Winners of the 7th edition of the Godrej PRmoment Adfactors 3030 unveiled

Our young communicators have not only survived, but also thrived the toughest year the PR industry have ever faced.

In its 7th year, the Godrej PRmoment Adfactors 3030 platform for 2021 recognizes the top 30 under 30 talent in India. The winners represent a range of industries and companies including Tata Motors, OYO Hotels and Homes, Viacom 18, BookMyShow, Welspun and upGrad. Leading PR firms and independent PR practitioners are represented too such as Adfactors, MSL, Avian WE, Genesis BCW, Ruder Finn, The Practice, Weber Shandwick and Column Inches.

This year saw a wide range of applicants from brand side and PR firms, from account marketing executives at PR firms and digital experts.

This points to the robust jury process where every application is scored by three judges and another group takes a qualitative call on the final 30. Our distinguished jury,  drawn from the top echelon of communicators in India, spent weeks scanning and identifying the winners. PRmoment thanks them for their effort, time and support.

Last but not the least, Team PRmoment would like to thank our sponsors Godrej and Adfactors PR without whom it would not have been possible to keep this list free of application fees and make it a true merit-based platform.

Here they are, meet the Godrej PRmoment Adfactors 3030 winners for 2021!

Message from 3030 partners 

Dear 3030 winners,

Hearty congratulations to all the 30 Rockstar’s listed on the Godrej PRmoment India Adfactors PR 3030 list for 2021. Indeed, it was a great learning experience to go through your thoughts and experiences. Your resilience, sincerity and innovative thinking stood out in your achievements. You are the future of PR and communications in India and I am sure with your abilities, the bar will be raised significantly. I wish you a fabulous career ahead!”  

Sujit Patil, vice president and head of corporate communications, Godrej Industries Limited and associate companies, jury co-chair.

The Jury would like to congratulate and celebrate all the participants of the Godrej PRmoment India Adfactors 30 under 30.  It was extremely challenging for the jury to deliberate and choose the winners from the entries that we had received. We are amazed at the exceptional quality of entries that highlight clarity in thinking and authenticity in the outstanding work that is being undertaken by our young PR professionals.

With the changing PR landscape and the unprecedented Covid affected year, young PR professionals are setting precedents for their peers with creativity, strategic thinking, and execution. We were most impressed with the use of video, infographics, and storytelling by the participants that held our attention.

It is heartening to see the seamless blend of creative approach and unique thinking. The PR industry is definitely in the hands of an extremely talented group of future-ready leaders who are all set to steer positive change initiatives and lead the next big leap.

Congratulations to all the winners and kudos to the participants, I wish you all the best in all your future endeavours.

Lavang Khare, senior vice-president, Adfactors PR,  jury co-chair

Aakruti Mehta, 29, Manager-Corporate Communications,  Viacom18 Media Pvt. Ltd  

What do OTPs have to do with organ donations and the anniversary of the repealing of Article 377 with desi music on MTV? Well if you are a woke PR practitioner in pandemic year 2020, plenty.

Aakruti Mehta, manager-corporate communications at Viacom18 Media Pvt. Ltd managed to connect the dots for two path-breaking campaigns in a year, “With zero budgets and erratic consumer behaviour!” A special mention also for her innovative PR for PR idea using a vaccine metaphor to talk about how PR has evolved pot pandemic.

OTP to heaven!
The first helped sensitise the cause of organ donation, something Indians are culturally apprehensive about, ‘MTV Organ Daan’ was curated around the prevalent Indian belief that 'Punya' or good deeds are a gateway to heaven and organ donation can help you  get there. In true MTV Style, the campaign used humour to debunk myths. This resulted in an increase of 5,000 in organ donation pledges in 20201 over 2019.

Love is Love

The second celebrated the 2nd anniversary of decriminalization of homosexuality by releasing a gender-neutral album, ‘MTV Beats Love Duet-Amplifying LGBTQ Voices’ . This for a 'desi-massy' music channel. The campaign reached 246 million people and it was the first initiative from India that was published and applauded by ViacomCBS.

‘Cause Love is Love.

Annesha Deb, 29, Senior Manager – Corporate Communications, Tata Motors

Snakes and Ladders and car designs, unusual testimonials and a dash of nostalgia. Yes, just the everyday life of PR professional, Annesha Deb, senior manager – corporate communications, Tata Motors.

