As an independent PR executive, how has the lockdown affected your work life?
Well, the first thing is that most businesses in this situation have stopped marketing and PR. Most of my clients who are in the F&B business have taken a break for now and there is not much work. As clichéd as this may sound, I look at this as an opportunity for learning because, like many of us, I immersed myself in work and learning took a back seat. Now, I’m able to sit down and assess my skills and see what needs to get better or what new I need to learn to be ahead of the game as things change. When the COVID-19 scenario gets better, nothing will be the same again, in terms of communication, marketing and life as we know it.
We’ve seen you use social media to broadcast a lot of useful information and news snippets – what led to this idea?
In PR, coverage is what brings in the bread and as a freelancer; I do the tracking of coverage by myself. I go through all newspapers every day. While doing so, I realized that not everyone has the time to sit and read a newspaper. I wondered if people would be interested in gaining information in a new format, I started off small with just some highlights; now I combine main news, city news and other Op-eds as well. I’ve been doing it for a year now and noticed that many followers started looking forward to these posts, some have said these bite-size news stories save time yet keep them on top of what’s happening. I realize it has also been beneficial in the current scenario as providing the right information is key. Plus I look at it as my way of supporting the media fraternity during this situation.
What are the most innovative campaigns you’ve seen during the lockdown, so far?
The drone videos of BBMP showing what Bangalore looked like during the lockdown, this was quite popular. From the F&B point of view, I would say DineOut introducing #ContactlessDining to their partner restaurants where they introduced guidelines and PPE kits to their partner restaurants – that was interesting. Nationally, I think Google’s ‘Thank You’ video was another successful and smart campaign.
What are your learnings from a period of isolation, such as this lockdown?
Being an extrovert and staying alone, I had a tough time dealing with this situation. One thing I learnt is that all of us have the strength to handle anything that is thrown at us, we may resist but we eventually adapt. Being creative with whatever resources are available really helps; it kind of helps the brain to relax. If you feel lonely, reach out to people, set aside your ego and just reach out. I also took this time to let go of work stress and realized how much it affected my system. Being mindful and aware of my stress triggers has helped me to manage stress better. Now is a good time to observe and just go with the flow.
What do you think the industry will be like, once the lockdown is lifted?
Nothing will be the same again, especially the services and entertainment industry. There would be no more crowd-based events; mostly all experiences would be online. The F&B industry will definitely change; it would be a new dining experience where the restaurant might be forced to have a very few tables. Very few people will have the confidence to go out and eat. The kind of food and dining style would change; it would be more take-away and more comfort-based. Money would play a huge factor as well because everyone is affected. I still believe a lot will go back to pre-COVID times if and when a vaccine is in place. Until then, it will mean learning and bettering the game as we go along.