Guru Speak – Amit Misra

Amit Misra, CEO, MSL India has over two decades of experience in corporate consulting and public affairs advisory to multinational corporations and business conglomerates across India and Asia. Leading MSL India to two consecutive wins as ‘Great Place to Work’ in 2014 & 2015 and again being certified in 2016, Amit continues to make MSL in India a firm that puts colleagues at the centre to make it a great place for them to work and grow.

RT: Tell us about how you got into Public Relations. 

AM: Mostly by accident! To expand on the specifics, I will pen a book someday.

RT: How has your experience in corporate consulting and public affairs, how has the journey been for you? 

AM: I would like to describe my journey using just a few adjectives:

  • Thrilling
  • Satisfying
  • Humbling
  • Super Fun

RT: Client needs have changed today, and PR consultants have to learn new approaches. How does a PR professional adapt to the changing environment? 

AM: Today, you don’t have to just accept change but hug it in order to excel. As the speed and nature of communications continues to transform in the digital age, PR professionals across levels, today more than ever, have to keep pace. The onus here lies both on the firm and the individual to invest in learning.

We need to invest in learning and development of talent, for both; providing clients the best strategic counsel and execution as well as to up the quality of talent. And while firms should, it is also the responsibility of professionals today to be proactive in upping their learning curve by being open to working in cross-functional teams and investing in learning courses.

RT: How does MSL stand out with the new approach of Building Influence and Delivering Impact?

AM: Our statement intrinsically reflects our new global purpose of engaging multiple perspectives and holistic thinking.  Today, to solve difficult challenges, we are called to engage perspectives from across the echo chambers that exist in our worlds and process those points of view into thinking that respects all.  We have restated our brand narrative to clearly describe our business and what we aspire to deliver for our clients – Which is to champion our clients’ interests through fearless and insightful campaigns that earn influence and deliver impact.

RT: MSL was a winner in the ‘Great Place to Work’ survey and also was featured as ‘the most preferred choice’ for clients and colleagues. What are the things that MSL does differently for its employees? 

AM: Talent is the foundation of our business. At MSL our mission is to go beyond being a ‘Great Place to Work’; we work towards making the MSL experience more holistic by adding learning and development on top of a culture of fun, respect and equality. Thus, our mission is to make MSL a ‘Great Place to Grow for Colleagues’. Some of the initiatives include:

  • Ignite – A dynamic and world-class learning platform for colleagues which is brought to life by domain experts.
  • Volunteering time to our citizenship initiatives
  • Ongoing mentoring and development across levels
  • MSL Ustad – A concierge service for colleagues to help manage their personal pressures

RT: How are PR campaigns in India different from those in other markets in Asia?

AM: Asia in terms of language, culture, media consumption etc. is the most diverse of all continents. As per me, most campaigns across markets are similar with regards to the conceptualisation, as the basic premise is mainly consistent. The critical difference is reflected in tactics of execution, geographic priorities, local sensitives, tone and tenor of messaging and of course budgets.

RT: What will be the two to three trends in Public Relations that one will witness over the next couple of years?

AM: Firstly, we will see sectors like healthcare, education and organisations dispensing civic amenities make more concerted efforts to leverage public relations to deliver their nuanced messages more effectively and drive behavior change.

Secondly, as technology and social media continues to transform and enhance the communication landscape, technologies like big data and immersive technology will pave way for more targeted and engaged communications; with mobile being at the center of the ecosystem.

RT: What do you think are the qualities that an ideal PR professional should possess or cultivate?

AM: Curiosity, Creativity and Courtesy

RT: Are PR firms in India innovating enough to deliver value to clients? 

AM: Cannes over the years and in 2017 especially has lent much needed credibility to our creative ability. That said, there is still so much of great, exceptional work being done that doesn’t come into the limelight as often as it should. However, as the media landscape transforms, the value addition that PR brings will be better understood and recognized over the coming time. We just have to be at it!

RT: Tell us about your one favourite PR campaign in India in the last one year and why is it your favourite?

AM: There are many outstanding examples, however, the Vicks #Touchofcare campaign definitely stands out. Based on a simple insight, it is storytelling at its best. Fostering an appreciation of unconventional relationships and breaking stereotypes. The powerful online engagement that it successfully achieved is a testimony to the emotional connect that the campaign so deserved.

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Reputation Today is India’s only print magazine for Public Relations and Corporate Communications professionals. It is the official magazine of PRAXIS - India’s largest offsite summit for Public Relations and Corporate Communications.

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