Business Wisdom

Upskill is the Survival Mantra in the digital world — Jaikishin Chhaproo, Head – Media & PR (PCPBD) at ITC Limited

Ramdas from strfrymba.com talks to Jaikishin on the Media and PR trends.

How meaningful has it been your mediaful journey?

During my MBA days, on noticing the challenges the seniors were facing due to the economic slowdown, I identified 2 streams that were technically recession-proof: Marriages & Media. Way back in 1995-96, there was no visibility of “destination weddings” – hence Media was the career chosen. What started as fail-safe security, became a purpose, a passion & the last 2+ decades, I have enjoyed each of my working days doing what I enjoy the most.

It is like a washing machine – you load it, soak it, add detergent, run it to Wash – Rinse – Dry. Wear the clothes & then repeat the above process.

The media landscape is ever-evolving – and coupled with the shifts I made from Entertainment to FMCG(s) to Telecom to Broadcast to E-comm & back to FMCG kept me enthused & never had a dull period. Monotonous a bit.

The experience across industries over time helped me to shape myself as a better professional over time

From CPG to entertainment to e-commerce to a diversified group like ITC, what are the similarities and differences with regards to media and PR?

Media & PR work the same across industries – it’s all about Breaking New Grounds & Driving Impact. You chase efficiencies all along. You may have different nomenclatures for the above metrics – ends up being the same set of numbers. I have just observed the difference in pace of action e.g. E-commerce was all about right here, right now.

The key shift that I have observed in PR, with the growth in social media there has been a sharp convergence between PR & Social Media. The social handles along with brand assets (websites etc.) become your Owned, what you derive with the PR is the Earned & what you can afford is Paid.

How has digital media changed the competency requirements of a media professional?

Digital has ensured that we continue calling ourselves students – what started as an additional medium in the early 2000s with parallels being drawn to print then, today is the fastest growing medium competing TV viewership.

There definitely is a survival need to upskill yourself as a media professional.

When Wi-Fi becomes the basic need along with Food, Clothing & Shelter – you know what you will be dealing with. Thankfully since the medium has also grown in tandem – you end up acquiring some of the skills in the journey, some you have to acquire to make yourself competent.

Thankfully, in my case, I had the opportunity to be a bit ahead of the curve. During my HUL days (2004) I was the Digital coordinator for AAMET & recently just before the OTT players entered, I was with Snapdeal (2015). Besides this, I have also taken courses in Digital where there has been a gap

What are the essential elements of a survival kit of a media professional?

Know your numbers. Whether it is Spends, CPRP, CPM/CPV

With so much of paid PR happening all around, how is PR relevant in today’s context

With the emergence of digital offerings & social media, the avenues of the PR outreach have evolved – the significance is yet essential. You always need brand friends.

Different industries have their own benchmarks on Earned Vs Paid.

In some categories you want to have an influencer outreach – these are “icons” that the masses follow. Youth has moved from linear TV viewing to streaming content consumption including social media (average 8+ hours of content consumption per week online)  – to reach youth one needs to route the messaging with the influencers. This will qualify as paid PR for some.

What is your future vision of the digital world and the role of a media head?

Digital has become a part of the daily routine for most of us & hence it is the present vision rather than a future vision.

With severe fragmentation in TV and almost 15% households (Delhi & Mumbai) turning cord-cutters (disconnecting TV cables & set- boxes) – streaming content superseding linear TV (in metros) – the media plans have to be thought through 360.

Amazon is the 2nd largest search platform to Google (on brand searches).

The media person cannot just restrict planning on traditional & digital. The plans have to be thought through also for Social, e-commerce, search/discovery.

The future Media head will have to compete with AI

If you were not a media professional, what would you have been?

Thankfully I know about destination weddings now.

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About Ramdas Shenoyy

Ramdas Shenoyy is a senior marketing and communications professional with over two decades of working across industries and domains.
View all posts by Ramdas Shenoyy →

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