Thriving on creating great stories when there is no news peg, Annesha shares a cool PR idea executed by her recently. This was a, ‘Design Masterclass with Pratap Bose’ where the media got to sketch and model (clay and 3 D) their own car. Bose is VP of global design at Tata Motors. The campaign, not really aimed at media coverage still received engagement of over 28,000 from call outs on social media.

PR in a post COVID world!
Here is ‘white-board storming’ with a difference. Want to know how to create amazingly good PR in a post covid world? Follow this:

Customer Testimonials

While client and media testimonials are the done thing, for the first time, a communicator has shared an end customer testimonial.

Daryl Rozario – A Tata Motors Customer (Proud Tata Nexon owner)
"I was having a tough time getting through to the management team at Tata Motors to expedite the delivery of my vehicle when I was asked to contact Annesha by one of my media acquaintances. Speaking to her made a huge difference as she handled my frustration of a late delivery with a lot of calm and decisiveness.

Thanks to Annesha, I did not have to cancel my booking since my schedule was time sensitive. Working with her has boosted my confidence in Tata Motors as a brand, I truly appreciate her efforts."

Anushka Raman, 27, Senior Account Executive, Ruder Finn India

“Virtual is real”! So declares Anushka Raman, senior account executive with Ruder Finn India. If there is one thing that Anushka has learnt during Covid-19 and her four years of PR life its that the online world is now firmly entrenched with traditional PR. Yet, she believes that traditional PR will stay too with its core of relationship building and authentic storytelling.

How will the world of PR evolve after the pandemic?  Anushka points to mobile video marketing, conversational commerce via podcasts and a decline in inauthentic brand connect with influencers as key aspects PR will need to address. Watch the video below for a recap:

Arushie Sinha, 29, Senior Manager-Corporate Communications, Tata Consultancy Services

Arushie Sinha had a bit of a trial by fire when she was plunged into the interim lead of communications role at TCS (2017 to 2020) after the exit of the TCS CCO. She was just 26 at that time.

Arushie rose to the occasion and dealt with the challenges of an all-new management at the helm of TCS, a new brand positioning (business 4.0) to position TCS as a growth and transformation partner in the digital world.

She says, “I was nervous but turned the challenge into an opportunity and chalked out a communications plan that addressed the immediate and long-term communication needs of the company.”

Among the Covid-19 initiatives Arushie worked on was leveraging the CEOs LinkedIn presence with the coveted influencer tag and a launch interview with the LinkedIn India editor.

PR for a post Covid-19 world
Arushie says that in 2020, “Brands faced a twin challenge of safety of people and continuity of business. As companies struggled to keep their business going, budget cuts happened across sectors including marketing. However, one function that was not compromised on, and continued to remain constant in these times was public relations.”

Brinda Iyer, 29, Account Director, Genesis BCW

Brinda Iyer became Genesis BCWs youngest account director in 2019. In her new role one of her cherished campaigns was a pop-culture project, which saw the publishing of a coffee table book, ‘Home Court’ by NBA fan and celebrity photographer Rohan Shrestha. 

The aim? To bring alive the Indian stories of basketball and driving relevance for the sport for NBA ahead of its debut matches in Mumbai.

While the initial campaign was successful, Covid-19 put a dampener to further games. This is when Brinda upped her digital game and realised that the pictures of basketball great and 5 time NBA champion Ron Harper with Shrestha.

The interaction and the photos were released as part of Rohan’s exclusive ‘White T-shirt series’ featuring movie and sports celebrities in the classic white T-shirt and jeans combination. This was shortly after the ongoing NBA season was suspended in May 2020 and yet the pictures managed to get great social media traction.

NBA Legend Ron Harper

Devanshu Jain, 24, Senior Consultant – Strategic Communications, Adfactors PR

An investment banker who quit his first job for the fast paced world of political communication, Devanshu Jain turned his ability to simplify complex narratives into a job handling communication for India’s ex-IT minister Milind Deora, representing the prestigious constituency of South Mumbai for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

Clearly the PR and advocacy bug had bitten Devanshu.

