When lockdown was first imposed last year, everything came to a sudden halt. With the exception of ‘essential items’, no business was functioning for close to three months. There is no doubt that this phase was a tremendous setback for most people; however, many took the time to reflect on where they were headed professionally and changed their business practices to ensure success in altered situations. Interestingly, the work of Public Relations companies, popular even in the best of times, burgeoned further during the pandemic.
No matter the line of work, people were keen to share a particular impression of their business with their consumers—one of solidity, safety and commitment to their work. Hiring PR companies, therefore, became the easiest way to spread this message. Therefore, being in the PR business became a lucrative option at this time. A few enterprising individuals who were already part of this field, struck the iron while it was hot and launched their own PR companies.
Sonali Tambe, founder of Oakpinion PR, is a great example of this. This 26-year-old pursued a Masters in Media Entertainment and Advertising with a specialisation in Films at Kishinchand Chellaram College, Churchgate. After graduating, she felt directionless and tried her luck in several sectors but nothing seemed to work out. Finally, she was placed as an intern in a PR company of repute, and through sheer hard work, was soon promoted to a senior position as an Executive in the company.
She explains, “My boss, who is a mentor for me, pushed me to my limits and made me aware of my potential. I didn’t have much knowledge in this field but the encouragement of my boss and my inherent attraction to this field, really helped me grow.” When Tambe quit her job just before lockdown, she found herself in a soup. Fortunately, a few months after unhappy stints at other firms, she received a job offer from her original agency which led to a realisation that she was good at her work. “That changed the course of my actions. So, I decided to start something of my own and Oakpinion was born,” she adds with glee.
In the business of Public Relations, it is essential to have completely open communication with one’s clients. This is the only way that one can grow in this field, as those happy clients refer these services to others. The fact that Tambe has built a trustworthy brand with Oakpinion, is evident from her having signed on 4-5 clients within the first month of opening. The growth continued steadily as the firm now boasts over 40 clients, including a few that were project-based. Oakpinion specializes in clients related to the field of Beauty, Fashion and Lifestyle, and also handles a few from the Health and Technology sector.
“We launched at a time when everything was slowly opening up post the first lockdown of Covid-19. Hence, everyone was looking to re-establish the worth of their business entity. People needed to be able to trust the professionals they hired, and we offered them this trust wholeheartedly. My ex-boss had once told me about driving my aggressive nature on the correct road in order to succeed in whatever I do, so I did. But of course, I’m still learning!” she explains.
However, even PR firms faced interesting challenges in this period. With the world shut down, PR through traditional media like newspapers and magazines was severely affected but the wide world of digital media was booming. Every trend on social media platforms, every post, and every hashtag was in a crucial position to be utilised, and became an opportunity for those who were willing to take it. Digital PR ultimately led to the growth of many firms and brands who were able to cash in on this unexplored area. The rising focus on ‘vocal for local’ campaigns and methodologies also helped spur this growth.
When asked the secret of success in this particular field, Tambe explains it as having enough confidence in one’s abilities and working towards establishing their clients’ trust. Adhering to these principles has ensured success for Oakpinion PR and its team of five members.
The writer pens lifestyle articles for various publications and her blog www.nooranandchawla.com. She can be reached on email@example.com.