Ms.Akshaara Lalwani, Founder and CEO of Communicate India, Shares Her Insights on Staying Ahead in Public Relations, Business, and Marketing in Today’s Rapidly Evolving Landscape

CXOToday has engaged in an exclusive interview with Ms.Akshaara Lalwani- Founder & CEO of Communicate India


  1. As the founder and CEO of Communicate India, can you tell us about your journey and how you got started in the public relations industry?

I have had the privilege of being part of the dynamic PR industry for more than a decade now. My journey as an entrepreneur began in 2011 when I founded Communicate India at the age of 23 with just a handful of employees and a single client – a restaurant in Bandra that saw my drive and potential and signed a six-month contract with me. Today, our team has expanded to over 100+ talented individuals, and we have worked with companies across the spectrum, ranging from Fortune 500 giants to innovative startups and family-run businesses.

I attribute a lot of my success to my willingness to dive in and gain hands-on experience from a young age. I started working at the age of 16, shortly after graduating from J.B. Petit High School for Girls. After this, I completed my Bachelor of Arts (B.A) Honors degree in Economics from Jai Hind College and then went on to gain invaluable expertise in sales & marketing and client servicing while working for companies such as HDFC AMC, Omega Capita, and CMCG India for nearly two years. These experiences armed me with the skills and knowledge necessary to embark on my own entrepreneurial journey.

Like any entrepreneur, my path has been paved with both wins and setbacks. Nonetheless, creating something from scratch has been a thrilling and fulfilling experience. Even after 13 years of being at the helm of my own company, I’m excited to witness what the future holds and I am confident in the potential for more growth and success.


2. What do you see as the biggest challenge facing the public relations industry today, and how is your company addressing it?

One of the biggest challenges facing the public relations industry today is managing client expectations. While it may seem simple to sell PR services to clients, the reality is that many clients don’t fully understand what goes into addressing their needs. This can lead to a gap in expectations between what clients believe they will receive and what PR professionals can deliver.

For example, clients may see successful pitches or campaigns done for other companies and expect immediate, similar results for their brand. However, PR is not an overnight, one-and-done effort. It takes time, strategy, creativity, and hard work to build up a media presence and achieve effective results.

There is also the need to stay on top of emerging technologies. As the PR industry becomes increasingly digital and data-driven, PR professionals need to be proficient in a wide range of technologies and tools, from social media management platforms to analytics software to content creation tools. Staying up-to-date with the latest trends and technologies is a constant challenge becasue new tools and platforms emerge almost daily.

Furthermore, the pressure to demonstrate ROI is also increasing. As PR budgets come under scrutiny, clients and stakeholders are demanding more concrete evidence of the impact of PR efforts on business outcomes. This means that PR professionals need to be able to measure and quantify the value of their work, often using metrics such as website traffic, social media engagement, and lead generation. However, measuring the impact of PR can be difficult, and there is often a lag between PR activities and business results, making it challenging to demonstrate a clear ROI.

At Communicate India we are addressing these challenges by prioritising clear communication with clients, investing in employee training and development, and implementing effective measurement and evaluation processes to demonstrate the impact of our work.


3. As a leader in the field of Public Relations and marketing industry, how do you stay up to date with the latest trends and technologies? How do you ensure that Communicate India is always at the cutting edge of the industry?

Attending industry conferences and events, reading publications and blogs, and networking with other professionals – these are just a few of the ways to stay ahead of the learning curve in an industry that’s constantly evolving. We also prioritise the use of PR tools to monitor online mentions and measure the results of our campaigns.

Moreover, we encourage our team members to share their ideas and insights, fostering a culture of innovation and creativity within our agency. We believe that everyone on our team has valuable contributions to make, and we actively seek out and implement their suggestions.

Finally, we know how important it is to continuously improve our communication skills, including our ability to create captivating content and engage with our audiences. By consistently investing in our skills and knowledge, we ensure that Communicate India remains at the forefront of the industry and is always able to deliver the best results for our clients.


4. How do you see the role of Public Relations and marketing evolving in the next few years, especially in light of advancements in AI and digital technologies?

 Technology has always been a game-changer for the PR industry. With technology now at the forefront of every business, brands are embracing its limitless potential and discovering how it can amplify their message. The digital landscape has provided PR professionals with a plethora of tools, from social media to data analytics that can help drive brand awareness and engagement.