Communicating for the 2019 general election

The tony South Mumbai constituency contains both the richest and some of the poorest people in the ‘Maximum City’. To gain a deeper understanding of the diverse target audience, Devanshu undertook a 45-day constituency tour. This allowed him to help work with a campaign that grew overall followers and subscribers across platforms for the election handles by over 500 thousand, in a span of 9 months.

At Adfactors, given his policy background, he was tasked with communications for a variety of tax, legal, and private capital clients. He was part of the team that consulted on one of India’s most high profile boardroom tussle .

He also worked on multiple tax advocacy campaigns using digital platforms – which resulted in representations being made to the PMO and the Finance ministry. Regulatory and policy communications included some path-breaking campaigns on topics like IBC, crypto regulation, and fantasy gaming.

Devanshu is a special nominee of the managing director and youngest member on Adfactors PR’s pioneering 16-member Millennial Board – to help shape and influence the company’s decision making. 

Drishti Vasisht, 29, Project Manager- CEO’s Office, Weber Shandwick India

What could be more important for an agency that puts all its might behind managing reputation for a brand, asks Drishti Vasisht. The answer, she says, is another team that would do the same for it!

Drishti as manager, marketing, regards herself as the voice of Weber Shandwick India. Devising internal employee awards and ensuring that Weber Shandwick is seen as an attractive place to work by young people, she works on a plethora of marketing and communication activities.

University Outreach

Drishti has worked on Weber’s University Contact Program (UCP), visiting over 10 schools each year and giving students a peek into the world of PR.

Creative Sandbox

This offline turned online property, got together a small panel of people to freely exchange best practices, express Covid apprehensions and provide new age solutions.

Says Drishti, “I captured these insightful conversations into bite sized videos that were shared on our social channels for the consumption of a wider audience. We managed to conduct over 15 sessions, engage with over 60 professionals, and organically reach an audience of over 1000 people, all within a few months.”

Post Covid-19 PR

Here is what Drishti think PR post Covid-19 will evolve into

Gurpratap Singh, 29, Associate Director – Digital, MSL India

Used to thinking of digital communication at scale, Gurpratap Singh is currently working out of the ‘Rapid Response War Room’ for COVID-19 vaccine roll-out at Ministry of Health & Family Welfare.

During the pandemic, he has been at the epicentre of the multi-stakeholder effort for the ‘COVID-19 Risk Communication & Community Engagement’ to develop campaigns for providing accurate information in languages and channels that people understand and trust.

The multifaceted campaign for ‘COVID Appropriate Behaviors’ delivered more than 10 billion + impressions. With more than 500+ videos amplified, 10,000+ social media content pieces published, numerous web platforms launched, numerous 8-digit paid media plans executed, 12+ digital platforms leveraged – the campaign saw engagements from PMO India, Bill Gates, WHO, UNICEF, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, NITI Aayog, Swachh Bharat Mission, along with leading key opinion leaders, influencers, celebrities and media.

Data Warrior

A data and digital maven, Gurpratap, as part of the multi-faceted 'COVID-19 Risk Communication & Community Engagement' campaign, helped execute the digital component of a series of concepts including the hit rap song ‘Stay Home Stay Safe – a Dharavi-focused hyperlocal digital campaign led with promotion of a rap video made by Dharavi rappers featuring Bollywood stars. Dharavi was the epicentre of the pandemic in Mumbai, its subsequent control is now a global case study.

Homith Bakshi, 28, Senior Editor, Current Global
Homith Bakshi

“Content is king” and “Data is the next big thing” declares Homith Bakshi at the start of his application, making clear his focus within PR.

Never has data based storytelling mattered more for brands and Homith was fully prepared to do so. During the pandemic, he helped LinkedIn rejig their ‘Workforce Confidence Index questionnaire’ to stand out amid data storytelling competitors by helping package all insights to build conversations about India’s cautious economic optimism, improving financial and employer outlook, significance of upskilling, career pivot trends, emotional well-being concerns, workplace grievances, and future of work predictions.

All this resulted in LinkedIn's best coverage of the year.

Post Covid-19 PR strategy

Homith believes that the, “PR for PR” post-COVID will be by shifting the focus from “selling to people” to “solving for people”; and data storytelling will lead the way.”

