Mukta Kumar, director, Communications, Konnections, has been a popular figure in the communication segment. Team Optimist spoke to Kumar on her journey in marketing communications.
Team Optimist: How has marketing communications evolved in the past two decades in India?
Mukta Kumar: The role of the Indian PR industry is evolving and the sector has been witnessing tremendous growth over the past few decades. Reputation management and stakeholder communication are becoming integral parts of marketing spends and the corporate sector is looking up to agencies as change (management) agents.
Marketing communication is fast emerging as the catalyst determining the growth and reputation of organisations and the new world has woken up to it.
Team Optimist: Do you think the digital economy has opened a new gateway in the marketing segment?
Mukta Kumar: The marketing segment is beaming with innovations and is evolving every day. In today’s age, incorporating smart marketing strategies has become a key differential. The digital era is affecting the market segmentation strategies of organisations, their customers and stakeholders. Marketing is fast changing to suit the present-day requirements of businesses and is converting each opportunity into growth.
Team Optimist: From Ogilvy to the present, how do you perceive your personal curve over the past 20 years?
Mukta Kumar: It has been a fantastic journey, so far. From my first days of internship at Ogilvy till the present, I have been on a learning curve. Coming from a modest and conventional background, Marketing and Communication was extremely overwhelming for me, but the sector gives you immense opportunities to learn and grow. The biggest decision of my life was to start my entrepreneurial journey and set up Konnections in 2010. Over the past few years, the way Konnections has grown has helped me reiterate my faith in my abilities and hard work. My journey over the past 20 years has been a roller-coaster ride and I haven’t seen a single dull day. I’ve truly enjoyed it and am geared up for more as we’re planning to set up specialised divisions and firms which will cater to complete communication requirements and provide customised counsel on reputation.
Team Optimist: As any growing economy, in India, too, crisis management is now a significant avenue to focus on. What’s your opinion about crisis management and what does the government need to do about policy-making?
Mukta Kumar: Crisis management requires a lot of planning and a sharp focus. Each company, depending upon their stakeholders and business dynamics, should put together proper communication modules and guidelines for crisis management and preparedness.
Team Optimist: Being a stalwart in the industry, what key aspects do you think are integral for a good leader?
Mukta Kumar: Desired learning and the ability to become a team player are integral parts of being a good leader. The business dynamics are constantly evolving and, to be successful in our industry, one must possess a good understanding of business and clients’ requirements, have a positive outlook and, most importantly, have the courage to take decisions and lead from the front.
Team Optimist: Personally, do you think India has moved ahead in fighting the gender gap at the core industry level?
Mukta Kumar: India’s a growing economy and has to take big steps to fill in the gender gap. But a few sectors, such as PR and communications, enjoy a very healthy gender ratio across levels. At Konnections, we always promote equal opportunities and working conditions for men and women in all areas of the media sector. Our organisation ratio is 60% women and 40% men.
Team Optimist: Many companies these days spend huge amounts of capital on media relations. Is it a necessity, or just a trend?
Mukta Kumar: Media relations are very subjective and need to build on intellectual capital. Organisations should understand the importance of knowledge-based communication and invest in promoting it. Having said that, capital investments in media is a reality and has to be addressed at the industry level.
Team Optimist: Individually, what’s your personal target over the next five years? As a mentor, what’s your take on the present generation?
Mukta Kumar: We’d like Konnections to grow and to establish it as one of the leading agencies in the country and also expand internationally. We’ll also focus on business diversification and introduce specialised modules for better management of our external and internal communications programmes. As a mentor, I’d advise the present generation to have more patience and focus on work ethics. It’s easier to teach work rather than to build character.