Jaldi 5 with Jaideep Shergill: Good PR is good storytelling

17 Oct,2012

Jaideep Shergill

01. One presumes that other than part of the acquisition plan of Hanmer PR by Publicis Groupe, the switchover to MSL India also indicates that the various MSL policies are now being adopted and totally internalised by the team here. What are the specific MSL Group values that people who deal with you (clients, press etc) can look forward to?

To be honest, the internalisation has been going on for the last five years. We joined MSL in 2007 and it has been five years since that happened. I do not think that anything is new for people at Hanmer as people here are working as part of MSL for five years. We are already a part of the vision and the brand already.


I do not think anything is going to change as far as our vision and values are concerned. It is not going to change, rather get more aligned, sharp and focused.


What is/are the key differentiator(s) between the agency as it was five years back and now?

Lots of things have changed over the last five years. When Hanmer joined MSL, the two agencies had a lot of common things. We are focussed on our people, our clients. We have a very transparent structure and open culture. And I think those things are still going to remain.


What has changed is that we have grown from an independent small agency to a global brand today. Today we are working across borders. We have best practices from all over the world. The infrastructure is better. We moved to a new location in a brand new building, which houses all the MSL group agencies. We have focused a lot in the last 3-4 years on digital.


02. Other than the identity, it is interesting that you have moved to an upgraded office. And we thought we were in a stressful slowdown. Evidently you are doing very, very well?

The company is doing well in any case. But I would say that moving into a new location is not necessarily because of performance but more about the plan that we have spelt out for ourselves.


03. How has this year been for MSL India (including those months as Hanmer MSL India)? In an interview with us last year, you had said: “If there is a slowdown this time we will be better prepared because we have a gameplan”. Are things going as planned?

Things are going as planned. In the announcement we made last week, we articulated our gameplan for the next three years, and what we want to accomplish over the next three years. Of course we understand that there will or can be difficult times ahead in the market.


We are going to focus more on digital and much more on strategic communication.


In an interview to us last year, you had said ‘Two years to be No 1’ (http://www.mxmindia.com/2011/12/we-are-happy-being-no-1-as-msl-group/). One year has nearly passed since you said this. Are we on course?

I would say that MSL group is number 1 in several respects. Hanmer or MSL India may not be number one but definitely, among the top two-three. The group, which is the entire umbrella entity, has Hanmer MSL focused towards reaching the number one position.


04. Perceptions these days are created not just by the traditional media, but also by social media… over Facebook, Twitter and thousands of bloggers. Your agency was among the first to start a full-fledged social media division. In the months to come, do you see social media PR integrating with traditional PR?

In our case, it has already integrated. We have over 50 people in our team dedicated to doing social media full-time. At some level, everybody is engaged in digital PR. We have a global hub, which we call social hive. Within our PR team in India, hundreds of people have been trained to deliver on social media.


05. Tell us more about the ‘storytelling motif’ that your communiqué talks of…

We believe that our job is of storytelling. That is what today’s PR does. Today it is about communicating more creatively and effectively. We believe in our vision of being advisors to our clients and a source of creativity when there is so much competition. It is not those days that there is only newspaper and television, you have internet, magazines, FM coming into play and conversation happening every time. We have to be in play and be good storyteller. We have to call ourselves creative storytellers because that is the job that we do every day.


(Interviewed by Ananya Saha)


Post a Comment 

Comments are closed.