Meeting a top-notch filmstar one day and a front-ranking industrialist on the other are the wages of spin in Delhi. Bhawna Singh, the 30-year-old assistant manager at TRAC, says as much.
“The life of a PRO is always hectic but it’s rewarding, especially if you are working in the capital. You are constantly on the move, meeting people, ideating. You could be briefing Hrithik Roshan one day. Another day it could be Jagdish Khattar, the Maruti MD, and on the next, a celebrity activist.”
Delhi is the hub of public relations activities, says Akhil Mathur, director of marketing communication, Le Meridien. “Whether it’s new industry, entertainment or entrepreneurial, everyone has to first create a buzz in Delhi and northern India,” he says. Arshi, with Precision PR & Media, talks of “channelising energies”. Mathur positions the PR personnel as the “spokesperson and personality of the organisation and its true role model.”
In Delhi, there are many dimensions to a public relations executive’s job. “We scan the news everyday — corporate, social, political — to be top of everything,” says Pallavi Walia of Soulmedia. “If, for example, I ask my client to have Kareena Kapoor on board to endorse his/her brand, I must know if at the moment she’s on top, or whether she’s going through a slump. I must know what shape her career is, as her image will impact the brand image.” Most PR officers say the industry thrives in Delhi because of its dominant youth culture.
“I’ve worked on a Condom Bindas Bol campaign for my earlier agency,” says Bhawna. “It won an award because I had taken it beyond traditional media to Orkut, to a space where the youth come in, where people are talking, where people are listening.”
PR is no longer about throwing ideas at people and hoping they’ll catch them. Executives say it’s more subtle now, especially in Delhi. So, that’s the way they play it. “For the Mauritius campaign, instead of doing a run-of-the-mill print campaign, we had the three Miss Indias shot for a limited edition calendar saying why they liked it to establish Mauritius as an aspirational destination,” says the TRAC employee.
“That connects with people. In Delhi, everyone is very brand conscious, so they respond to things around them. But you have to talk to people in their own language. If you are targeting elite travellers, you cannot talk mass,” adds Bhawna. Does understatement in an environment cluttered with events and products work?
“These calendars sell an image,” she says. “The Kingfisher calendar, I am sure, does not help Vijay Mallya sell more beers. It’s all about building an image and Delhiites love being made to feel special, and being part of an exclusive club.”