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My MXM India columns in one place

March 24, 2014

150. 11th April

149. 4th April

148. 28th March

147. 21st March

146. 14th March

145. 7th March

144. 29th February –

143. 22nd February –

142. 15th February –

141. 8th February –

140. 1st February – Leaving a Legacy

139. 25th January – 16 things we hope to see in Indian PR this year

138. 18th January – The 16 leading ladies of Indian PR consulting

137. 11th January – 16 Trends in PR & Corp Comm in 2016

136. 2016 4th January – 16 people to watch out in 2016 in Indian Public Relations

135. 28th December – 15 events in World and Indian PR

134. 21st December – 15 young professionals who show promise

133. 14th December – 15 books to read for PR pros in the year ahead

132. 7th December – 15 interesting moves in 2015

131. 30th November – A perspective on PR awards

130. 23rd November – Notes from Nairobi

129. 16th November – The Kingdom of Dreams experience lacks good Public Relations 

128. 9th November – A quest for higher education in Communications

127. 2nd November – Why brands get it wrong?

126. 26th October – What can our Festivals teach us?

125. 19th October – Public Relations learnings from the week that was

124. 12th October – The Pirate’s Manifesto

123. 5th October – 7 things they don’t teach you at C school

122. 28th September – A Praxis like no other

121. 21st September – What the new PRCAI President ought to do?

120. 14th September – Public Relations is about honesty, no matter what!

119. 7th September – 21 steps to a bloody good event

118. 31st August – Where is our talent coming from?

117. 24th August – PR is not changing. We are!

116. 17th August – Liberation is what we need! 

115. 10th August – The season of PR events is here!

114. 3rd August – The Public Relations person par excellence

113. 27th July – 10 steps to being better PR professionals

112. 20th July – Public Relations is about the simple touches

111. 13th July – New age brands that have built themselves using smart Public Relations 

110. 6th July – Pot Pourri from the world of Public Relations

109. 29th June – When will there be a Cannes Lion Grand Prix for PR, by PR and of PR? 

108. 22nd June – The Client Brief – is that a myth?

107. 15th June – New age problems of dealing with younger talent

106. 8th June – Brand Maggi – 20 years to build, 2 minutes to get destroyed! 

105. 1st June – 10 on 10 for the Modi govt on PR, but…

104. 25th May – If Public Relations cannot be measured, then what can be?

103. 18th May – To understand PR better, learn the definition of a religion 

102. 11th May – Three men who made news in interesting ways last week 

101. 4th May – Independent PR Firms are no different from holding company-owned firms

100. 27th April – Our biggest PR campaign would be a display of discipline 

99. 20th April – Why PR is never going to get its due for a long time? 

98. 13th April – Which are the good PR firms?

97. 6th April – The Aam Aadmi Party just did business

96. 30th March – Freedom of Speech and its implications

95. 23rd March –Where’s the Seat at the table?

94. 16th March – Has Public Relations lost its credibility?

93. 9th March – They don’t make editors like Vinod Mehta anymore

92. 2nd March – The art of Public Relations is changing

91. 23rd February – 30 under 30 and what they need to do

90. 16th February – Another election where Public Relations won

89. 9th February – Time for more meaningful Engagement with the most important stakeholders 

88. 2nd February – The PR Business in India needs a school of its own

87. 27th January – 15 people to watch out for in 2015

86. 19th January – Time for real Reputation Management professionals in Politics 

85. 12th January – 15 things we need to see in a PR Institute in 2015

84. 2015 5th January – Public Communications and Public Reputation – Perspectives for 2015 

83. 29th December – Fourteen must reads in 2014 

82. 22nd December – A book to remember because the PRactice of PR in India has so few 

81. 15th December – What to do when hit by a Reputation Crisis

80. 8th December – People make our business

79. 1st December – My PR Person of the Year

78. 24th November – The Rise of PR firms in India over the last two decades 

77. 17th November – How about a dedicated school for Reputation Management? 

