It was May 2016. I had just finished a consulting assignment and was talking to a few friends about what lay ahead, when a friend enquired if I would be interested in heading India operations for a global PR agency. While the responsibility of managing pan India operations for an organization seemed exciting, the fact that it was a PR agency made me take a step back and weigh the pros and cons. The journalist in me picked the cons first—With no prior experience in the field, was I ready to do it now and why? Would it be difficult to adapt to a demanding agency life? Would the transition from a corporate communications role to a PR role be smooth? Finally, while it is the norm for people to move from an agency to a corporate, why would I want to move in the reverse direction?
I then looked at the pros. The agency in question, Gutenberg, was not unknown to me. Many on the top management team were familiar to me. I respected Harjiv Singh, the founder, for the working style that he had established in the organization. That nailed it! I decided to pursue this, met Harjiv, and post that meeting, I had no reservations. I decided to take it up.
What got me to say yes?
First, in an era where most Indian-PR agencies were either stagnating or looking to exit through strategic sale, Gutenberg had a clear roadmap fuelled by its founder’s ambition to scale and expand— scale beyond current clients and geographies and expand beyond PR into digital, content, video, and mobile. Gutenberg’s intent to re-brand and re-position as we run up to scale and expand is exciting. Calling it ambitious does it no justice.
Second, I was always impressed by the team at Gutenberg. They are diverse, young, and raring to go—always. The pride of leading such a good team is a rare opportunity.
Third, if I can contribute to not just the growth of Gutenberg, but more importantly change an aspect or two of the current process and practice of PR in the company, if not in the industry, that may be my moment of happiness.
It has been an extremely eventful nine months, with many moments of living on the edge. We rolled out our re-branded website, www.thegutenberg.com, made several transitions—both technical and in terms of people—and the new journey has begun. I’m looking forward to more new experiences, learnings, and milestones!