The motive of “engaging the intelligent communicator”, was carried forward to the second edition of the Reputation Today Conclave that took place at JW Marriott in Bengaluru on May 19.
It was a mix of PR and Corporate Communications professionals from the Garden City, who formed the audience. Yet again, The Promise Foundation brought insights of several prominent business leaders to a common platform. Diverse topics were discussed like – Leadership Communication for 21st Century, Value Creation through Smart Reputation Management, Creativity in Communication for a Management Perspective, Building the Reputation of a City through a Think Tank, Managing Gender Diversity in Corporate India and Personal Branding in Creating a Strong Reputation.
“Walk the talk”
The speakers were eye-openers like Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, CMD, Biocon Limited who said, “Managing reputation is identifying and owning up to our organisation’s reputational integrity”. Walk the talk, she added and went on to say that India’s reputation is very important. And, it is critical for Indian companies to build businesses in the world. Inspiring Indian leaders Narayan Murthy, Vishal Sikka, Azim Premji, have built reputation for India. Strong reputation is a solid asset for a country and must be honed & leveraged. “Be emphatic and articulate in communicating your reputation, else the clarity of your reputation wouldn’t matter. One of the biggest reputation risks of brand India is – crony capitalism. We need the alignment of India Inc. and the government has to fix it,” was her view.
“Indian market is hungry, aspirational”
“Building brands in India is much easier than in USA; there is a lot of opportunity in India as there are too many need gaps!” observed K Ganesh, Founder, Protea Medical and Founder GrowthStory. He felt that the Indian market is hungry, aspirational, but there are too many distractions. Here the ability to reach is high, but the ability to engage is limited. “We have problems to solve, and that is the Indian opportunity to build brands,” was the insight he shared. The amount of time people are spending on social media, and smartphones is very high. Because of social media, the damage caused by the customer to the brand’s reputation is far more impactful.
Power of experiences
“Experience is the new brand,” was very strong point made by Umang Bedi, MD, South Asia, Adobe as he spoke on communication in the experience-driven economy. Putting the spotlight on the “power of experiences” he explained how brands of tomorrow are being built on experiences of today. In fact, he felt customer journey is the new product. “I am ready to pay extra if the experience can be one touch,” he explained.
So, in this era where brands go all out to connect with consumers, one thing that we witness is data explosion and digital disruption. Putting the emphasis on connecting, he said communication needs to be consistent and continuous. And he enunciated his mantras for communication needs which are – be Useful, be Ubiquitous, be Compelling and be Personal.
“Raise the collective consciousness of citizens to build the reputation of Bengaluru”
How do you manage the reputation of a city, was the talking point of Revathy Ashok, Angel Investor, CEO & Managing Trustee, B.PAC. She specified how companies that benefit from Bengaluru, must contribute back to the city. “Raise the collective consciousness of the citizens to build the reputation of Bangalore,” she said. Bangalore is the fastest growing city in the world. But, the city’s growth/success has come at great loss to its health, she revealed and went on to explain how B.PAC worked for two years with government and other stakeholders to make Bengaluru ‘say no’ to plastic! B.PAC also worked with government to introduce child protection laws in Bengaluru, which incidentally was the first city to do so.
“The company needs to be gutsy and newsworthy”
“I have met no one today, who is not a digital media specialist,” explained Devita Saraf, CEO Vu Technologies, and that they were never scared to take on the giants. She expressed the fact that their Vu TV “is cheaper and better than the big names, and smart too”. A company, she felt “needs to be gutsy, and newsworthy”. Her bold suggestion was – “Have a CEO in a front page ad!” In fact one may recall that this exactly what she did! “India’s Devita Saraf Steps Out To Become A ‘Model’ CEO” was the headline in an article in the Forbes magazine on Jan 15, 2016. The article started off with – “Today’s front page of the Times of India newspaper, India’s largest English daily, featured a full-page advertisement for Vu Televisions…. It is also unusual in one way: the young, bright-eyed model pictured in the ad is none other than Vu’s founder and CEO, 34 year-old Devita Saraf”.
“Step into the circle of influence”
Corporate Communications can do a much better job of managing workplace said Aparna Jain, CEO, Zebraa Works and also disclosed that junior leadership look upto senior leadership as icons, which makes a positive impact. “Step into the Circle of Influence. Bring change,” she articulated very clearly. Her talk focused on the fact – “talk about women’s success stories to make the process easier for recruiting. Who takes the responsibility of communicating in sexual harassment?” Her enlightening talk was basically woven around how one should be Managing Gender Diversity in Corporate India.
And thus, the second round of Reputation Today Conclave came to an end.