A Manager is as successful as their Team Member

A manager is only as successful as their team members. Managing a team is by no means an easy task, there is no thumb rule that works for all. Just as management styles are different, different team members react differently to different management styles. 


As a manager, I’m sure you’ve thought, “I could do this myself” or “It’s easier for me to do this than have my team do this”. Relatable? We’ve all gone through this, you’re not alone dear manager. Infact, there is a popular saying ‘what brought you here will not take you there’; work was easy when you were a solo player and now it is a different ball game to get work done from the team.

Confused about how to approach the situation? Here’s my take on how to get there, and believe me, there are multiple ways to get there too! 


Understanding YOUR goal for the team 

Before you bell the cat, that is to direct your team, be sure of what you are doing and what you want the team to do. Upon understanding your long term objectives you can proceed to understand the team member’s skills, strengths and weaknesses. Aligning your long term objectives with complementary skills of your team members will enable you to build a team that withstands the test of time. 


Be a coach, not a supervisor 

Your next step is to visualize what energies are required within the team to meet the objectives, create those energies and wait till your teams start visualizing those energies to meet the objectives. Communication is the key to instilling the required energy. 

Try not to be an instructor, be a coach and use non-directive teaching methods. This makes a huge difference, you need to create an atmosphere for the team to attain job satisfaction and thrive. Ask them rather than telling, we are always tempted to share our experience, instead of giving them space to build their own experience proves helpful. As the team gets charged towards the desired objectives create the opportunity for them to channelise their energy towards the common goal.


As a coach, your goal should be to push the team to put their best foot forward and help them realize their strengths and contribution to your strategy. Recognition is the key, always appreciate relativeness and respect their fundamental needs. The energy will double. 


One can consider their roles as a manager a true success when the team elevates along with the job. As long as you can guide your team to focus on the objective, stand by their difficult days and don’t let them quit while the going gets tough. 

Always remember a little push is all that is needed – maybe success is the next step.


Dawning of a New Era

A person who may have gone into a coma in December 2019 and who has woke up in June 2020 would feel how ‘Rip van Winkle’, the protagonist of the story by the same name written by Washington Irving felt when he woke up after being asleep for 20 years. A world completely changed!

Now on, we could see the rise of the concepts of BC which refers to before Covid, DC i.e. During Covid and AC, After Covid

Everyone would be wearing masks, there are very few vehicles and people on the roads, Shops and shoppers behave differently — people have to clean their hands with sanitiser before being let into shops and supermarkets. There are fewer things to be on shop shelves.

The pandemic has affected nearly every sector and given birth to new business opportunities. It has forced almost every sector to innovate as there’s been a change in the consumer mindset. It’s been a great learning experience for every sector.

The Retailers Association of India (RAI) have seen its members seeing a shift from asset to experience creation for the shoppers. Also, individualisation is a major trend that is being seen across the world and along with it has come hyper-personalisation. Perhaps the scariest bit for retailers would probably be the shift to minimalism, the people buying just what they need and not buying what they want! A development that must be keeping Dr Harish Bhatt, Director-Marketing and Communication, RAI, when speaking at a CII webinar held recently. .

The CoViD-19 pandemic that swept across the world, affecting at least 197 countries, sparing only a few very small innocuous island nations. By the time the pandemic passes over, it would have left in its wake a completely different world.

The CoViD-19 pandemic is a great learning experience. It has accelerated the time taken for business transformation. From a period of five to ten years it took for businesses and the economy to transform, businesses have transformed within just two-three months of the onset of the pandemic.

An interesting change in sentiments is that of pre-conceived notions and paranoia impacting people’s behaviour. One sphere that has seen a big impact is in the business sentiment. “What can improve our lives post-CoViD-19 is expectations.” believes V Rajesh, a Retail and Shopping Behaviour Expert.
We can understand how subjective aspects affect our behaviours. “We are aspiration-driven, says Ke Ranganathan, Managing Director, Roca Bathroom Products Pvt Ltd, the world’s largest bathroom solutions maker, “We are aspirations-driven and expectation that will improve our lives.”

Consumers are driven by uncertainty and fear, while they are looking for convenience and a desire for privacy. Today people want to be trendy.

