Richa Gopal Shrotriya: Instilling Equilibrium In Today's Multifaceted PR Domain

Richa Gopal Shrotriya: Instilling Equilibrium In Today's Multifaceted PR Domain

Richa Gopal Shrotriya

From growing up in a simplistic world amongst the hills to world transformed with digital connectivity, Richa Gopal has gone through an enthralling journey in her early life & professional career. After completing her Post-graduation in English Literature, Richa chose Journalism as her next career option. She studied Mass Communication & Journalism, and after that, there has been no looking back. Post a short stint with the Times of India, Richa took on communication roles both on the corporate and agency side. She has been at several reputed advertising agencies and finally quit the advertising world as a Creative Director of a national agency to move to the dynamic arena of Public Relations and has been Senior Vice President with Weber Shandwick India, Branch head at WE Avian Media Mumbai, and the National Head of Abacus India in a career spanning over 20 years. At the moment, the headstrong PR expert spearheads the corporate B2B and healthcare practice as a Partner at First Partners and is a reputed and well-recognized PR professional.

In a recently held interaction with the Women Entrepreneur India Magazine’s Editorial Team, Richa Gopal Shrotriya, took us through the experiences she has gained during her professional journey in the PR industry that is helping her add value to her work:

From The Standpoint Of An Experienced PR Professional, How Would You Say The PR & Communications Industry Evolved Over The Past Few Years, Especially With The Ingress Of Digital Technologies? What Are Some Of The Most Impactful Trends Developing In The Industry Currently?
The last decade has seen a complete overhaul in the way the communication industry has evolved. It would be no mean statement to say that the entire PR function has become an overly critical subset of any organizations business strategy. This has emerged from the way we have evolved as a society.

There is a collective consciousness that is driving people and the need to be heard and compared to global counterparts. The bridge to achieve this is the technological advancements in the field of communication, and all of this put together has led to vastly different methods of doing business.

Social media stormed into our lives in the last ten years, and since then, it has been dominant, making everyone a piece of news and views bearer. In such a scenario, PR became extremely important to help organizations maintain consistent and correct public outreach. The expanse of stakeholders that one could influence given the digital and social media platforms also grew, which brought in the need to reach out to influencers beyond media. Today, I can tell you that as a PR professional, we are not merely responsible for media relations. We are content curators, crisis mitigators and a force behind some of the most creative campaigns to ensure measurable outcomes in business.

Please Enlighten Us About The Approaches You Take While Working On A New Project Or Campaign. What Important Pointers Do You Keep In Mind To Ensure That The Final Output Helps Clients Achieve The Desired Business Goals?
I have had the fortune of working and learning from the best at all my workplaces, and I count myself lucky that I can bring that differentiated approach to my clients. It is most critical that all effective PR should lead to a confluence of communication and business outcomes. This requires mapping the business goals, assessing the gaps, and then curating programs to work with relevant stakeholders to arrive at the desired goals. A strong thrust on providing solutions based on deep business insights, strategic media agnostic approach and a strong influencer connect are critical elements of a successful communications program.

“PR is one of the most inclusive industries for women. Women are gifted communicators / multi-taskers and better custodians of managing relationships”

Gone are the days in PR when one size fits all, and a single template could be adapted for a PR program. A continuous assessment basis development of trends and policy change is critical in devising strategies that can help client business operations. Half the journey is achieved if a PR professional can convert the output to outcomes and weigh it in the inclusive interest of the client goals.

Although The PR Industry Sees Several Women In The Initial Ranks, Yet There Is A Dearth Of Women Representation In The Top Leadership Roles. In Your Opinion, How Can This Situation Be Rectified Soon?
These are some great times for women in communication roles especially PR, and when I look back, women in the industry have come a long way. It is a known fact that PR or rather communications is primarily dominated by women the world over. PR is one of the most inclusive industries for women. Women are gifted communicators / multi-taskers and better custodians of managing relationships. I think a little more support to help strike the work-life balance in the high pressure and deadline-driven PR industry can help women achieve better.

As a women leader, it is also my responsibility to inspire and create platforms for the newer entrants to train and skill themselves to step up representation at the c-suite table. I am a firm believer in the power of mentorship. When I began my career, I had a great woman leader who guided me and, in every organization, I have always been judged based on merit. At First Partners, the inclusive and positive culture encourages diversity by recognizing and promoting individuals based on their talent, communication, and professional skills irrespective of gender.

Given The Demanding Nature Of Your Role As A Leader In The PR And Communications Field, How Do You Strike A Balance Between Work And Personal Life?
I think the whole work life balance concept is a little overrated. If one enjoys what you do the balance is always sought within and manifests outside. In my case I thoroughly enjoy the pace of my work and the fact that I work with such a diverse set of clients and people. There is a continuous process of learning the new and the unexplored. Having said that, home and personal life do need attention and long hours especially in the PR industry can take you off the equilibrium easily. That is where the skill of managing expectations both externally and internally fall in place. The mantra is to believe in oneself and strive to be not better than others but the best and last ask for help whether workplace or home and that is the only way to keep the equilibrium.

Richa Gopal Shrotriya, Partner, First Partners
Leads the corporate practices and manages advocacy programs of a full-service communications consultancy having offices across 31 cities in India, which specializes in integrating communication solutions.