IABC – EMENA Comm – The Indian Panel

A bunch of us Indian communicators attended the International Association of Business Communicators – EMENA Comm Conference in Bahrain this month and it was a two-day event with a series of diverse contexts and conversations that were explored. It focused on both internal and external communications and looked at how strategic transformation can enable and empower organisations.

As part of the External Communications – Leadership and Strategy Track, four of us got to be part of a panel and I got to moderate the discussion – Communications that Transform: From Tactics to Strategy.

This was my stellar panel:

Rachana Panda – CCO & Citizenship Leader @ GE South Asia
Sujit Patil – VP & Head, Communications @ Godrej Industries
Sunita Venugopal – Director, Corporate Communications @ Walmart Labs

Some of the talk-tracks that we explored were:

Can communications truly transform businesses and chart new courses for organisations?
How do you take a communications strategy and translate it into a compelling tactical plan?
Building true value using strategies that are transformative in the world of the millennial.
Navigating the world of influence, data, analytics, ROI.
Shifting paradigms of trust, stakeholders, technology – what does it mean for strategies and tactics.

A tactical approach without strategy can derail a business if it’s not driven by the larger vision and aligned to business outcomes. A strategic approach without the tactical execution on the ground can also be a recipe for disaster.

We had an interesting conversation that traversed through brands, identities and communicating around them. In context of India’s communicators seeking to move from tactics to strategy and exploring how communication can transform businesses.

Sujit spoke about how a national narrative is built that directly impacts reputation at Godrej Group and how navigating this space has led to transformative changes within the organisation and how there needs to be a shift from ROI to ROO. Sunita spoke about how at Walmart Labs India they harness social media to attract talent by partnering closely with HR. Rachana spoke about how their team is designing a social media campaign to support revenue marketing and making a success out of it.

Here’s a poem I wrote as a summary of the conversation and this one has snippets from the inputs of all my speakers.

Talk to people,
Speak their language,
Check and re-calibrate,
Understand the brass tacks of business,
Get the pulse on trends,
Involve with the business on many levels,
Make them look good,

Prioritise, measure, manage,
Add checks and balances,
Drive objective driven conversations,
That drill down to strategic blueprints,
Set expectations right,
Course correct as you go,
With multi-dimensional workforces,
Across diversity segments,
Cut through the clutter with clarity,
Cascade business strategy,
Use channels that appeal,
Use tools that work,
Bring in the leaders,
Get them to engage audiences,
Make the connections,
Use the lenses of perspective,
Keep it really simple,
Tell them what’s in it for them,
Drill in value systems and ethics,
Generate a culture for people to speak up,
Measure and track tools and figure what works,
Layered cascade effects linking to overall objectives,
It’s not ROI,
Measure outputs with ROO,
Link it with the business,
Tangible, realistic, impactful simple,
The go-to mantras,
Data-informed and not data-driven,
Feel the pulse,
Keep a close eye on data,
To help pivot and alter,
Communicators are facilitators,
What’s the trade off?
How do we story tell?
Strategy isn’t overnight,
Tactics won’t help cut it!
Delve deep, learn more…

— Shreya Krishnan

Shreya Krishnan
Vice President - Marketing and Communications at Anviti Insurance Brokers
Shreya is a CSR Specialist and Corporate Grooming Consultant. Her interests lie in Activism, Dance, Theatre, Poetry, Blogging, Modelling, Acting. She considers herself an Earth Warrior and is an Event Anchor and Trainer. She is a Pageant Winner and public speaker.

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