PR has never enjoyed a position of greater prominence than it does today: Archana Jain
Archana Jain, Managing Director and CEO of PR Pundit, shares her journey in the PR industry, entrepreneurship venture & client acquisitions
PR Pundit is a communications consultancy, with a heritage of two decades, in creating effective and winning campaigns for consumer, lifestyle and luxury brands. Recognised as the PR Consultancy of Year (mid-size) in our 20th year of operations (FY2018-19) last year, PR Pundit continues to strategically harness innovation, technology and influencers to execute creative, game-changing campaigns and produce measurable results.
An interaction with Archana Jain, Managing Director & CEO, PR Pundit on her journey in the PR industry, entrepreneurship venture, client acquisitions and future plans.
How did your journey commence in the PR industry and how has your time in the industry been?
I fell in love with the profession in my first job as the Marketing Communications Manager at Hyatt Regency Delhi. When I moved to the consulting side of the profession in 1992, I found the freedom to engage with senior management liberating. I enjoyed the challenge of trying to make a company that sells insurance relevant to the consumer.
While I did see promise in the profession when I embarked on a career in PR, I never imagined that it will become so mainstream. In 1990, Public Relations was hardly understood. The practice of PR was confused with advertising or direct marketing or guest relations. Today, it is fulfilling to see that boardrooms make time for PR in their agenda. The strategic value of PR is being acknowledged and it is an integral part of the marketing mix. And gratifying as PR dons the hat of a ‘strategist’ to develop campaigns that contribute to business objectives.
What paradigm shift have you noticed in the industry?
Public Relations has never enjoyed a position of greater prominence than it does today. The growth of the internet, coupled with 24/7 news cycles and social media, has accelerated the growth of the PR industry.
The PR industry is at an exciting phase of growth with a rather sharp inflection from Information to Conversation. Technology affords us new ways to interact to enhance the PR proposition of storytelling and thought leadership.
With customers being increasingly swayed by cyber conversations, PR is helping brands and organisations sift through the noise, identify influencers and how best to activate them, determine what they are saying to sway and engage the target audience. Owned and shared media are now a key part of the responsibility of the PR professional, in addition to earned and paid media.
Tell us in detail about PR Pundit.
In 1998, when I founded PR Pundit, specialising in consumer PR, my team was predominantly young women balancing their home, children and a PR career. Today, PR Pundit holds the notable reference as the frontrunner in luxury and lifestyle PR. Strengthening its reputation beyond lifestyle in consumer PR, it is India’s first and only PR company to have won a Gold PR Lion at Cannes 2017 for its campaign for ITC Savlon.
An independent, mid-sized 21-year-old PR company, PR Pundit’s over 100 team of practitioners go beyond the traditional, employing creativity and skillful storytelling to engage audience and change the conversation. In the last eight years, 21 of our client programmes have secured 32 awards and industry-wide acclaim.
How has been the growth rate of PR Pundit in terms of client acquisition?
PR Pundit is uniquely positioned in consumer & lifestyle PR. PR Pundit has enjoyed a CAGR of 15% p.a. in the last 5 years.Our specialized wealth of experience has earned us the respect and trust of leading global and Indian brands as a preferred partner. We have an enviable list brands as our clients across Automobile, Beauty, Fashion, F&B, FMCG, Hospitality, Luxury, Personal Technology, Start-ups, etc.
How can you trace your growth over the years in the industry?
It all began with stretching the boundaries of my knowledge and experience in corporate PR to focus on consumer PR at the start.
PR Pundit was the earliest to spot an opportunity in lifestyle and luxury PR, which has since become an identifiable distinction for the company and its calling card. We developed verticals dedicated to premium lifestyle and luxury in 2005-06. The steady growth in the last 10 years has positioned PR Pundit unquestionably as one of the best PR companies in the lifestyle and luxury domain in India.
Earning global recognition with a Gold PR Lion at Cannes 2017 for our campaign for ITC Savlon gave us a fresh drift of energy and strengthened our reputation beyond luxury.
It was equally fulfilling to be recognised as the PR Consultancy of Year (mid-size) in our 20th year of operations (FY2018-19) last year.
What is your 5-year growth plan in the industry?
Be recognised as a Defining Agency, not the biggest nor the most profitable, but one that inspires others, large and small. At PR Pundit, we have set our eyes firmly on an accelerated growth trajectory for the next two decades. In order to increase relevance we have embraced new services of ‘influencer marketing’ and ‘social media management’ in the age of digital. We aim to continue ruling the luxury lifestyle domain; while we gain ground with noteworthy work in consumer PR and expand our experience in allied domains. The attributes of entrepreneurial spirit and agility that have fuelled our success so far will continue to remain embedded in our culture, while we pursue fresh, progressive and bold ideas.
How has been your association with exchange4media?
I credit Annurag Batra and his team at exchange4media for being trend setters in digital. You spotted the arrival of the digital wave ahead of the best and have provided the advertising and marketing industry with a mount piece. In 2011, exchange4media was the first to recognise PR with awards. I distinctly recall being on the jury with Sanjay Baru as the Chairman in the early years.
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