He adds, "Data and storytelling can’t be either/or. They have to be an "and" because data doesn't change our behaviours. Emotions do. So going forward, here’s my plea to the PR industry – when you look at data, think of this: what is the problem you want to solve? And then see how the data fits. To know more do watch the full explanation of data and PR in 2021:

Ishita Khurana, 26, Senior Executive – New Business and Strategy, Value 360 Communications

The Road Less Travelled

Ishita Khurana is a self-declared Bollywood fanatic who left her last job of auditing with the very filmi thought of "Kahin pohanchne ke liye kahin se nikalna boht zaruri hota hai."

Next spotlight. The dynamic world of PR.

Says Ishita, “Initially each day was a new learning experience where jargon like "Embargo, Reviews and Listicles" surprised the auditor in me but gradually, everything started making sense and I came to good terms with my job’s challenges and surprises.”

Pandemic Response

The 2020 crisis found Ishita at the top her game. Some of the new rules she implemented for herself in response to the new demands were same day response to new enquiries, 48 hours response time for proposals and using modern tools like Global Web Index, Vimeo, Surveys, LexisNexis.

Ishita says she has also have been aggressively using creative digital storytelling tools like images, gifs, infographics and plans to pick up a digital marketing degree in 2021 to further her digital skillset.

Post Covid-19 PR

Why is PR the new PR (permanent residency) for brands? To find out, watch below:

Jaanhavi Dhokariya, 28,  PR and Corporate Communications, BookMyShow

Jaanhavi Dhokariya got the opportunity to work with global events that fill arenas. Like the U2: The Joshua Tree Tour in India that has  40,000 fans attending the concert, making it the largest ever non cricketing event at the DY Patil Stadium in Mumbai.

Or the first ever NBA game in India where over 90% of the tickets were sold out in two hours.

 2020 found Jaanhavi handling the biggest development in the world. The pandemic.

She shares that, “During this period, our marketing spends were brought down to zero, with focus on all communication through PR and our social media channels. We were successful in engaging with all stakeholders and driving media engagement with over 1500 stories in this period.

With this firmly done we started building the revival strategy to help us hit the ground running starting October. Within 2 months of opening, despite limited movie releases, our targeted communication efforts helped bring traffic back on the platform resulting in 1 million tickets sold by mid-December 2020.”

PR in a post Covid-19 world: #dekhomagarPRse
“PR is to communications what Karan Johar is to Bollywood - irreplaceable, unavoidable and conveying emotions using the right words. When functions like marketing and advertising (read Ananya Pandey and Varun Dhawan) face the brunt of a global pandemic, PR (you know who!) comes to the rescue.

Most communication opportunities in the coming years will be seen through the lens of PR, hence #dekhomagarPRse will be at the core of all strategic communication decisions.”

Jai Bahal, 30, Senior Account Manager, Adfactors PR

What does bartending and AI driven poetry have in common? Plenty it seems. Jai Bahal channels his inner bartender to, as he puts it, “Try everything. Consume some things. Don’t get consumed by anything.”

He also started the ‘Saamus’ project. An AI driven poetry-based Instagram page using Google’s AI poetry tool 'Verse By Verse'.

Pandemic PR Product

Jai also used 2020 to conduct an internal research exercise along with his creative colleague Jitesh C, to start a product: NetRep for Adfactors. NetRep works on the digital identity of brands checking their digital identity through processes that include rankings and reviews, their 'Google Knowledge Panel' placement  and digital assets audits.

PR for Post Covid-19

The poem that narrates the 'PR for PR' evolution post Covid was created using the AI poetry tool 'Verse by Verse'. Listen in:

Lakshmi Singh, 28, Account Manager, Ruder Finn India

A small-town girl who didn’t go down the traditional career path, Lakshmi Singh dreamt of working with leading technology firms. And with PR that dream came true. An admirer of NASSCOM’s Debjani Ghosh and Accenture’s Rekha Menon, Lakshmi has worked on consumer tech brands such as Micromax, Honor, OPPO, Timex, Dolby and Canon.

The Power of PR

Lakshmi has worked on several campaigns for brands with no advertising spends and a focus on PR. These include Dolby, Canon, Opera Software, Timex, Micromax and
now Xiaomi.

