Partners abroad: a conversation with Indian agency Mavcomm Group
From international projects such as Euregiorail to clients active in different countries such as Thalys. Bijl PR’s work often transcends national borders. To help our clients tell their story outside of the Netherlands as well, we are happy to rely on the help of our international colleagues from the Global Communications Alliance. A worldwide network of like-minded, independent agencies with together many years of experience in communication, PR and public affairs. In the blog series ‘Partners abroad’ we talk to our partners about our profession. What characterizes communication and PR in the UK, India or Germany? This time we will talk to Anand Mahesh Talari, Managing Director of Mavcomm Group in India.
The agencies of the Global Communications Alliance share local and international knowledge with each other. And work together. In this way we support our clients as broadly as possible. We are proud that Bijl PR is part of this network, together with 15 other agencies, spread across Europe, Asia, North America, South America and Africa.
In one of the most densely populated countries in the world, known for the Taj Mahal, its colorful culture and its delicious cuisine, you may find our colleagues from full-service PR agency Mavcomm. From two offices in Mumbai and Delhi, they have been advising companies, brands and individuals on communication for more than 15 years. Anand: “We are entrepreneurial, digitally driven and work closely with clients to provide them with comprehensive strategic advice to create compelling stories and help spread them through the most relevant channels.”
From the old normal to the new strange
The pandemic made an impact on the entire world. The way of working also changed in India. Anand is convinced that hybrid working is the new normal: “I think a hybrid model is emerging. A mix of the ‘old normal’ and the, no longer so ‘new stranger’. If anything has become clear in recent years, it is that most of the work in our profession can be done just as efficiently, if not more efficiently, online. Using technology and other location-independent solutions.”
Combating fake news
Another big challenge we face in our profession is fake news. Like our German colleague Markus Hilse of Navos, Anand thinks that we as PR and communication professionals have an important role to play in combating fake news: “It is certainly a worrying trend and in some cases can be very harmful. Although there is a proliferation of fact-checking sites, unfortunately they do not always reach all people who may have been exposed to fake news.” Anand advocates collaborations between government and social networks in which they focus on filtering out fake news. According to him, a large-scale awareness campaign is needed to ensure that the general public understands that news is not always real: “Partner with leading media organizations and help people spot fake news. A lot of education is needed in this area, especially from (social) media.”
A look to the future
Over to a happier topic. The future! According to our Indian colleague, what are the trends in the field and what can we expect in the coming years? Anand thinks that public relations and public affairs will become increasingly integrated with other disciplines such as research and data analysis, but also will increasingly involve experts in the field of digital, video and voice-based content: “A joint approach of different types of experts will eventually develop into a more extensive package of services that we as agencies can offer.” They also see an increasingly important role in artificial intelligence and machine learning for communication professionals, including for predicting results. Finally, Anand sees a shift in objectives: “It is about creating social capital and triggering behavioral change. The question is often: how do you measure that?”
Communicating with 22 different languages and diverse backgrounds
India is in many ways a very different country from the Netherlands. Also in the field of PR and communication, Anand says. The unique way in which politics is organized and the diversity in society makes the work challenging. India not only has 28 different states and eight so-called union territories (administrative units), but also has 22 official languages. Anand: “The traditions, cultures, art forms and languages are different in every state. This means very diverse stakeholders and target groups. We must always be careful in how we communicate and make sure that we use the language that our target group also uses.”
We also asked Anand what is the best advice he has ever received from a fellow professional. Advice that in his case is about more than just communication: “A colleague once told me: in this profession we are concerned about creating happiness and managing good governance. My perspective on the profession, from just a strategic function to a more holistic view of the impact we make, changed forever with those words.” Great advice to end this interview with!