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Summary

I have 9 years of diversified experience as an expert communications (external & internal), marketing & public relations specialist in India and other emerging markets like Bangladesh, Vietnam, South Africa, Middle East etc..(mostly working virtually with teams). I have also worked with remote teams in the U.S., APAC & Australia region collaborating on global projects  & for crisis communication. I have been developed strategies & managed teams as well been an individual contributor.

I have played the role of a trusted adviser & helped build reputation for some of the fastest growing organisations & brands as well as start-ups & small businesses. I have managed communication projects during  critical business processes & change management for fast growing organisations & have established a  successful track record of building & leading teams & setting up new departments, processes and effective communication programs- internal & external.

I have conceptualised and led teams for innovative product marketing, brand communication , category creation campaigns, deeply rooted in consumer needs with a special focus in digital & social media platforms that have resulted in brand preferences & created industry benchmarks. Campaigns led by me have won several awards on national and international platforms .

I have also spearheaded a part of business for a strategic brand design consultancy & set up a communication dept. independently for a home grown brand.

Work experience

Nov'16Present

PR-Head

Practo Pte ltd. , Bangalore, India (practo.com) (working with agencies & teams virtually too)

 

I head the communication mandate for one of the most funded (Sequoia, Tencent, Thrive etc.)  & promising  health -tech start-ups in the world.  I am helping shape the company's positioning to develop it as an integrated health platform in India, Singapore, Brazil & Indonesia. I am also guiding the leadership to drive the reputation agenda for one of the most funded health-tech start-ups in the world. I have designed the business communication strategy  for the next growth stage of the start up , guided the company for building positioning through latest rounds of funding , new launches and building thought leadership and  building influence for individual products, categories and businesses.

Selected achievements:

- I have helped shape the communication strategy, core messaging & singular brand identity & tone for the business for now and for the next stage for the start-up- both B2B & consumer business brands

- Conceptualised and guided the company through recent business updates and contributed to the company's vision as the go-to integrated healthcare platform

Results: (https://techcrunch.com/2017/01/16/practo-raises-55-million-series-d-led-by-tencent/)

http://www.huffingtonpost.in/2017/01/17/practo-bets-big-on-artificial-intelligence-in-healthcare-with-la_a_21656393/

http://www.forbesindia.com/article/special/practo-raises-$55-million-in-series-d-funding-led-by-tencent/45457/1

https://yourstory.com/2017/04/practo-rebranding/ 

- Created positioning as an 'Expert in healthcare' through white papers , surveys, reports like the Practo healthcare map- http://www.businessinsider.in/Healthcare-Map-of-India-6-cities-that-are-plagued-with-chronic-ailments/articleshow/57081123.cms

-Created affinity , visibility and differentiation for the individual products and categories of the company with digital marketing, PR, internal communications, press release, e-mail marketing, social media, content marketing etc.

Sept'15Nov'16

Manager-Corporate Communications (including brand communications, PR & CSR)

Kelloggs India, Mumbai (also worked virtually with global teams based in other countries) (kelloggs.in) 

I contributed towards building the External Communications, Internal Communications, CSR & Sustainability agenda for Kellogg India which is the leader in the breakfast category in India & helped shape the ready-to -eat cereal category relevance in the country. I also collaborated  regularly with other communication teams for global projects in the U.S. & APAC region.

Selected achievements:

-Set up the process and systems for the department in India & worked closely with APAC Comms. team to tailor Kellogg's global comms. programs in India, and provided high value to the business and the growth strategy- http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/opinion/interviews/kelloggs-can-replace-bag-of-chips-in-india-ceo-john-bryant/articleshow/48506961.cms . 

-Managed all external communications for Kellogg's corporate brand in India & helped to drive category relevance of 'breakfast' , building the category leadership reputation in the India market- http://www.financialexpress.com/industry/kelloggs-breakfast-pledge-receives-overwhelming-response-crosses-1-mn-pledges-to-gift-2-mn-breakfasts/163262/

-Led internal communication in the organisation by creating strategies & executing a robust communication plan. Driving employee engagement and change management initiatives for both India & APAC teams.  Developed  & executed an Asia pacific level employee ambassador internal campaign to create better education and advocacy for the breakfast category & products by employees and internal stakeholders

-Introduced & built a robust system and strategy; to create engagement for new launches, category creation & building brands through integrated PR campaigns using traditional and digital & social media platforms through Influencer marketing, native content, search mktg., experts & celebs.Devised a content strategy for Kellogg's Muesli (#Mueslipower-https://twitter.com/KelloggsMuesli )using only digital & social media platforms & using celebs/influencers/twitteratis/portals to build the awareness & relevance of the category

-Initiated & set up  Internal Employee Volunteering initiatives  & communication campaigns  as part of the int'l program Kellogg's 'Breakfast for better days' like gifting breakfasts to school children which resulted in record participation from employees all over India

-Instrumental in creating a CSR strategy and executing the same through the India equivalent of the Kellogg’s global ‘Breakfast for Better days ' program.