When PR goes Bahubali: The post pandemic PR narrative: 

Journo Thumbs Up
Lakshmi is a highly articulate and communicative person with an exceptionally affable personality. Highly dependable too, who is always around to address a media person's last-minute queries at a short notice. All in all, a good and trustworthy resource for brands.
Sudhir Chowdhary, Editor – Tech, The Indian Express Group 

Namrita Khurana, 27, Account Manager, Brand, Sports & Entertainment,  Genesis BCW

Not all heroes wear capes, but then some do. In the words of Namrita Khurana in the penultimate crisis year of 2020, “In a socially distant world, while brand managers put on their thinking caps, I adorned my creativity cape, to foster ideas and help brands leverage the power of storytelling and gamification.

Breakout Campaign

According to Namrita the ‘self-reliant 2020 consumer had begun innovating to meet their needs while staying indoors. Thus, bringing experiences home to them was key, whether through a cocktail making session or an at-home hair colour tutorial.”

What’s the occasion?

Banking on the insight that the 2020 consumer yearns for experiencing ‘The New’, small
moments and occasions were celebrated at home. By strategically placing brands in these occasions, Namrita says user-generated content was used to recreate cocktail recipes, makeup looks, and skincare routines.

The pegs leveraged included quirky moments such as Old Fashioned Week, International Coffee Day, World Lipstick Day and World Cocktail Day:

‘Reel’ ing Content formats:

 Namrita curated content with influencers to drive the scotch narrative, using reel videos, Instagram Lives, and 3rd party apps for the first time, measuring campaign success through views per reel and audience tune ins.

Natasha Srivastava, 28, Senior Account Executive, Avian WE

In typical millennial fashion Natasha Srivastava’s profile mentions cartooning and long walks, British TV shows and issue-based advocacy, side by side. 

Over the past four years, she has worked with civil society organizations, not-for-profits, corporates and sector specific industry bodies who have been working towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) through their programs and initiatives.

Breakout Campaign

Natasha has worked on several interesting campaigns, the most notable of which was a partnership with 'Humans of Bombay' for 'The Indian Leadership Forum
Against Trafficking (ILFAT)'.

The platform ran a four-part series on survivors of human trafficking, highlighting the journey for a survivor from ‘victim’ to ‘warrior’. Humans of Bombay also came forward to organize a crowdfunding campaign.

She is also part of the mental health taskforce at her organization.

Cartoons and Mental Resilience

Cartooning allows Natasha to decompress:

Journo Thumbs Up
Natasha, is brilliant professional who has stood up to all challenges that have been put in front of all. Her reliability has made journalists like me seek her out for all sorts of help. It is rare to find a person so dedicated to her work.
Nikita Jain, Correspondent, Millennium Post

Nicole Barboza, 27, Senior Account Executive, Edelman India

Nicole Barboza describes herself as a person with innate curiosity. This makes her a natural fit for the multiple demands of a job in communication.

One of the key lifestyle campaigns Nicole worked on was for OnePlus which resulted India’s first ever cover of a mainstream fashion magazine like Vogue shot on a smartphone:

Additionally, Nicole worked on an super-exclusive party with Katy Perry at Karan Johar’s home prior her performance at the OnePlus Music Festival in 2019. A party she also got to attend:

Nicole (left) with Katy Perry and Ishita Grover, Head of Corporate Communications – India, OnePlus

Data based storytelling in 2020

Nicole used data points from PayPal’s global reports to drive brand storytelling in 2020. To overcome the challenge of the report not having any India specific data, a round table with PayPal’s senior leadership was organised with comments on trends in digital payments in the pandemic year.

Pankhuri Gupta, 24, Independent PR Professional

Pankhuri Gupta is someone who is very focused on social impact storytelling. Which is why when 2020 saw a rise of domestic violence, it was a cause she was keen to highlight.

Using Cinema for turning the spotlight on domestic violence

As the lockdown sharpened domestic violence against women, Pankhuri worked on a campaign for Breakthrough India #UniteAgainstDV that used the power of mainstream cinema for the cause.

Pankhuri single handedly took care of the celebrity outreach, scripting, engagement and end-to-end execution. 

The pitch? Using  regional celebrities with strong followers or someone who has been accepted by the viewers for their work resonating with the cause. 

