AC rooms and breathe fresh air and fresh thoughts pour-in."
Chandreyi B., a consultant at Stellant Communications agrees, "In Bangalore, it is almost unimaginable to not go for media rounds once in a few weeks because everyone is closely located in the central business district. I feel Bangalore still has a personalized touch to simple media relations which Mumbai doesn't. I am glad my beginnings were in Bangalore where I got to learn the hands-on basic stuff, whereas Mumbai teaches you to be self-sufficient and get things done remotely."
It's the traffic in Bengaluru!
But's not all summer rain and enterprise over coffee in Bengaluru. Ask any professional and one word sends a shiver down their spine: 'Traffic'!
Vishwanath says one of his biggest issues with the city, apart from the language barrier of not being fluent in Kannada, is, "The peak hour traffic snarls. Add a Monday morning and stakeholder meetings and it is equivalent to a heart attack. We have to wait for hours to reach the place thereby ending up losing time and money."
Rattan agrees, "To get to point A to B is a task if you are travelling by public transport for media rounds. Cab hailing apps turn out to be expensive. Having your own vehicle becomes imperative for you to move around in the city for media meetups."
Another issue, shares Rattan is that "As a PR professional, sometimes it gets a little difficult to get national amplification or stories on television for your clients as media presence for these sectors is just nominal for the media houses. That is when being based in Bangalore can be a disadvantage and you have to reach out to other metros to make things work for your client."
Delhi NCR, the seat of power
Why Delhi rocks
With its deep history and proximity to power, Delhi and now its extended regions of Gurugram and Noida has always been an iconic city.
Mahima, public relations specialist at 'The Pivotals' loves working in Delhi. She says," A great thing about working as a PR professional in Delhi is that there is a constant flux of people in publications so you get to network with a lot of different people from various beats and experiences. Even in terms of the client, there is a lot of diversity in the kind of mandate you get. I have worked in Patna as a PR professional and the mandates there were limited to hyper-local branding or image management, whereas in Delhi, that is not the case."
Delhi NCR: The challenges of being a central city
Mahima says one of the issues she faces is that "When you work with a big agency that has multiple offices, you witness immense internal competition within agencies across geographies. Plus, sometimes there is an over reliance on the agency office that is situated in Delhi, since the headquarters of major publications is also here, so they think it best to hand over work to colleagues sitting here, closer to all the action."
While commuting is not as bad as it can be in other metro cities in India, Mahima shares that, "The headquarters of a majority of companies and agencies are either in Gurgaon or Noida, while journalists sit in Delhi. Commuting from one end to another, while coordinating work can sometimes become extremely tedious."
Maximum city: A place of dreams, big business and monsoon rain
The special Mumbai sparkle of stardust and moolah
Much like Hollywood, the presence of Bollywood lends a special shine to Mumbai. Add to that the fact that Mumbai is India's financial capital and you have an irresistible combination of movie star glamour and both old and new money.
Chandreyi says, "Mumbai has a very dynamic environment when it comes to news. There is great scope for building meaningful conversations with the media here because of its willingness to work round the clock. The maximum city is fiercely competitive, but that is where one gets to learn, and fast!"
Misbah Quadri, senior account manager, Perfect Relations – Dentsu Aegis Network agrees saying, "Being a part of the BFSI sector, I get the opportunity to service top-notch BFSI clients in Mumbai. Every media activity is either initiated from the city or is a key market for every brand. I am able to gather experience and understanding of the industry on a large scale."
Could Mumbai get any better?
Chandreyi says, "I find the extreme pace of Mumbai unsettling at times, but the city gives you enough opportunity to just immerse yourself in its beauty and dynamism. I think the worst part for all professionals of working in Mumbai is battling the yearly monsoons and high cost of living. Other than that, there is nothing bad about 'Aamchi Mumbai' (My Mumbai).
Quadri also points out that "The competition in Mumbai within conglomerates to appear in the limited business space available in the media makes my job increasingly difficult. The on-ground presence of every brand is very high, making the race neck and neck. Also, conducting RBMs for the client becomes a tough task taking into consideration the distances involved."
Pune, the Queen of the Deccan and city of Shrewsbury biscuits
Sonal Mali, senior image manager, Perfect Relations has worked in Mumbai and is now based in Pune.
She says, "The best thing of working in a smaller city, is that we don't have specific sectors or practices. This allows us to work on clients across sectors: start-ups, manufacturing, auto, FMCG, hospitality and sports. I get an opportunity to work in various sectors and gain rich experience across various domains. This has also helped me establish connect and network with national media covering the various sectors. My teammates working in bigger cities, do not get such an opportunity."
On the flip side, Mali shares that, "It's difficult to crack a national story from Pune. On the business development front, bigger companies based out of Pune, prefer to go with Mumbai or Delhi based PR firm. Also since we do not have a lot of B2C brands based out of Pune, we can't get to work on big brand campaigns."
Whichever the city you live and work in Tarunjeet Rattan sums it up saying, "Each city has is beauty. Mumbai is like a sprint, Bangalore a marathon, Delhi is like hurdles and Kolkata a relay. While I have worked in each of these cities, I am partial to Bangalore."