The real beauty of digital media, however, is speed. Unlike traditional media with its lengthy editorial calendars and extended lead times, digital media enables brands to get their message out instantly. This becomes particularly important in times of crisis or unpredictability because it enables brands to remain agile and respond to market changes quickly. Furthermore, digital media has become a boon for start-ups by providing them with an affordable platform to reach a larger audience and carve a niche for themselves in the industry.


5. Can you talk about a particularly successful PR or marketing campaign you have led in the past year, and what made it so effective?

Before the pandemic hit, we ran a campaign called “Ghar Jao Vote Karo” for Thomas Cook. It was to encourage more Indians living abroad to participate in the country’s general election. This campaign not only brought great publicity for our client, but it also served a greater social cause. What made this campaign particularly effective was its multi-pronged approach. This is just one of the many examples of successful campaigns that we’ve run for our clients.

Also, one of the interesting things about our agency is that we’ve managed to stay independent despite the trend of international companies acquiring smaller domestic agencies. We’re proud to be a born-in-India agency that is now expanding into international markets, and our 360-degree integrated approach to marketing and PR has been instrumental in our success.


6. As a women leader in a male- dominated industry, what advice do you have for other women looking to succeed in PR, Marketing, or Business?

As a woman leader in a male-dominated industry, I know how challenging it can be for women to succeed in PR, Marketing, or Business. My advice to other women looking to make their mark is to push yourself to do more, even if you may not succeed every time. You learn valuable lessons from both successes and failures, which ultimately helps you become better at what you do.

Also, remember, bigger is not always better. Do your research and make informed decisions instead of just going for the option that seems the most impressive. Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and embrace change. This can help you become better at adapting to different situations and lead to new opportunities.

Finally, the most important piece of advice is to always believe in yourself and your abilities. You have the skills and talent to make a real impact in your field, and with hard work, determination, and a willingness to learn and grow, you can achieve great success.


7. What do you consider to be the key skills and attributes for success in PR, Marketing and Business, and how do you work to cultivate these qualities in yourself and your team?

To excel in PR, marketing, and business, individuals need to have a constellation of skills including excellent communication skills, be a social media whiz, a savvy researcher, a creative thinker, and be a master of time management. But it’s not just about having these skills – it’s about constantly improving them and learning new ones.

As a leader, I work to cultivate these qualities in myself by being a lifelong learner, which is why, over the last 5 years, I have gone on to study Digital Marketing at Oxford and earned my Masters in Entrepreneurship from the prestigious Cambridge Judge Business School.

In my team, I encourage open communication, brainstorming sessions, and constructive feedback. We always stay up to date on the latest trends and techniques through research and training programs. And, more importantly, we never shy away from taking risks and trying new things – after all, creativity requires stepping outside of your comfort zone.

I believe that these skills and attributes are essential for success in today’s fast-paced and ever-changing world of PR, marketing, and business. By continuously developing and refining these qualities, we can stay ahead of the curve and deliver the best results for our clients.


8. How do you approach building and maintaining strong relationships with clients, and advice do you have for other business leaders looking to do the same?

Building and maintaining strong relationships with clients is all about being open, honest, and proactive. It’s important to establish a rapport with your clients from the get-go, and to be responsive and reliable throughout your interactions. Always be sure to listen to their needs and concerns, and provide them with honest advice and feedback when necessary.

At the same time, it’s also important to take charge of the relationship and show initiative and confidence. This means setting clear expectations, going above and beyond to exceed their expectations, and being willing to take risks and try new things.

Ultimately, building strong client relationships requires a combination of communication, trust, and exceptional service. By staying true to these principles, you can establish long-lasting relationships that benefit both you and your clients.


9. Finally, can you speak to any exciting new projects or initiatives that Communicate India has in the works for the coming year, and how you plan to continue innovating and pushing the boundaries of the PR & marketing industry?

We’ve got some big plans for the year ahead! We’re aiming to expand our business and connect with clients all over the world. We’ve already taken the first step in this direction by opening up two brand new offices – one in Dubai and the other in London. We’re confident that this expansion will allow us to offer even better services to our clients and help them reach new heights. We always put our clients first and strive to provide top-notch service by keeping up with the latest industry trends and techniques. We’re thrilled about what the future holds and can’t wait to grow and learn alongside our clients and the industry as a whole.

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