This led to Divya Dutta kickstarting the #UniteAgainstDV. This was followed by Mithila Palkar’s (well- known Marathi artist and OTT performer) video to break myths about domestic abuse.

Breakout moment

Getting Bollywood star Rajkummar Rao’s participation for Breakthrough’s ongoing campaign - #DakhalDo as the campaign brand ambassador.

Pankhuri shares that, “Right from reaching out to him, establishing the campaign’s objective, deliverables, and seeing it through with execution. It has been absolutely surreal and a great learning experience.”

Paromita Sinha, 30, Senior Account Manager (Tech Practice), Ruder Finn India

When your Twitter handle is ‘stories please’ you know you have stumbled upon a communicator.

With a deep interest in Fintech, the seismic shift that 2020 has caused in digital payments did not catch Paromita by surprise. One of the key campaigns she worked on was for fintech firm 'Pine Labs' to help spread awareness about digital payments among ‘first generation’ merchants to digitize with Pine Labs – neighbourhood convenience stores.

Paromita shares that, “This section of merchants are essentially different from large and medium scale merchants and hence the communication campaign had to have both traditional and digital legs. “Covid-19’s #AsliHero” reflected the effort put in by merchants to smoothly transition towards digital payments and to keep operations running despite the challenges posed by Covid-19.”

2020 Breakthrough  
Paromita and the five member team she heads ended up being one of the best revenue earners in a Covid year quarter. She also channelizes her alter ego (Mariyam) to blog about her life, it’s an easy breezy read. Do check it out

Parvathy Premkumar, 24, Senior Account Executive, Edelman India

A true digital generation citizen, Parvathy Premkumar intends to learn the coding language Python to up her communication game.

In a span of three years, Parvathy has serviced a diverse range of clients across sectors like financial services, sports, and English language entertainment and technology. Some of these clients have been polar opposites in their vision, approach and their very fabric.

Campaign Impact in 2020: World Gold Council

Parvathy particularly enjoys developing content and strategizing for niche, specialist areas of operations of clients. So as Covid-19 led to rising gold prices, she built a holistic case for the 'World Gold Council'  through data and investor webinars and infographics that made gold relatable to the mass consumer. The result was 2796 media stories and 3540 digital mention.

Post Covid-19 PR strategy

The Twitter timeline created by Parvathy below says it all!

Sanjana Samuel, 30, Account Director-fashion, beauty and wellness, El Sol Strategic Consultants

“When the going gets tough, the tough do headstands!” Confused? Not if you are Sanjana Samuel who used the Covid-19 year to ramp up her fitness finally mastering the challenging ‘headstand asana’.

And the going was tough. Sanjana shares that, For a boutique agency, Covid-19 was devastating, to say the least; two things that helped us persevere was quick thinking and creativity. We saw an uptick in the growth of wellness and beauty brands during Covid-19  triggered by consumers opting for supplements and cosmetics, thus, we devised a strategy to target homegrown brands in this space.”

Power Gummies

Sanjana worked on the 'Power Gummies' campaign titled, “Gummy Up, Shape Up and Dress Up”, to make it a part of an everyday routine.

She says, “We decided to create a jingle that would enable us to seed this message and build a habit. The 30 second jingle was uploaded on Reels and we roped in choreographers, Chandni Srivastava and Arushi Chawla to create a dance to it. 

We then got 20 micro influencers to create their own versions. Celebrities, Nia Sharma and Yasmin Karachiwala were also roped in to explain the benefits of the product and how they’ve weaved it into their daily routine via IGTV. We then took this campaign to the A&M Media.”

Campaign Impact

The result, 9M+ minimum exposure on digital, a substantial increase in Power Gummies social media following and 4-fold increase in sales for the brand.”

Why PR matters

Check out a snippet of the cool comic strip Sanjana created for PR for PR:

Sanya Bajaj, 29, Founder and CEO, Column Inches

Sanya Bajaj confesses that she has no background in running a business. She is the first from her family to choose an entrepreneurial rather than services path at just 24.

Sanya says that despite the pandemic she is expecting 35 per cent growth rate in 2021 and is expecting to add 10 new clients in the current quarter.

