PR is all about effective story-telling
Amisha Gutgutia, Director – PR and Communications (India and South Asia), Accor is seasoned communication professional with deep expertise in leading communication campaigns in the hospitality space.
During the past decade, the power of storytelling has unfolded in more ways than one could have imagined. Organisations have become cognizant about how storytelling can also become a powerful communications weapon. In the last decade-and-a-half, I have realised that what remains most imperative in this business is the seamless flow of information amongst your stakeholders, both within and outside the organisation.
On any regular day, I’m inundated with gallons of information which go into several mental compartments, based on short-term and long-term goals. All that information runs through your brain with an aim of building greater credibility for Accor and to position it as one of the leading augmented hospitality brands in the media. Of course, simultaneously, one has to remain mindful of confidential information like trade secrets, embargoed information and critical details of the company. To put it simply, it is a lot of hard work!
However, in the field of communications, it is never about the amount of effort, but always about how closely the outcomes are aligned to expected results.
Needless to say, a crisis can come knocking on one's door any time and that is the most important job responsibility a PR professional can have. Other responsibilities include stakeholder management, internal communications, coordination with legal and development teams and other vertical heads, all part of an ongoing process.
The secret sauce to any successful collaboration is encouraging the people around you. My go-to approach is to keep engaging with as many minds as possible, connecting with them and giving them a sense of community and purpose. Problem-solving becomes a whole lot easier with this approach. Another management skill I swear by is pacesetting. I’m my own competition, and my teams - at various hotels and our agency partners - give me immense support in achieving my goals. When you work with such large teams, it’s important to acknowledge their efforts and I’ve inculcated a culture of positive reinforcement for every milestone reached, however small.
Although the Industry has evolved manifold, change being the only constant, I'd say the industry is yet to witness a real disruption. Some trends to look out for in the future are: If you want to enhance your communication with your customers and generate leads, then companies need to have an inclusive online content strategy; while the trend of influencer engagement is there to stay, what is becoming increasingly difficult to measure is direct Return on Investment (ROI) through such engagements; Artificial Intelligence (AI) is only going to strengthen and evolve at a breakneck pace; Less content and more campaigns to drive conversions and build audiences will become the approach.
I began my journey at Accor as Manager-Communications and Loyalty Programme in 2014 and played an instrumental role in giving Accor's visibility a remarkable thrust in India. I have also achieved feats for the loyalty club in the region by garnering greater prominence for the programme and helping make it a success.
My years at Accor have been nothing less than phenomenal and these years paint my story in a whole new light. Together, the Brand and I have achieved numerous milestones like international media Familiarisation Trips (FAMS) and association with Tourism bodies, having encouraged a lot of international hosted stays for the media over the past few years; our association with airline partners, with us fostering some great relationships with airline companies like GoAir, Indigo and Vistara to partner with them for media FAMs in the last couple of years; our proactive work with freelance travel writers who support us with multiple stories in different media outlets.
One has to give one's journey the time it deserves, along with the power to captivate and motivate - skills that require conscious crafting but are not non-achievable. I always believe in self-motivation and self-discipline. That's helped me navigate between Mumbai (where I live) and Gurgaon (where our corporate office is located) seamlessly.
Honestly, I don’t have a role model and I don’t idolise any one person. However, I always believe there is a lot to learn from everyone.
WOMEN CAN EMPOWER EACH OTHER
PR is a female-dominated profession, but as you move up the ladder in the corporate world, top management roles and senior positions of power largely remain the preserve of men. Therefore, my challenge has been to garner support from other women at the workplace during the course of my career. We women can certainly do with greater support and empower each other. Especially as women tend to push themselves harder and hold themselves to high standards any day. I also have immense regard for all working mothers.
To all aspiring women marketeers, I just want to say: Keep your dream alive! Understand that to achieve anything, it requires faith and belief in yourself, hard work, consistency, a vision, determination and dedication. Therefore, be yourself, work at your own pace, and chart your own definition of success.
This article was published in BW hotelier issue dated '' with cover story titled 'BW HOTELIER THE WOMEN SPECIAL ISSUE VOL 6, ISSUE 2'
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