76. 10th November – Media relationships will get increasingly complex in a cluttered world

75. 3rd November – Hiring journalists without training them is unfair to the profession and unjust to the individual

74. 27th October – The Public Relations Campaign brief

73. 20th October – Politics is all about Public Reputation as it is in everyday life and more

72. 13th October – We need to showcase our PR Icons

71. 6th October – Managing the three Es in PR

70. 29th September – (No column)

69. 22nd September – Public Reputation is a matter of PRide

68. 15th September – Getting professionals together is just half the work done

67. 8th September – Public Reputation in Politics

66. 1st September – The Public Reputation Alphabet

65. 25th August – Public Reputation cannot be built in a day

64. 18th August – Why is Public Reputation Management widely misunderstood 

63. 11th August – From Public Relations to Public Reputation

62. 4th August – The art of Public Relations – it is about practicing what we preach

61. 28th July – Positioning, Participating and Packaging and a night to remember 


60. 21st July – The vicious PR cycle of education, jobs and salaries 

59. 14th July – PRAXIS2014 is slicker, smarter and super

58. 7th July – The great PR place to work

57. 30th June – Whose Cannes Lion is it anyway?

56. 23rd June – Is a Cannes PR Lion within our reach? (blank column)

55. 16th June – The elusive Cannes Lion

54. 9th June – HR in Public Relations needs to do the right things to build a better reputation

53.2nd June – The exclusivity of exclusives

52. 26th May – The year flew by and we have a brand new government

51. 16th May – In the end Public Relations won! (Special edition)

50. 12th May – What corporate spokespersons can learn from the Narendra Modi interview on Times Now? 

49. 5th May – What’s new that PR folks can offer clients?

48. 28th Apr – The Accidental Media Advisor

47. 21st Apr – Four major international PR events not to miss in 2014 

46. 14th Apr – On the campaign trail – so much PR to learn

45.7th Apr – The Indian PR scene

44.31st Mar – The Public Relations in the aftermath of the tragedy of MH370

43.24th Mar –  Much action for Indian PR frat this year

42.17th Mar – Holiday (My blog on Raising money for a Cause)

41.10th Mar – The media gift conundrum

40.3rd Mar – 10 years as a PR practitioner

39.24th Feb – The crucible called Media Lists

38.17th Feb – Time to stand up for upright journalism

37.10th Feb – The need for an individual membership-driven PR association 

36.3rd Feb – What corporate spokespersons can learn from the historic Rahul Gandhi interview? 

35.27th Jan – The PR professional-Journalist changing equation

34.20th Jan – The Public Relations of Indian Politics

33.13th Jan – Time to protect our profession from quacks

32. 2014 6th Jan – 2014: A year that promises a lot of action

31.30th Dec – 13 PR savvy Indian events and people of 2013

30.23rd Dec – 13 PR savvy international events and people of 2013 

29.16th Dec – Reminiscences of the Global PR summit

28.9th Dec – PR lessons for AAP, BJP & Congress for the general elections

27.2nd Dec – Did you do things differently to be a better PR professional this year? 

26.25th Nov – It’s not about doing the right things, it’s about doing everything right 

25.18th Nov – Public Relations for dummies

24.11th Nov – What’s with the friction between Journalists and PR professionals? 

23.4th Nov –  Holiday (My blog on life in Edelman Chicago)

22.28th Oct – Public Relations and Bad Publicity

21.21st Oct – How Public Relations can win back the respect it deserves! 

20.14th Oct – How PR professionals can upgrade their skills

19.7th Oct – Beggars are not choosers but in Chicago they also know how not to be losers 

18.30th Sep – Musings from India’s only weekend summit for Public Relations

17.23rd Sep – Public Relations has a bigger stake in Social Media than any other stream 

16.16th Sep – How Storytelling has come to become the new buzzword in PR

15.9th Sep – Why our politicians must undertake media training

14.2nd  Sep – Bring back the Credible into Incredible India!

13.26th Aug – Modi’s online Public Relations campaign

12.19th Aug – How PR at a gigantic event is pulled through together… 

11.12th Aug – Learning Public Relations from the Pope

10.5th Aug – The next phase in the evolution of Public Relations

9.29th Jul – Events that make our profession worth being part of

8.22nd Jul – The 6 Cs that are the currency of being successful PR professionals 

7.15th Jul – 5 ways PR in US is different from that in India

6.8th Jul – One size does not fit all!