Satyakam Arya, Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer, Daimler India Commercial Vehicles Ltd, expects vengeance buying once the situation normalises. That’s probably the warning about the Irrational Exuberance that could take over once the consumers return and with them the spending. Reboot, Resilience, Reimagine and Reform are the buzzwords that would bring the economy out of the rut.

Every sector would go through the process.

As an example, the supposedly recession-proof Healthcare sector is being transformed, it has seen a paradigm shift. Telemedicine has now taken centre stage and there’s a change in the mindset of the patient today. Clinical examination is being replaced by investigative examination!.

All fixed costs have moved into variables now, across sectors.


brand-comm’s Webinar Decodes the Future in Post-CoViD-19 World

brand-comm held its fifth webinar in its brand-comm Connect Series here on Thursday. Despite being a working day, a significant number of people tuned in across various platforms to hear the eclectic panel discussing ‘How Are Businesses Donning An All-New Avatar‘.
With K Giriprakash, Associate Editor and Chief of Bureau at Business Line, moderating the webinar, it had an eminent panel made of C S Sudheer, Founder & CEO,, Sudhakar Rao, Director-Branding, ICFAI Group, and Rajesh B, Founder & CEO, SmarterBiz.
Speaking of the current situation where educational institutions are leveraging technology, Rao said, there would be three phases of adoption. In the first phase, it was about identifying the technology tools required for conducting the classes. In phase II, they would use white label learning manual system and phase II is seeing an open learning management system.
Rao said Phase III is still on. He added that the future would see a blended learning method where institutions would use both online and classroom teaching to optimise the imparting of the education. He believes, “The smartest will survive, not the fittest. The smartest alone would be able to wade through troubled waters. Those who have inherited a legacy system cannot survive.”
The Rs 7.5 trillion sector which caters to 37 crore students may be in for an overhaul, going by the words of Rao. “Subscriptions to edutech services have risen 3X,” he said.
Sudheer, who has been offering financial education for nearly a decade, had some incisive views to share. At this extraordinary time, “people have realised how little they need to live”.  Also, he said people have realised the need to save money for the rainy day, a belief that’s come following the evaporating of the jobs and incomes overnight. He shared an insight on how people who had limited commitments have survived, while those with heavy commitments are unable to repay their loans.
He shared an interesting insight that though people were now earning less, they were saving more. that offers investor education now receives more enquiries on saving and investments..
Rajesh, while speaking of the current situation, said, “CoViD-19 will have an impact for 8-10 months.” But, he sees the logistics sector seeing a steep recovery. One development is that of the mainstreaming of the gig economy which has responded well to the crisis. The term has its origins in the sub-prime crisis of 2008 that saw many of those in the tech sector take to gig work. Now Karnataka, he said, has a policy for gig workers.
Among the sectors he sees surviving the crisis include e-commerce, computing, telcos, financial services and education.
The change in mindsets of the millennials is what he finds most striking. “About 30-40% of millennials want jobs, not careers. They have multiple skills and believe in self-learning. This is enabling gig as a prominent means.
The webinar brought to the fore that cross-learning, unlearning, relearning, pivoting at country and family level may be in. Since there’s the trend of the remote workspace, mobility-challenged workforce i.e. women will work remotely. This would lead to a better distribution of wealth.

Business Unlock 1.0: How Marketers are redesigning their strategies

As the economy unlocks in controlled phases, businesses must now restructure their models, communication channels and messaging. CoViD-19 has brought about a change in how brands portray themselves to and engage with their customers, adding an aspect of sensitivity to the messages being sent out.

Chapter 4 of the ‘brand-comm Connect’ saw industry stalwarts debate and share their valuable insights on the topic ‘Business Unlock 1.0: How Marketers are Redesigning Their Strategies‘. Ramesh Jude Thomas, President and Chief Knowledge Officer, EQUiTOR Value Advisory Pvt. Ltd, was in conversation with Diptakirti Chaudhuri, Head of Marketing, Manipal Global Education Services, Shweta Berry, Head of Strategic Alliances – Industry & Academia, Marcom and CSR, Aeris Communications, Prasad Mane, Assistant Vice-President, Marketing, Bhartiya City Developers and Dr Gururaj H Kidiyoor, Professor & Chairperson – MSM Program, T. A. Pai Management Institute (TAPMI).

