To honor the contribution of women’s relentless pursuit of excellence in PR and corporate communications, exchange4media PR & Corp Comm launched the Women Achievers Awards in 2020.

At its third edition in 2022, e4m congratulated the women leaders who are shaping the industry through their incredible work. The awards recognized not only women who have achieved major milestones in their careers, but also emerging pioneers who have the ability to bring about dynamic change in the corporate PR and communications industry.

In this series, we feature some of the women leaders who were congratulated at the event. Today we speak with Shobha Vasudevan, Head – Enterprise Communications and PR at Dell.

A seasoned professional, she has over 20 years of experience in corporate communication, public relations, internal communication, events, branding and digital strategies. She is passionate about creative thinking to help build image equity for brands in the B2B and B2C space.

Excerpts from the interview:

Congratulations on your win at the e4m PR & Corp Comm Women Achievers Awards 2022. How are you feeling?

Thank you! I feel elated, honored and humbled all at the same time. It’s an acknowledgment and celebration of a journey, but it also comes with a responsibility to live up to the title and continue on the road.

What inspires you in your journey and endeavors?

Making a difference to brands, people and society at large through the power of communication inspires me every day. Helping the brand message reach its audience in its true spirit, making the journey rewarding.

How have you witnessed the change and evolution of the corporate PR and communications industry over the years? What global practices would you see implemented in India?

The corporate communications and public relations industry has seen significant changes in recent years, especially in how professionals have adopted effective practices outside of what was once termed “traditional” to reach wider audiences and connect better with them.

The recent digital push, driven by the pandemic, has forced companies to reevaluate their communication strategies. This, in turn, has led to the popularity of new digital media such as podcasts or influencer-driven businesses and a growing interest in the advertising industry.

A number of brands are now moving away from long-form content and moving towards purpose-driven, jargon-free, authentic and impactful messaging.
In addition to using digital tools, I also see an increased focus on measuring public relations impact. Measuring and tracking the progress of a PR campaign is no longer based on the number of stories you get.

It’s important for brands to evaluate what has worked well, while also identifying challenges along the way. While campaigns can’t be quantified in spreadsheets, media professionals are experimenting with methods that show how effective a campaign is. This helps business leaders better realize the reach and potential of PR in effectively portraying a brand’s personality and reaching the right stakeholders.

Tell us about your most valuable learning from the industry. Where do you foresee the PR and communications industry in the coming days?

While the media will continue to evolve and change, at the heart of public relations is impactful storytelling. This has been one of my most valuable teachings over the years.

It’s important to invest in storytellers who understand your business and even more important to be able to figure out which stories will have the biggest impact. Another key learning that has stayed with me is that one size doesn’t fit all. How a brand approaches PR should be tailored to its personality and ethos.

In the years to come, companies will see the adoption of new strategies, with a significant focus on technologies such as AR/VR and Metaverse to gain a greater share of the voice for their brands. It is also expected that public relations will gradually converge with marketing communications. Adaptability to new forms of audience engagement, new ideas in storytelling and new marketing skills will become the need of the hour for public relations professionals to create impactful messages and deliver impactful results for organizations representing.

What would your message be for the next generation of professionals?

My message to the next generation of professionals is to dream big, work smart, build your personal brand, celebrate the milestones in your journey, and pay it back. If you can pave the way for another woman and take her with you, the journey will be very rewarding.

Know your basics. For anyone wanting a career as a communicator, being able to write is essential. If you can master it in more than one language, you’ll have the edge.
Breathe the brand. The role of a communications professional is very similar to a sales role. The only difference is that you have to give the sales pitch to the media. You can’t make a sale if you don’t know your brand or product. Spend some time getting to know the brand and what makes it unique.

To design PR campaigns that make a difference, you’ll need to make data your best friend. Find out how to create stories from the numbers. This is a skill for today and tomorrow.

Find a mentor whose journey inspires you as you begin your career. And as you grow, be a mentor to another person as they begin their journey. Keep the tribe growing.
Using tools and technology to bring the science into the art of public relations will make it easier to measure, correct and improve.

The content of this section is edited by the PR and Communication team. For any feedback please write to [email protected]

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