“In 2022, ESG will be one of the main areas of intervention for industry and companies”

As we move into 2022 and look forward to it as a year full of hope and possibilities, e4m PR and Corp Comm presents the ‘Year-end Story of 2021’ series with the theme ‘The possibilities that the new year reserve for PR agencies and The Way Ahead ‘. The series encompasses the views, opinions and thoughts of some of the biggest names and veterans in the PR and communications fraternity on how they perceive the New Year, the transitions they expect to see and their vision for the future.

In this interview, Vineet Handa, Founder and CEO of Kaizzen, shares his take on how PR and communications is a relationship-driven business that requires a human touch and an interpersonal approach.

Excerpts from the interview:

How important is the custom pitch trend to the PR industry?

“One Size Does Not Fit All” At Kaizzen, we strongly believe in the approach that allows us to personalize our approach for our valued customers. Based on our wisdom, ideas and knowledge-based PR strategies, we are able to deliver tailored strategies and messages to all of our stakeholders to achieve core goals. Campaign-centric communication has made personalized pitches all the more relevant and they will become more important as opportunities are very rare and limited.

Artificial intelligence is the future, whatever the sector. How can AI help public relations and corporate communications professionals in 2022?

I believe that no technology can replace a relationship. However, technology is certainly a catalyst for strengthening and nurturing relationships. Therefore, it is up to us to determine how we harness technology to generate brand stories. Today, many cross-platform communications present data-driven information, and technologies like AI can help us with real-time data. AI also allows us to build on innovative ideas, provide more knowledge to stakeholders and regularly improvise brand perception.

What trends can India’s public relations and corporate communications industry look forward to / expect in 2022?

Standing out in the crowded and tight market will be the biggest challenge and the biggest opportunity this year. It would also drive trends in the public relations and corporate communications industry. Therefore, we can certainly expect content to be king, followed by the outsourcing of storytelling through multiple platforms and the practice of knowledge-based public relations.

According to industry experts, environmental, social and corporate governance will continue to grow. In what ways will socially responsible initiatives continue to drive awareness campaigns and programs in 2022?

Over the past couple of years we’ve seen a long march from CSR to ESG, but the journey has only just begun. In 2022, ESG will be one of the main areas of intervention for industry and companies. Therefore, the focus will be more on communication agencies to help their clients achieve and communicate their ESG objectives more effectively.

How did you experience the second wave of the pandemic? What were the challenges you had to overcome?

While we were decently prepared after the first wave of the pandemic, the second introduced its own set of challenges. Operationally, we were all thriving, but the second wave bought into a state of dystopia that was emotionally draining. Kaizzen being a people-centered organization, decided to create an environment of conviviality. The idea was to offer a sense of belonging and uplift the minds of our people, customers and stakeholders. Our priority was to show empathy, boost morale, build confidence and keep hope for a positive future.

How did the younger generation / new hires adapt to the telecommuting system? What do you think of the success of the hybrid working model over the coming year?

The younger generation was the key driver when it came to embracing the hybrid working model. Given the circumstances, we have learned to adapt to hybrid operation over a period of time. Public relations and communication is a relationship-driven business that requires a human touch and an interpersonal approach. And since we belong to a social economy, I hope that we can soon resume the normal course of business. Until then, the technology-backed hybrid work model ensures business continuity.

The pandemic has been a trying time for all of us, especially psychologically. How should organizations prepare for next year?

For relationship-driven companies like us, human capital is the currency. Therefore, it is imperative for an organization to embrace and promote regular skills upgrading so that human resources can remain relevant and valuable. And as times are tough and very uncertain, it is crucial for companies to stay motivated – as well as their employees. I also believe that there is a need to be more involved and evolve to overcome any unprecedented scenario in the future.

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