Saikat won the Gold Award in the “PR Up and Comer” category in Bulldog’s 2018 Stars of PR Awards. He won the award for his work with India’s largest internet ecosystem, Paytm. He is now a Storyteller at Times Internet in Gurgaon, Haryana, India.
Length of PR career (so far): 3 Years 8 Months.
Your most memorable campaign: The ‘Paytm Karo’ campaign during demonetisation. Our two-member PR team worked 16+ hours for 8 weeks straight and got $48 million worth of coverage in those 112 days. The campaign changed how a third of India pays by introducing digital payments as a way to cope with the sudden cash crunch. It also transformed the fintech landscape in our country forever and the fate of Paytm in years to come.
Most poignant professional moment: During demonetisation, I had to plan, create and print all content collaterals for a media launch in 19 hours straight. The product team was making last-minute upgrades, and my Motion Graphics Designer Payal accommodated 3 major overhauls to the product video with 17 total edits. My go-to Illustrator Pulak stayed back in office until late to nail the media deck and Vikas – a UX Designer of all people helped design the media invite in 10 minutes straight. We made it all happen that day, but it made me realise how I’m the unfortunate face of a lot of people’s work.
In the PR business, there are no places for individual gladiators, only great teams.
Favorite journalist to work with: Love the professionalism of Corinne from WSJ India and Aliya from Financial Times
Number of 2 a.m. calls from a client this month: None! 🙂
Biggest complaint about social media: Social media may sometimes seem like a rave party on steroids – anything goes and people often do things that scar others forever. There is no method to the madness, and its overwhelming for a PR professional.
Best thing about working at your firm: I get to work with some of the brightest within the Indian fintech and startup community, all while learning from an incredible boss and an all-star team worth dying for.
Last time you didn’t do any work all weekend: Last weekend. I’ve learnt it the hard way that having a solid work-life balance allows you to do a better job in the long term.
Most misunderstood thing about PR: Naysayers often feel PR is all glitz and glam. As a Financial PR Professional, I spend countless hours poring over balance sheets, product notes and my analytics dashboard. At the rare launch event, you’d find me too busy with the rundown and the spokesperson’s talk points to focus on the sandwiches and the chips.
Most outrageous client request: “Make this context into an infographic ASAP.” There must be a clock in every PR newsroom counting down the seconds until someone says ‘ASAP’.
What got you interested in a PR career?: I stumbled into it, honestly. I was a Finance & Startup Reporter for Business Insider, and happened to drop by the Paytm headquarters for an interview with the COO. After the interview, the Comms Head offered me a role in her team. I agreed, and after multiple rounds of interviews came home with a story and a job offer.
Most interesting thing about your job: As a Financial Communicator, you shape opinion about financial instruments that have the potential to transform people’s lives for the better. I’ve met a small vegetable vendor 125 miles away from any place you’d call urban who now has a credit rating (thanks to fintech firms) and was able to take out a loan to send his daughter to college.
Your nightmare client in 3 words: “Can we meet?”
Rate your math skills from 1-10: 6.5764 if you discount Calculus
Best advice to a PR student: A creative bent of mind, good interpersonal skills and a flair for writing no longer cuts it in PR. Attend a visual design workshop, learn digital communication and PR analytics. An online product management course has impacted my perspective on Financial Communications more than any book or podcast.
What do you read daily?: Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, Economic Times, Bloomberg and InShorts
Favorite way to de-stress: Jazz by Kenny G, Tiramisu or Walnut Pie and Books on Philosophy
Worst PR crisis in the news this year so far: It’s still early in 2019, last year Facebook’s initial silence about its data breach was one of the biggest PR crisis ever in the tech industry.
Brand that does the best PR: Google
Brand most in need of better PR: Facebook
Favorite non-work hobby: Marathon Running
Last book you read: Born a Crime by Trevor Noah
Cocktail of choice: I don’t drink, so its Diet Coke on the rocks for me
Favorite movie this year: I’m pumped about an upcoming movie – Gully Boy. It’s loosely based on the lives and struggles of Indian rappers DIVINE and Naezy.
Your first “real” job: Startup Reporter at Business Insider
Childhood “dream job”: Army Major in the Indian Para Special Forces. My grandpa was a Police Officer and I would often visit army barracks during my summer holidays. As a child, I was dazzled by the uniforms, discipline and glory of life in the army.
Three people you’d love to invite to dinner: Sachin Tendulkar, John Oliver and Ranveer Singh. They’ll have nothing to chat about though.
Your next big adventure: I’m running the high-altitude Hell Race in Bir-Billing this March with my ex-colleagues from Paytm Comm Team Six.
Your ideal Saturday: Waking up late to a double espresso shot and french toast, hour-long hot shower where I dance to Indipop hits, splurging at the nearest bookstore in the evening, an intense MMA session followed by a hearty dinner of Bengali Biryani with my best friend, Jai.