Quite a few insights emerged from the discussion.

Role of Leadership
The correct leadership will enable businesses to steer smoothly and steadily during the pandemic, towards sustainability, to prolong their business. On this, Dr Guru remarked, “Academic leadership is the pioneer in creation, dissemination and application of knowledge. Today, most institutes are able to create and disseminate knowledge through various digital tools and platforms. It’s creating the aspect of applicability that is a concern, and we see that outbound marketing activities have taken a huge hit. Internships are another area that have taken a hit. It is said that 10-15% of recruitment happens through internships, but are no longer possible. Fixing this requires strict innovation on how we can digitally ensure placements happen effectively.”

Role of Engagement
Prasad pointed out, “Today, it is important that we look at creating products that kindle curiosity amongst users. The industry and the customers need a differentiator in every product they are using, and in order to entice them, it is necessary to create curiosity for the product.”
Shwetha emphasised the need to have a customer-centric model, stating, “ Brands need to move from product-centric models to customer-centric models. If you don’t shift, it is impossible for brands to sustain in the changing environments. Adoption, agility, flexibility, keen listening and comprehending the needs of the customer will help in business continuity. Brands mustn’t dictate, but listen to customers.
Diptakirti added, “Marketing tools we had at the beginning of March 2020, were sufficient for the last 3 months. However, CoViD-19 has made us question the use of certain tools and their value while pushing us to innovate.”

Customer Relations
Speaking on the challenges faced in customer relations, Prasad said, “The situation has opened our eyes to the different methods of enticing customers, making us evaluate the avenues at hand, and how do they impact us.”
Shwetha added, “It’s important to understand how brands have evolved their communication and engagement with customers. Today, there is an added angle of safety, and the FMCG sector has been able to disrupt its customer relations. During the pandemic, they brought their products right to your doorsteps through various platforms. Technology is going to play a huge role in customer experience with contactless systems.”
Diptakirti expressed his thoughts on the on-going evolution of customer experience and its importance in sensitising the stakeholders to the change while allowing them to get used to the new changes that are happening.
The panel agreed that brands must recognise there will be a shift in customer preferences of consuming products and services. Further, the availability has played a major role in what the consumer prefers to buy, and hence brands must cater to ensuring product availability.

Collateral Damage
The panel also deliberated on how the pandemic would create casualties in the economy, with businesses shutting down, downscaling units and verticals, loss of jobs, just to name a few.
On the topic, Shwetha said, “There is a need for brands to collaborate with other brands, ensure that your company is debt-free. It is important that brands partner like-minded and equal peers, in order to sustain a healthy relationship. Acquisition is going to be a huge tool for bigger brands to help the younger or smaller brands survive.” Prasad spoke on the importance of changing business models to ensure brands survive the fallout. Players are collaborating with technology partners to enhance their business models and be relevant to a larger audience.

In conclusion, the panel agreed that companies will remodel their marketing practices to ensure they are relevant to their target audience.


How social media is changing Public Relations

Media is transforming by the day, and so is consumer behaviour, the consumers of news, in this case. Social media now plays a major role in dissipating news and information on a daily basis.

Social media has given wings to PR

Public Relations professionals whose thinking was constrained by the circulation and readership figures to measure the reach and impact of their work now feel unshackled, growing wings. They use their owned media channels to further amplify the reach amongst their target audience. In the past, industry leaders had coined adages like ‘Advertising is what you pay for’ and ‘Public Relations is what you pray for’. This led to conversations like ‘Now that you have got your story out, go and pray for its impact’. PR professionals now have greater influence over the messaging. The message is further channelised to the audience through pointed targeting using parameters like age, sex, profession, geography etc.,

Birth of Digital PR

The advent of social media gave birth to digital PR because public relations professionals readily accepted the two-way communication advantage the new media allowed. In the past, conventional media, which was the biggest communication channel, gave their readers or viewers only one-way communication channel. This fine balance of carefully using the combination of new media and conventional media spawned meaningful dialogues and hence influenced brand perceptions, is digital PR or the new-age PR.