Client Endorsement
"Entering India for the first time as an unknown international brand we need maximum press coverage over a sustained period. Sanya, with her team, delivered countless column inches for us, delivering brand awareness well above our size. Their ability to place stories in national, regional and local papers, plus online, exceeded all our expectations."
David Boddy, Principal Partner, ASIS

Sanya Kundra, 27, Account Manager, Ruder Finn India

Sanya Kundra is one of the youngest account managers and crisis experts in the PR business in India.

She describes her start in PR as that of a caterpillar, “A fresh MBA hatchling that grew up quickly in the PR world.”

By her own estimate Sanya says she has handles over 200 crises in the last 3 years for brands as diverse as two-wheeler, aviation and consumer technology.

Handling on the ground turbulence

Sanya  has worked on communication for InterGlobe Aviation (IndiGo) - a brand that faced at least one crisis every day because of the business it is in. From handling a snag in the engine, delayed flights  and promoters' fights, she and her team have handled it all. 

This early brush with a difficult sector prepared her for future brand crises mandates.

With GoAir, Sanya was an 'emergency response manager' and the point of contact for all the departments and respective agencies used by GoAir in case of a crisis.

Journalist Endorsement
“I met Sanya when she was handling a major aviation industry client. She showed absolute professionalism, discipline and alertness while handling the client that required 24*7 attention and quick responses. I found her thorough, smart and trustworthy. I have seen her handling multiple crises - which arise quite often in the aviation industry - and her unflappability always stood out to me.”
Deepak Patel, Senior Correspondent, Press Trust of India

Sayesha Arora, 24, account manager, The PRactice

What does a pina colada have to do with PR in 2021?  More on that later from Sayesha Arora, digital maven and data advocate who regularly shares information about digital tools with her colleagues.

Sayesha at just 24 has worked on Sony India’s 2018 transition from an offline focused, premium brand to a more mass, online driven one.

She has also helped in building an in-house stakeholder management tool- CUBE  and assisted in developing social listening tool for 'The Practice'.

Journo Thumbs Up
“She is in sync with digital content across text and video media, and her accessible and helpful nature has helped in forming a productive working relationship”
Ali Pardiwala, Senior Reviewer, Gadgets360

PR for PR

Well about that pina colada and PR in 2021? Watch below to find out:

Sohini Sen, 29, Senior Manager - Brand Marketing, upGrad Education Pvt. Ltd.

A statistics graduate, Sohini Sen heads PR and also handles the brand marketing effort at upGrad, India’s largest online higher education company. Additionally she is leading the profiling for well-known entrepreneur and co-founder of upGrad, Ronnie Screwvala.

In December 2020, she spearheaded the brand’s first-ever PR campaign in APAC. With no prior market knowledge, she took up the challenge to understand the media landscape, and onboard local agency partners remotely.

Sohini says that in Vietnam, where the majority of PR is paid, upGrad got covered by key media - VIR and CafeF organically.

PR for PR in 2021

The modified cartoon created by Sohini outlines her views

Somya Jain, 28, Account Manager (Consumer Practice),  Ruder Finn India

Somya Jain’s forte is the smartphone industry and she has worked on communication strategies for brands such as BlackBerry, Huawei, Samsung and Xiaomi.

Breakout Campaign in 2020

The year 2020 was an overwhelming year for every industry due to the outbreak of Covid- 19. In addition, geopolitical tensions between India and China led to widespread agitation against Chinese goods, with users banning Xiaomi products.

Somya shares that to combat the negative sentiment, an India specific program was devised which involved an extensive drive of educating the media, running marketing programs and branding such as changing the stores branding to highlight ‘Made in India’:

Data was extensively used  to support Xiaomi’s positioning as market leader.

In 2020 Somya also explored and implemented new approaches to storytelling and content to break through the noise. From writing jingles, poems to doing launches through raps, explored different and exciting formats to engage with the audience. These diverse and interesting formats touched over 2 million users, resulting in a reach of 10 billion.

Sonakshi Yajurvedi, 30,  Lead – Corporate Communication (Global) & Founder’s Office, OYO Hotels & Homes

Over a period of five years, Sonakshi Yajurvedi has moved from being a PR associate to being the global communications manager at OYO. She also works closely with the founder’s office.

Her global communications mandate meant working with over 12 country leads and ensuring constant communication and updates between the OYO HQ and their respective regions.