-Managing several crisis & issues at both national & global levels; designed the crisis comm.protocol for industry issues

Jan'12Aug'15

Associate Manager- Corporate Communications & Global Centre of Excellence for PR

Marico Limited-www.marico.com (is listed in the national stock exchanges in India) (worked with teams virtually in 4 countries)

Selected achievements:

-Led the  communication strategy for the listed entity of Marico Limited, was a point of contact for the leadership team & was responsible for generating high value visibility & reputation shift for the corporate brand in priority business & industry media resulting in the coverage increasing by 50%-70% every year & a notable increase in mind share & key messages delivery

Results:

http://www.forbesindia.com/article/boardroom/marico-3.0-from-singlebrand-to-diversified-consumer-goods/37958/3

http://www.forbesindia.com/article/boardroom/maricos-unique-paras-strategy/35763/1

https://www.forbes.com/companies/marico/

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/industry/cons-products/fmcg/marico-to-use-paras-set-wet-zatak-and-livon-to-target-youth-market/articleshow/16358127.cms?from=mobile

-Managed the communications for the company through various changes like merger &, acquisitions, leadership management changes etc.

-Designed a crisis communication protocol for the organisation & managed various types of external reputation crisis-product, processes etc.

-Developed all brand communication initiatives on the brand Saffola (www.saffolaife.com)  in India & Bangladesh & initiated new programs like studies, blogger outreach, establish category leadership, studies, rural markets strategy, and experiential events to drive behaviour, change brand perceptions, creating habits etc.

-Built a 360° successful external and internal communications strategy to drive thought leadership 'as an innovative & empowered organisation' working with the HR team to build Marico as a successful emerging market MNC and an ‘employer of choice ‘

-Responsible for, devising the strategy, managing quarterly investor communications& crafting the business messaging for high value placements in print & electronic media as well as announcements internally 

-Set up the external communications policy for the listed entity of Marico in Bangladesh (listed company) & provided strategic counsel for all media and crisis communication

-Created a charter for media training & messaging for 8 spokespersons in the organisation. & positioned the MD & CEO as the business leader & profiled function experts successfully

-Helped set up the Twitter content strategy for the Chairman & generated visibility for his personal social responsibility initiative-ASCENT https://www.forbes.com/sites/naazneenkarmali/2012/10/25/maricos-harsh-mariwala-on-his-mission-to-help-10000-entrepreneurs/#97d499363ed4

-Helped set up an Online reputation management process which helped track the brands' conversations real time on social media , manage reputation & mitigate crisis

-Built the Saffola mother brand integrated marketing campaign using health influencers & celebrities for ‘World heart day’, resulting in earned media coverage worth 10 million & winning 7 awards, also the communications model is now a property . Introduced & developed various category building programs using Studies, surveys, digital properties for Saffola to establish leadership as a 'heart care' brand

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R-A42q3BUDg

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home/science/Women-as-prone-to-heart-diseases-as-men-Study/articleshow/43418030.cms

-Also, developed trends & categories to establish Saffola as a healthy food brand Conceptualised and developed with the brand team; a Digital Influencer property & content marketing initiative with a Michelin Star Chef ,Bloggers, Nutritionists & Celebs called ‘the Fit Foodie’ that created affinity and preference for the brand Saffola as a food brand, the initial launch resulted in over 30,000,00 + impressions & earned media& won 8 awards. It continues to be an industry benchmark https://www.fitfoodie.in 

-Designed, developed & launched the CSR strategy and the first program for Marico Bangladesh .I was also responsible for managing the PR & digital communications agenda for Marico Innovation Foundation (MIF) (a not-for-profit) & the Innovation for India Awards (IIA)

-Developed, created content & worked with agency to develop the corporate global website- www.marico.com  & was responsible for all changes & updates thereafter

-Led internal communications for over 3000+ employees; conceptualised & launched an interactive digital platform as a newsletter for all internal communications. Also, managed all news bulletins, communication from the leadership team, announcements etc. Introduced a webinar by CEO that received more than 70% participation by employees .Launched the program 'innovation jam'(to encourage innovation across the organisation)

July'10Dec'11

Executive- Corporate brand communications & PR

Wagh Bakri Tea- A 100 year old homegrown Indian tea brand 

I set up the Corporate Communications department and designed the PR protocol & structure at Wagh Bakri Tea (WBT) Group

Selected Achievements:

-Launched the Wagh Bakri tea lounge (a tea cafe) in Delhi& devised a strategy to create consumer experiences and affinity towards tea & enable foot falls

-Helped create visibility for various tea brands of WBT in tier–ii markets, designed the social media content strategy& enabled the first corporate coverages in priority 1 business and industry media & secured speaking engagements for the spokesperson

Dec'08Jun'10

Marketing & Brand Consultant

DY Works, Mumbai, India (www.dyworks.in)-Brand Design

I was associated with DY Works- as a brand design consultant providing brand design thinking and strategies for various clients like Unilever etc. on New Brand Development, Brand Rejuvenation, Brand Visibility ,Packaging Design, Brand Architecture and Experience Design. Also, applied semiotics to unearth deep rooted consumer motivations and desires, to decode consumers through symbolism in culture for various brand design projects

-Managed the business for a portfolio of clients & responsible for organic growth as well new business development. Single point contact for clients & responsible for client relationship management & client retention

-Managed a team of Creative Designers & studio

Education

2008

Post Graduate Diploma in Communication Studies

Xavier Institute of Communications, Mumbai, India

Specialised in Advertising & Marketing

2007

Bachelors in Commerce

Gujarat University, India

Specialised in Accountancy & Statistics