Interview with Puneet Sharma, Director & Strategist, Saints Art PR – A strategic Public Relations firm
Puneet Sharma is a Director and Strategist at Saints Art PR, a strategic public relations firm. Puneet’s career in PR began with his work at one of India’s leading PR agencies, where he gained valuable experience in media relations, crisis management, and brand building.
He co-founded Saints Art PR with a vision to create a strategic PR firm that offers personalized and strategic services to its clients.
As a Director and Strategist at Saints Art PR, Puneet works closely with clients to understand their business objectives, target audiences, and communication needs.
He then designs and implements PR strategies that effectively communicate the client’s message to the media and their target audiences. Puneet’s expertise lies in developing creative PR campaigns that are tailored to meet the specific needs of each client.
Under Puneet’s leadership, Saints Art PR has established itself as a leading strategic PR firm in India, with a diverse client portfolio that includes both national and international brands.
The firm’s areas of expertise include Media Relations, Corporate/Product PR, Image Management, Crisis Communication, Reputation Management and goal-oriented PR campaigns.
His expertise, strategic thinking, and dedication to his clients have earned him a reputation as one of India’s top PR professionals, and he continues to be a key figure in the industry.
How has PR become an intrinsic part of the corporate world in India? How has the PR industry expanded or evolved over the past 2-3 years?
Puneet Sharma: Public Relations for brand building has transformed significantly over the past couple of years, especially since the outbreak and prolonged impact of the pandemic.
Prior to the period, Public Relations in India thrived majorly on conventional PR methodologies. As measures like social distancing and lockdowns came into force, it triggered an accelerated digital face of Public Relations.
The focus, however, never shifted from the core of PR – sending right messaging to the audience in the right format.
PR agencies in India no longer settle for standard PR outreach, rather they have been focusing on novel methodologies to act as a catalyst for strong image and reputation management.
Pin-pointed PR tools have yielded more benefits than one, for instance precise PR spending for maximal PR mileage.
Over the time, the realization has also sunk in that the evolved tools of Public Relations are more sustainable vis-à-vis the conventional processes in the long run for PR agencies as well as brands in India.
Why should a business invest in PR and marketing activities?
Puneet Sharma: Any scalable business entails incessant hard work, capital and meticulous planning to deliver desired results.
It is a stipulated condition that the latter can only be ensured when a product or a service reaches its end beneficiary.
The foremost prerequisite here is to establish an effective outreach. Whether it’s a D2C brand catering directly to consumers or an enterprise working on a B2B model, ensuring the right messaging through the right channels is sacrosanct.
And this is where the role of a PR agency comes into play. It is, however, important to understand that marketing is not the same as PR in any manner.
Public Relations or PR thrives on an editorial modus operandi, rather than an advertorial format, helping businesses attain credibility alongside increased visibility.
Besides, a PR agency also helps a business, individual or a brand navigate through any crises, and the most prominent example of the same has been the pandemic. Had it not been for Public Relations, brand outreach and image building would have been a cumbersome task in the wake of new normal.
Is PR more important for medium and small businesses? Or should it be a tool for larger enterprises?
Puneet Sharma: As mentioned, PR is intrinsic for any business that aspires to scale, any individual who intends to establish an effective outreach, and any service provider catering to specific needs.
The onus, however, lies with a PR agency to ensure that credible voices get heard in the space. A pre-pandemic study on India’s public relations consultancy industry suggested that the PR industry in India grew around 12% in 2019 across different major sectors such as FMCG, IT, Travel etc.
Whereas, a report by the same industry body in 2022 declared a manifold growth, with the PR industry in India accounting for nearly 1% of the global PR industry and 8.5% of Asia Pacific.
Moreover, the growth was uniform across all key sectors, as also across the vibrant startup ecosystem. According to a report by Nasscom and Zinnov, the tally of just tech startups added in India in 2022 went up to more than 1300.
Therefore, it is important to assert your brand vision and mission through the right media channels to stand out of the clutter, and achieve the core PR objectives.
To sum it up, we can say that PR is important for a business or brand, irrespective of its scale and size.
What should a brand look for in a PR agency?
Puneet Sharma: A brand must at first look out for a PR agency that imbibes their core ethos and vision. It is equally important for a PR agency to understand and study the industry, and more specifically the vertical concerned.
Thereafter, an agency holding the PR mandate of a brand must be able to come up with and implement differential PR strategies as per the requirement and business environment.
A PR partner must be proficient with strategizing or re-strategizing as per the need of the hour. Furthermore, a brand, an individual or a major corporate entity must note that a sustained PR and a strategic PR is what yields positive results for any business.
Sporadic and haywire PR activities may result in momentary appearance, but a brand building and image building exercise entails a perpetual and sustainable approach.
Tell us about the journey of Saints Art, and the experience of consulting diverse portfolio of clientele
Puneet Sharma: Saints Art is a strategic communication and PR agency that has been handling the PR mandates for clientele across varied verticals. From FMCG, Entertainment, F&B and Alcobev to Fintechs, Microfinance, IT and lifestyle, the agency has served more than 500 brands and individuals till date.
With an experienced team of PR professional and experts, Saints Art has played an instrumental role in creating definitive PR strategies and impactful PR campaigns across verticals, including FMCG, Infrastructure, Lifestyle, Health, F&B, Finance and Microfinance, Fintech as well as early-stage startups that went on to bag multiple investment rounds.
From creating growth results for major brands, businesses, companies and individual personalities, we have been consulting a large pool of Indian as well as international clientele.
Some of the key services include Media Relations, Reputation Management, Advocacy, Crisis Management and Corporate/Product PR, among others.
Saints Art has further diversified into a film production house that has produced unique content like Chaipatti, Detective Boomrah and Chintaa Mani.
Currently under production is a Bollywood sci-fi thriller with a never before seen storyline, larger than life characters and a stellar star cast.
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