This episode of DCC features Shobha, a passionate corporate & marketing communication professional who grew up in a media-immersed family, now she thrives in writing and storytelling. With a remarkable career spanning big technology brands, she now leads enterprise communications at Dell Technologies, shaping impactful narratives in the world of technology.
0:42 Shobha’s journey in the media and communication field started long before she was born, influenced by her father, who was a journalist throughout his career. Growing up in a family immersed in media and journalism, Shobha was encouraged to express herself through writing and developed a passion for communication from a young age. This family background instilled in her a strong desire to pursue a career in media journalism.
Her professional journey began at a company called IMG (now Img Reliance), where she gained valuable experience in managing celebrities and events, as well as corporate exposure. Subsequently, she joined Canon, where she spent a significant part of her career, honing her communication style and skills. Working in technology brands like Microsoft, EMC, and Dell, she became a technologist at heart, focusing on enterprise communications and B2B aspects.
She thrives on working for established brands, as it allows her to enhance their existing reputation and engage in compelling storytelling. She enjoys the challenge of breaking stereotypes and misconceptions associated with a brand or product, making it more accessible and relevant to the general audience. With a wealth of experience and expertise, she currently oversees enterprise communications for Dell in India, leveraging her skills to effectively convey the brand’s message and impact on people’s lives through technology.
6:32 One of Shobha’s favorite campaigns revolves around cybersecurity awareness, an initiative that takes place annually in October. As a business that heavily relies on data, Dell understands the significance of utilizing data to gain insights and make informed decisions. For this particular campaign, they tapped into consumer feedback and market research to identify the prevailing pain points and challenges faced by their audience regarding cybersecurity.
Armed with this valuable data, Dell crafts a well-informed and impactful campaign to promote, amplify, educate, and raise awareness about the importance of cybersecurity. The recent campaign delved into various aspects, such as the benefits of cybersecurity, the risks of neglecting it, and the measures enterprises can take to mitigate threats. The goal was to reach out to their audience through the most appropriate mediums, including influencers, videos, audio, interviews, and partnerships.
In a recent partnership, Dell collaborated with the government of a Karnataka to launch a program aimed at creating cybersecurity awareness within that state. Throughout the campaign, Dell diligently measured both the outcomes and outputs, analyzing data to assess the campaign’s effectiveness and adjust their approach as needed. By leveraging the power of data, Shobha and her team ensured that the campaign resonates with their audience and serves as a valuable resource to enhance cybersecurity practices across various enterprises.
Data-Driven Success: Strategies & Campaigns
8:19 Shobha emphasizes the critical role of data in their communication and PR strategies. At Dell, they constantly monitor data from various sources, such as field data, sales data, website traffic, and social media mentions. This data-driven approach enables them to make informed decisions and develop impactful campaigns.
An example she provides is using data to identify periods when cyber risks are higher due to industry-specific news or data leaks. With this insight, they tailor their messaging accordingly, focusing on preventive measures or increasing awareness about potential risks. The timing and content of their campaigns are finely tuned to align with the data-driven insights, ensuring they reach their target audience effectively.
She explains that important metrics they track include share of voice, visibility, and impact. Traditionally, PR measured success in quantitative terms, such as the number of articles and clips or their equivalent advertising value. However, the focus has now shifted to value-based communication and impact measurement. They gauge the extent to which their messaging resonates with the audience and whether it appears in the right places, leading to more one-on-one conversations with interested publications and creating impactful reporting.
Through data-driven decision-making and a shift towards impact measurement, Dell’s communication and PR strategies have become more targeted, efficient, and successful. Shobha’s ability to leverage data in crafting compelling campaigns has undoubtedly played a crucial role in Dell’s continued growth and success in the ever-evolving technology industry.
Important Metrics to track
9:51 In her discussion about the metrics used in communication and public relations, Shobha emphasizes the evolving nature of measurement practices. She highlights that the traditional quantitative metrics like the number of articles and clips, along with the value converted to advertising, used to be popular indicators of PR success. However, she notes a shift towards more value-based and impactful communication strategies.
Shobha’s focus now lies in measuring the impact generated by their efforts, such as raising awareness among the target audience and ensuring that the information is reaching the right places. Rather than merely distributing press releases to numerous publications, she emphasizes the importance of identifying interested publications and engaging in more personalized, one-on-one conversations to ensure impactful reporting.
AI in PR and Communications field
11:26 Shobha acknowledges the dual perspective surrounding AI, where both enthusiasm and fear coexist. She highlights the exciting aspect of AI as a tool that can complement and augment human intelligence rather than replace it. AI can play a crucial role in various aspects of PR and communications, from creative brainstorming and message crafting to media list compilation, monitoring, and sentiment analysis.
In crisis situations, AI’s agility and unbiased nature can be particularly helpful in providing genuine advice without emotional biases. However, she emphasizes that the effectiveness of AI is entirely dependent on the quality of input data it receives. If fed with inaccurate or irrelevant data, AI’s outputs will be unreliable and could lead to misinformed decisions, negatively impacting campaigns and consumers.
Therefore, shobha underscores the importance of providing AI with high-quality input data to ensure accurate insights and informed decision-making. With the right data and informed use, AI can be a powerful ally in the PR and communications field, enhancing the overall effectiveness and success of campaigns.
My Two cents
15:27 Shobha offers valuable insights to the younger generation aspiring to enter the field of PR and communications. She highlights the profession as a fantastic one, especially for those who enjoy meeting people, storytelling, and engaging in conversations. However, she emphasizes that success in this field comes with dedication and hard work.
To excel in PR and communications, she advises young professionals to constantly hustle and be agile. They should embrace a mindset of continuous learning and keep themselves updated with the latest trends and technologies, such as AI. Adaptability and a willingness to be a perpetual student are crucial for maintaining creativity, competence, and efficiency.
She concludes by reminding aspiring professionals that the journey may be challenging, but the rewards are immense for those who persist and invest in self-improvement. By being lifelong learners, they can thrive in the dynamic and ever-evolving world of PR and communications, ensuring a fulfilling and successful career.