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Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Disha Gupta, Associate Consultant, Percept Profile talks about her career choice as a public relations person

I am a BMM graduate from SIES College. I like making new contacts and enjoy the event part of PR. The image of the client and the brand is in your hands; you can either make it or break it. I find this whole responsibility extremely challenging and exciting. There is a lot of hard work, focus and determination required in this field. It is also very important to improve your social and communication skills. I find it very exciting to develop the image of a brand, from nothing to something that is loved and in demand; this is the ultimate test and it excites me the most. I find it fascinating to build a strategy around a person or product, execute it and package it so as to make it desirable and in demand.

Education plays a very important role in ones career. My education helped me understand PR theoretically and the projects that we did helped me understand it practically. BMM takes you through various fields of the media like journalism, advertising, public relations etc. You get to know the various facets of the media. My hobbies are very extrovert types like cooking, dancing, trekking and meeting new people and these are a great asset in my profession where I am continuously dealing with people. I am very grateful to my mentors Apurva Jinavar and Brent Gomes. I learned the basics of the trade from them. My training days helped me to develop the finer aspects of my career and polish my skills. I began my career with fashion and hospitality PR, which helped me understand how exactly the industry works. I was awestruck with the potential of PR and what it can do to a brand - be it negative or positive. PR is a very important tool that can contribute to a personality or product.

One major advantage of working in the PR industry is that you make many contacts. You get in touch with top notch professionals in the media and other related fields. These contacts are important and can help you in your career. The entire PR industry runs on contacts. It is very important to make and maintain your contacts well. However, there are some difficulties in the field too. Getting in touch with journalists and cutting through the clutter can be very trying and difficult. Everyone is jostling for attention. Journalists get around 100 calls a day from various PR agencies. Your main aim is to cut through those 100 calls and make your client’s story sound relevant and get it published. That is where your communication skills come handy. Over a period of time you develop your relation with the journalist. Also if your client has got a negative image in the eyes of the public, it can be difficult and quite a task to turn the existing image into a positive and desirable brand or image. Working in the PR field does at times tend to interfere with your personal space especially if you are dealing with celebrities as you have to attend many shows and social gatherings. However you career is all about balancing your personal and work life. You have to take it in your stride. For the future, I plan to work for a year or two and then do a post-graduation in PR and events or Luxury Brand management.

As an associate consultant, I interact with the client, from writing press releases, sending it out, managing events for clients, getting them media coverage and looking after the client’s needs. I am presently involved with the PR of Priyadarshini Chatterjee, Femina Miss India World 2016. It is a great exposure.

As a fresher, one can expect a salary between Rs.10,000 to 15,000 a month. There are many small PR agencies always looking out for freshers. However having said that one must be careful as there are many agencies that make you work but do not pay you despite all the hard work and good intentions that a fresher has. Remuneration at this stage when you are starting out is not so important and one must chose a good agency. An established professional can earn up to Rs.50,000 a month. If you start freelancing, then  your fees depend from client to client. A rough estimate would be around Rs. 40,000 per client per month.

My advice to those who want to take up PR as a profession is to first understand and study the field very well. There are many misconceptions about PR. Many view PR as a very glamorous field with a lot of parties and dining thrown in. But that is a very small part of the job profile. PR is all about good strategies. My suggestion to students is to do a lot of internships, understand the media field and then enter it.

As told to Monarose Sheila Pereira

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