Agency Feature: Teamwork Communications

Teamwork Communications group

How do we define Teamwork Communications? 

We are Teamwork Communications Group, a specialty communications agency that works with organizations in diverse fields. However, it specializes primarily in healthcare communication. The agency was co-founded by Nikky Gupta and journalist Kamal Narayan in 2009.

The idea to establish a specialist healthcare PR agency came after we realized that there exists a major void in the field of effective healthcare communication.

What’s in the name?

We found the organization in the winters of 2009 as a team of two. However, we strongly believe that when we work together as a team it had a multiplier effect on our outcomes. We decided to name the organization Teamwork Communications because Public Relations is a real team effort. Though our friends and family members did not approve of this name initially, we decided to stick to it because the name highlighted the effort of each and every individual connected with the organization.

What do we do?

We design and craft strategic media campaigns for our clients in diverse fields including both traditional and social media dimensions. We have specialized divisions that cater to a diverse clientele ranging from healthcare, education, startups, corporates, and cultural fields. However, our most significant specialty is healthcare.

We work for a series of hospitals, clinics, alternative health and wellness providers, multinational health, and pharmaceutical companies.

Why we do it?

I come from a business family, and starting my own business was always a dream. I always wanted to excel as an entrepreneur. However, my interest drove me to study Mass Communications. After acquiring a degree in this field, I spent a substantial amount of time in the field of public relations. I then realized that there were fewer communication firms providing specialized communication solutions, particularly for healthcare. I then teamed up with my journalist husband and started Teamwork Communications Group, and there has been no looking back since.

Also read: Agency Feature: Weber Shandwick

How has the role of PR changed with the digital ecosystem coming of age?

With the Internet becoming omnipresent and a digital ecosystem becoming vital for communication, the scope for PR has become wider. And this shift has happened rather quickly. Till ten years back, print newspapers were considered the main source of PR communication. However, with the quick proliferation of smartphones and the Internet becoming highly accessible to everyone, digital newspapers and online sources have grown to become equally important. In fact, the latter’s reach is faster and wider and stays on the Internet.

Like any other industry, PR professionals also need to adapt to the changing dynamics. The shifting focus from Traditional PR to Digital PR is evident, and no organization today can afford to ignore this trend.

Paying attention to the media and B2B marketing trends is important today. Gone are the days when the PR and communication industry was restricted to reputation management, media outreach, radios and television, press release distribution. Now, the focus is 360 degrees. PR organizations have to say more vigilant and alert about the impact of any negative news.

CSR in PR?

In recent years, CSR has become a vital element in the strategies of organizations. Some organizations give high priority to their CSR campaigns and want to have sustainable long term commitments that can have a real impact on communities on the grassroots level. Most certainly, a good CSR also translates into good PR. A well thought out, well-intentioned, and well-executed CSR campaign always adds to the image and reputation of an organization and projects it as a socially responsible company.

However, while executing PR campaigns for CSR activities, we must be very careful so as not to project the initiative as a publicity-seeking exercise. When we conduct PR for CSR initiatives of our clients, we focus on the problem, the solution, and the impact the initiative will have on the ground. We highlight the social problem necessitating the CSR action.

The need of the hour

Currently, all organizations across the globe are dealing with a health and financial crisis brought about by COVID-19. Effective communication is critical at a time of any crisis. During an ongoing crisis, the way an expert and leader shares his view with the public matters a lot. People rely on information from those groups to understand an unfolding event and to make decisions about what they should do in their response. When that communication is done well, it helps manage people’s expectations and fears. If it’s done poorly, it can undermine trust in the institutions leading an emergency response. In the case of private organizations, it is essential to craft empathic messaging. It is also important to be sensitive to the plight of people losing their livelihoods and jobs due to the crisis.

We learned the hard way

Any journey brings with it, interesting learning experiences. Over the years, we have learned that there is no substitute for hard work and due diligence. Apart from this constant skilling and upskilling of your workforce and putting in place a strong crisis management team is essential.

Crisis situations are when our clients are the most vulnerable, and if you are not able to perform as per their expectations in containing the crisis, all your good work is forgotten. We have therefore learned that putting in place a strong crisis management team is very important. As for human resource management, retention-focused strategies are critical to retaining talent.

Did we just share that?

We have a few very interesting experiences from our early founding days. I remember when we took our first office on rent after a few months of starting up, we were terribly short of cash. We barely had around Rs 30,000 in our bank account and we supposed to give a cheque of Rs 90,000 to the property owner. We did write a cheque and prayed for remuneration from a client to land in our account as soon as possible. By the time, we stepped out of the rented office and reached our vehicle, we received a credit alert from the bank sufficient enough to cover the cheque.

Another interesting example from our starting up days is when we were pitching for the PR work of multinational giant. We were a company barely three months old and were competing with the biggies of the PR world. We were almost taken aback when they told us that we have been selected as their PR partners.

They work with us

Over the past few years, Teamwork Communications has conducted communication and awareness campaigns in the area of health and wellness for prestigious organizations such as the Fortis Healthcare, Paras Healthcare, Columbia Asia Hospitals, Cipla, Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories, Mylan Pharmaceuticals, Medtronic India, Paras Healthcare, Apollo TeleHealth, Abbott India, Bard India, Poddar Foundation, Allergan India and Essilor among others.

We have conducted countrywide information and awareness campaigns on breast cancer, lung cancer, Hepatitis, Osteoporosis, Mental health, and HIV-AIDS to name a few. These campaigns were conducted in multiple towns and cities with the participation of scores of doctors. Teamwork Group was chosen as the media partner for GSTN – the digital backbone of the tax regime. Working closely with GSTN, we played an instrumental role in crafting its media outreach and communications strategy. We also conducted a series of successful campaigns for the Kerala government, Jharkhand government, and Delhi government’s department of art, culture, and languages.

The industry as we foresee

The immediate aftermath of the COVID 19 crisis is causing a major shuffle in the priorities of organizations. Advertising is one area that has been hit badly. Being a big-ticket investment, a number of organizations are cutting down on their advertising budgets. However, this has led to a greater demand for PR. PR being a low budget exercise is being looked upon as a viable alternative to high-cost advertising. So the market for PR is going to witness an immediate surge. At the same time, crisis situations make PR a valuable proposition for any organization.

It is not that PR businesses have not been affected at all. In the initial weeks after the lockdown, some of our clients stopped work, others reduced the retainer amount. However, we are simultaneously witnessing an inflow of new clients. Organizations that had never considered PR a priority are now giving it its due.

Another major trend driver in the field is going to be social media. The scope of social media in India is immense and increasing rapidly. India’s web-based clients are likely to end up with the world’s biggest web base, after China and the US.

Even as I speak, we are witnessing a major nationwide social media surge against nepotism and favoritism following the tragic death of Sushant Singh Rajput. Negative social media campaigns can have devastating consequences. The communications industry will, therefore, witness a dramatic re-configuration over the coming years with digital ecosystems and social media becoming central to their strategies.

A day without Internet

During the unprecedented times of the lockdown, the Internet has become our essential need like ‘Roti, Kapda aur Makaan’. It’s difficult to imagine a whole day without the Internet. Our work comes to a standstill if we are disconnected even for a while. The constant ability to get news and trends updates on Twitter and other social media platforms is also very addictive.

Having said that, a day without the Internet will also be a kind of blessing! We may go back to older times when we were not plugged to devices constantly when we had real conversations with friends. The hindrance it will cause to work will be a challenge, but I would in a way cherish such a day and spend quality time with family. It would be a kind of detox.

Lastly, are you hiring?

Yes

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