“Technology will help communications professionals demonstrate the value they bring to brands”

To recognize women leaders for their relentless pursuit of excellence in public relations and corporate communications, exchange4media PR & Corp Comm has launched the Women of Achievement Awards 2020. The third award in 2022 recognizes female leaders who are shaping the industry through outstanding work.

The awards recognize women who have not only achieved significant milestones in their careers, but have also brought dynamic change to the PR and corporate communications industry.

Today we have Prasidha Menon, Head of Communications, Airbnb India & South East Asia, who was honored as Communicator of the Year (Corp Comm Professional) at the e4m PR & Corp Comm Women Achievers Awards 2022. A resilient branding, marketing and communications expert with over 15 years of international work experience (across consumer and B2B business), Menon has a proven track record of expanding dynamic and high-growth Proven track record in business.

Excerpt from the interview:

Congratulations on winning the 2022 e4m PR & Corp Comm Women of Achievement Award. How do you feel?

I feel great. It is a great honor and an absolute privilege. Thank you to the jury for recognizing my hard work over the years. I’ve been truly blessed to have had the opportunity to work with some of the best companies, teams and leaders in the world. I have learned so much from the wonderful people I have worked with and I am so grateful for them being a part of my journey.

This award reminds us to keep working hard while fully enjoying every moment of it.

What inspired your journey and endeavors?

There is a famous saying, “Choose a job you love and you’ll never have to work a day”. I have my own opinion, “choose a job you like, you can always find a reason to do it well”. That’s what keeps me going.

I am truly grateful for the opportunities I have had, the growth and exposure I have had, and the people who have supported me along the way, especially as I dealt with some challenging situations. I wake up every morning reminding myself where it all started and what my success means to those who support me, and that’s my vitamin I (inspiration) for the day!

In what ways have you seen the PR and corporate communications industry change and evolve over the years? What global practices do you think India will implement?

The biggest change I’ve witnessed over the past few years is that today’s PR and communications professionals have positions of leadership and the ability to influence business decisions and deliver business results. Several factors contributed to this change.

The power of social media is forcing companies to examine their ethical responsibilities (not just legal responsibilities), thereby placing a greater focus on transparency through authentic communication with all stakeholders (customers, partners, investors, and more importantly employees). Celebrity endorsements by themselves do not help sell products or services, the opinions of real users expressed through social media platforms have the power to make or break campaigns, so communication professionals need to step in as guardians of conscience. Brands that are creative and innovative will certainly attract audiences better, but brands that are honest and authentic in communicating their successes and failures command love and loyalty.

Communications professionals and PR agencies in India have adapted quickly and have been investing in professional resources to gain a deeper understanding of business issues, communication channels and the pulse of the audiences they reach, which I believe will help them stay ahead of the curve. Speaking of changes, given India’s media world and the popularity of social media platforms, it will be interesting to see more investment in measurement and analytics, and potentially game-changing new technologies like artificial intelligence.

Tell us about the most valuable knowledge you’ve learned from the industry. How do you see the PR and communications industry in the coming days?

My biggest takeaway is that you have to be ready to learn and unlearn, and learn later. This industry is dynamic and there will never be a cookie-cutter approach to communication. What works for one brand’s specific audience may not work for another. Therefore, one must always be ready to start from scratch. For me, my guiding principles are simple – be authentic, be thoughtful and empathetic, be agile, and in the end, keep it simple and relevant.

I think the PR and communications industry is booming right now. Every company today needs leaders who are strong communicators and understand the dynamics of the business. Now is our time to rise and shine.

What are your thoughts on the next generation of professionals?

In my opinion, now is a great time to be in this industry. The line between marketing and communications no longer exists. Today, a company’s reputation has a huge impact on business continuity, so as a corporate communications professional, one has a seat at the leadership table and the ability to drive business results that are critical to reputation goals. Therefore, all those wishing to pursue a career in PR and communications must invest in understanding the business, brand, competitive environment, regulatory environment, etc. Your knowledge and understanding of business will really help you use communication as a powerful tool to deliver business results and address reputation issues in the most effective way.

If I had to offer advice or information, I would say, always be up to the challenge. They often come with life-changing opportunities. Please learn to live with being uncomfortable. This is a powerful place.

The content in this section is curated by the PR and Communications team. For any feedback, please write to karan.bhatia@exchange4media.com.

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