During 2021 Sonakshi worked on various online opportunities that included the participation of Ritesh Agarwal at events such as, ‘The Financial Times Global Boardroom, Wall Street Journal Tech Live, and the Harvard India Conference.

International Testimonial
“Sonakshi is a true leader of global PR of OYO and has been showing miraculously wide geographical coverage including Japan. PR for the Japan business is very unique because of the existence of SoftBank but Sonakshi can always tailor OYO PR strategy for our Japan specific PR strategy. Awesome job.”
Ryoma Yamamoto, CEO - OYO Japan

Sunakshi Sood, 29, Senior Account Executive, Avian WE

What do homemade Indian pickles in Berlin and fighter jets have in common. Well, Sunakshi Sood has worked on the communication outreach for both pickles and an international defence related crisis.

Let’s dive in. During the Balakot airstrike, as per media reports, an Indian MiG-21 and a Pakistani aircraft (F-16 according to IAF) were shot down during this dogfight.

Sunakshi monitored social media for over five days, round the clock, and identified the fake news and rumour: ‘Lockheed Martin suing India for damaging their reputation’.

She kept eye on the spread of this conversation while sharing updates with the client hourly. This resulted in a timely response by Lockheed and a retraction of the rumour.

Sunakshi also works on the communication for her mother’s home-based brand (Pickles and More) which resulted in the pickles being picked up for an Indian restaurant in Berlin.

Client Thumbs Up
“I just wanted to say a massive thank you for the support. You’ve been fantastic and I know Shorbani and I really appreciate your hard work and counsel. You’ve gone above and beyond and made a real difference.”
Simon Brooks, International Social Media / Digital Content Manager and Head of Communications, Latin America, Lockheed Martin

Switzel Fernandes, 30, Manager - Client Experience, Current Global

Switzel Fernandes currently leads communication for two of the largest businesses at Current Global – Twitter India and Jaguar Land Rover.

Switzel has worked on several digital campaigns including the launch of the Land Rover vehicle 'Defender' and a Tweet Chat between tech journalist Rajiv Makhni and  Kayvon Beykpour - product lead, Twitter.

The chat was conducted under service's new conversation controls feature.

Breakout Campaign  
Switzel made use of data-focused storytelling to highlight positive conversations on Twitter with the #ThisHappened2020 and #ConversationReplay campaigns.This helped to build awareness  about  diverse, positive conversational themes on Twitter.

 Tania Ganguly, 25, Account Executive, The Practice

With just 3 years of job experience under her belt, Tania Ganguly has already worked  with clients across hospitality, healthcare and telemedicine, fashion and FMCG.

PR for PR

Outlining her PR for PR idea in a post Covid-19 world, Tania came up with a cool concept. That of the ‘PRoactive Antivirus’, a metaphor for the role of PR in today’s world.

Tania states, “With the help of PRoactive Antivirus, stakeholder confidence in brands can be strengthened, reputation can be carefully managed through strategic media relations and a culture of humaneness and resilience can be emphasized upon. It is a weapon against the spread of misinformation.”

Client Pat on the Back
“Tania has helped us to gain visibility in the regional media like Uttarakhand, Nagaland, and Manipur. She is very hardworking. It’s a pleasure to work with her.” 
Smriti Rana, Program Director, Pallium India 

Vaani Malik, 28, Manager – Corporate Communications, Welspun India Private Ltd.
Vaani Malik

A typical Army brat, who has studies in 7 different states, Vaani Malik has no trouble adapting to the quick changing demands of the PR world.

In her 5 years of work Vaani gained experience in dynamic industries – from Media and Entertainment (Zee), to the world’s second largest wine and spirits company (Pernod Ricard India) – to now, at a global textiles firm (Welspun India).

In the middle of the pandemic, Vaani moved jobs, changed cities (Delhi to Mumbai) and joined Welspun India, one of the world’s leading home textiles player.

At Welspun India, she works closely with Dipali Goenka, CEO Welspun, where she handles brand and digital communication.

During her stint with Pernod, she also managed an internal original content platform – PRI TV.

Post Pandemic PR for PR

Using the old fashioned postcard as a motif with a modern twist. Explaining her idea she says, “Postcards from PR – will seek to deliver stories of hope, happiness, and milestone wins to showcase the impact of PR via impactful visuals:

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