What Makes Samir Kapur of Adfactors PR a Stalwart in the PR Industry
In a conversation with Dr Samir Kapur, the Director of one of India’s biggest and best public relations firms – Adfactors PR, we discuss his life journey and what makes him one of the best in the business.
Q.1 Dr. Samir Kapur, as your awards and accolades tell you are one of the best PR personnel in the country, we would like to hear it from you. What do you think makes you the best PR personnel?
Communications as a domain has always intrigued me. I started working in Public Relations at a time when the industry was at a nascent stage and had the huge yet-to-be-tapped potential for aggressive growth. It was a sector with a myriad of opportunities and ample growth. At a very young age, I got the opportunity to interact with industry veterans and bigwigs. It was a defining moment when I provided strategic recommendations to CEO’s and industry leaders. In my late 20s I got the opportunity to meet Ratan Tata, which is a moment distinctly etched in my memory.
Public relations is a fiercely dynamic profession that requires you to be agile and nimble-footed – that’s something very exciting. Being a communication professional and a professor, I am very passionate about the communications business. As time moved on, I read a lot, traveled to many places and delved into concepts and learnings that helped me don various hats and made me passionate about communication and its many interesting crescendos. Public relations is a rapidly evolving industry now and to keep pace with it, we need to continuously learn, hone our skill-sets and expertise and keep our eyes and years closer to the ground.
Q.2 What are the qualities a person should have to be able to thrive in the PR Industry?
As it is a highly dynamic profession, sought-after skills of the yesteryears may seem irrelevant now or in the future. Therefore, the key is to be agile, flexible, and future-ready. While it is impossible to accurately predict the future, we can, however, imbibe approaches that can enable future readiness in the long run, while driving pliability and resilience in the short term. At this point in time, new trends, new technologies, and changing patterns of consumption are transforming the industry like never before and with it- ample opportunities are emerging.
PR practitioners must be hands-on in business, environment mapping, managing people, ethics, devising integrated high resonating campaigns, corporate social responsibility, influencer engagement and intelligent decision engineering based on data analytics.
For that to happen, it will be very important for them to read and have a research oriented approach. Also, it would be of prime importance to be savvy with the digital mediums of communication and understanding when and how to use them.
The PR professionals would need to develop and implement integrated multi-dimensional creative strategies to create awareness and elevate reputation, for which they require in-depth knowledge of their sector and the communication medium that suites the best.
Q.3 You have worked on thousands of projects already, can you recall some of the best projects or campaigns you would remember for lifetime? What makes those projects special?
There are many projects that I have worked on which are close to my heart. These includes working as a project lead for an international organization to drive an awareness campaign for administration of preventive medicine to infants and overcoming obstacles that were socio-cultural and bringing out a behavior change to changing the perception of the hard lined leader of the extreme one side of the party and managing the overall communication for them on ground. Or be it fighting an advocacy war for offline vs online perspective of old economy and new economy business in the similar segment and executing the strategy drafted to perfection.
Similarly, I recently was involved successfully managing to resurrect the image of a key leader whose image was wrongly tarnished by motivated competitor. The diversity of these projects across the spectrum of communication, public relations and public affairs makes these projects very special for me. The entire value chain of planning to thinking on your feet and then executing the plan and seeing the plan and execution bring the desired result makes all these projects very special for me. Some of these projects are now considered the benchmarks in managing public relations, media advocacy and crisis management.
Q.4 Every man has a Guru or an Inspiration in their life to look upto, who is the Guru in your life? Or can we say many Gurus?
My Dad and Mom have always been one of my biggest mentors. They instilled in me the value of hard work. One of my biggest mentors in recent time has been my captain of the company that I call ‘home’, Adfactors PR’s Cofounder and MD, Mr Madan Bahal, we worked shoulder to shoulder to build a strong business in region North and to this day, he and I will talk about evolution of public relations. He has taught me about the importance of collaboration and lifelong learning. My Chairman Rajesh Chaturvedi is epitome of relationship capital and I have learnt a lot from him on how to stay calm in intense situations. I have been very fortunate in getting some of the great guides and mentors throughout my career and I am still getting a lot of inspiration from the young leaders in the sector and its like a reverse mentorship for me and it is fascinating to see some of them and to learn from them.
Q.5 We see that you have many degrees and professional certifications in your resume, why is it so important to get these degrees or certificates? What advantages does it play in the career?
Degrees and certifications play an instrumental role in career progression, across industries. To keep pace with the changing times, it is indispensable to unlearn, learn and re-learn continuously. As they say – learning never stops and never should it!
Besides, certifications enable you to take a smarter approach to your profession and help you to stride ahead faster. They also act as a gateway for professional growth. Having said that, learning has always been my passion. That explains why many of my degrees are beyond PR or the profession I am in.
Q.6 At last, a few tips for our readers who aspire to become like you, a successful man and the best in the industry.
The PR Industry is undergoing a transformation of sorts, more so, in the COVID induced ‘new normal’. The accelerated pace of digital transformation has also had an impact on the media landscape. What we see now is a convergence of paid, earned, shared, and owned media and new technology, followed by access to data, disruption of business models, and competition from other disciplines. To be successful in this new era, complacency is demise! It is imperative that PR pros brace themselves with future-ready skills, be future-forward in their outlook and never look back.
The concept of one-size-fits-all model is dying a slow death and the digital netizens will experiment with newer formats such as rich media, visuals, videos, animation and graphics. Influencer and micro-influencer engagement is also gaining momentum as it is becoming increasingly important to collaborate with relevant influencers, driven by the sheer number of followers they have on social media platforms.
Therefore, being curious and future-ready not only helps one be more resilient in the face of adversity but also is a perfect course for growth across numerous time horizons.
(This was an exclusive interview with Dr. Samir Kapur, Director of India’s Best PR Agency – Adfactors PR)