PR effectively achieves the desired positioning

Public Relations professionals are now able to enjoy a lot of freedom as their efforts are not confined to what the media writes about their brands. The owned space and semi-paid platforms which now constitute a major portion of digital PR, allows for a greater freedom for better storytelling. This helps in sharper positioning of the brand.

Change in media reporting style

Widespread acceptance and indulgence in social media have pushed conventional media to change the way it operates. Social media has pushed the television channels to report using text to cover aspects that cannot be supported with video or when video journalists cannot be everywhere to report on developments.

To catch up with the growing acceptance of video content and a decline in text consumption, newspapers and magazines are now training their reporters on producing video interviews and their desk is now being trained to edit video content. Some newspapers use videos from their television partners.

In this whole process, magazines have been the worst-affected, thus falling by the wayside over time, while the readers are no longer ready to wait for a week or even a month to read a magazine, magazine reporters are now having to break the news on their websites on a daily basis. Auto and food magazines are now compelled to generate more content for their respective YouTube channels.

While they are adopting newer mediums to stay relevant, news reporting styles have also changed. Magazine and newspaper reporters are now trained to double as television anchors or newsreaders as their content is now also in the video format.

Data analytics is being used to see what type of content or stories are more engaging and content creation is demand-specific.

Social media has changed messengers too

Space is no more a constraint, print stories go online, television channels take text-based smaller announcements and views. Both these sets of professionals are getting closer, and PR professionals who narrate their stories better and can add value to the journalist’s reporting are the ones who will stay relevant.

It’s time PR professionals are trained to be platform-agnostic as integrated communication is the future.


Three changes in mass communication segment that have put stress on marketers

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By Pravin Shiriyannavar, Head – Public Relations, Bangalore & Kolkata


The last decade has seen three major changes in the field of mass communication that have increased the stress levels of all stakeholders. The first one is rapid adoption of Public Relations as their marketing wing by organizations on all fronts. The second development is the growing number of agencies to tell the brand’s story. Third is the dwindling number of media outlets and editorial space.

This development has had its own impact on the world of communication and has made it extremely competitive and puts pressure on stakeholders to be sharp in telling their story and make a difference in the shortest time or in the smallest space in the minds of the consumer.

PR gaining acceptance: Public Relations as a marketing tool has gained significantly in importance owing to the credibility it lends and the increase in awareness amongst evolved marketers. Though this is not yet a subject that marketers study during their MBA, thanks to the various online forums where users get to comment and share their opinion. This has led to an  increase in awareness amongst marketers that public opinion is formed through earned media content. When I started my career as a journalist way back in 2003 I got to hear from readers that they read the ad in the newspaper which showcased them in good light, but it was an editorial piece. That was the level of understanding of an educated reader then. Today’s reader has started seeing the difference between advertisement and editorial.

Increase in number of storytellers:

With an increase in avenues for readers to consume content from, every organization now needs good storytellers to tell their story to the audience. Most of the times it is the communication agency’s job to understand the brand and tell the story in the most compelling way. Every brand has an added responsibility to identify the right story-tellers or communication agency. Any hurry to hire the lowest bidder or yes-masters, leads to a loss of time and opportunity for the organization. To keep apace with the number of organisations that are accepting PR as their marketing arm, has led to an increase in the number of agencies. PR is a long-term exercise and does not give any instant gratification, and hence brands have to choose their PR partners carefully. Long distance racehorses are the best bet.

Shrinking media outlets:

Media is an expensive business, the cost of retaining the best talent and investments in advancement to stay competitive have increased the input cost of every media house. Conventional media houses had advertisement as the source of income. Reducing ad budgets to reduce input cost of every product or service in the market have diverted advertisement budgets from conventional media houses to new media.

This development has put financial stress on media houses and hence, it has not been an attractive proposition for new entrants.


All these changes have increased the stress on marketers to earn that editorial space. Policy changes within media houses are changing the definition of news. Over a decade ago, relationship with journalists was the key to being in the news. Now with an abundance of news and lack of space, it has put pressure on journalists too, to filter news. Today it is not the relationship with media that matters, it is the art of the Public Relations professional to convert information into news and the ability to influence perceptions with conventional or new media that matters.