5.1st Jul – It’s time to give ace communicators their due

4.24th Jun – Why can’t our PR firms win PR Lions at Cannes?

3.17th Jun – Do you know who your biggest ambassador is? (Employee Engagement)

2.10th Jun – The case for Public Relations in governance

1.  2013 – 3rd Jun – To new beginnings!

Elections are fascinating – here is the 2014 schedule

March 5, 2014


India, world’s largest democracy, is once again ready to witness the power of votes. The Election Commission on March 5 announced the schedule for Lok Sabha polls 2014. Polling will be held in nine phases from April 07 to May 12 and the counting of votes will be held on May 16.

General Elections phase-wise schedule:

Phase 1: April 7 in two states

Phase 2: April 9 – five states

Phase 3: April 10 – 14 states

Phase 4: April 12 – three states

Phase 5: April 17 – 13 states

Phase 6: April 24 – 12 states

Phase 7: April 30 – nine states

Phase 8: May 7 – seven states

Phase 9: May 12 – 3 states.

State-wise schedule: 

Andhra Pradesh (40 seats): April 30 (17 seats), May 7 (25)

Arunachal Pradesh (2): April 9

Assam (14): April 7 (5), April 12 (3), April 24 (6)

Bihar (40): April 10 (6), 17 (7), 24 (7), 30 (7), May 7 (7), 12 (6)

Chhattisgarh (11): April 10 (1), 17 (3), 24 (7)

Goa (2): April 17 (2)

Gujarat (26): April 30 (26)

Haryana (10): April 10 (10)

Himachal Pradesh (4): May 7 (4)

Jammu and Kashmir (6): April 10 (1), 17 (1), 24 (1), 30 (1), May 7 (2)

Jharkhand (14): April 10 (5), 17 (5), 24 (4)

Karnataka (28) – April17 (28)

Kerala (20): April 10 (20)

Madhya Pradesh (29): April 10 (9), 17 (10), 24 (10)

Maharashtra (48): April 10 (10), 17 (19), 24 (19)

Manipur (2): April 9 (1), 17 (1)

Meghalaya (2): April 9 (2)

Mizoram (1): April 9 (1)

Nagaland (1): April 9 (1)

Odisha (21): April 10 (10), 17 (11)

Punjab (13): April 30 (13)

Rajasthan (25): April 17 (20), 24 (5)

Sikkim (1): April 12 (1)

Tamil Nadu (39): April 24 (39)

Tripura (2): April 7 (1), 12 (1)

Uttar Pradesh (80): April 10 (10), 17 (11), 24 (12), 30 (14), May 7 (15), 12 (18)

Uttarakhand (5): May 7 (5)

West Bengal (42): April 17 (4), 24 (6), 30 (9), May 7 (6), 12 (17)

Union Territories

Andaman and Nicobar Islands (1): April 10 (1)

Chandigarh (1): April 10 (1)

Dadra and Nagar Haveli (1): April 30 (1)

Daman and Diu (1): April 30 (1)

Lakshadweep (1): April 10 (1)

Delhi (7): April 10 (7)

Puducherry (1): April 24 (1)

Assembly elections:

Andhra Pradesh including Telangana region: April 30, May 7

Odisha: April 10, 17

Sikkim: April 12

Also Read: Salient features of India’s general election

The schedule was announced by Chief Election Commissioner V S Sampath along with Election Commissioners H S Brahma and Dr Nasim Zaidi at a press conference held at Vigyan Bhavan in the national capital.

The elections would see more than 81.4 crore voters exercise their ballot; the number of voters is 10 crore more than the last general election held in 2009. The term of the current Lok Sabha expires on June 1 and the new House has to be constituted by May 31.

Sampath said that the EC had taken into consideration factors like examination schedules and weather conditions.

The EC said that electoral roll have already been updated till January 1, 2014 and final rolls have been published in all states.

However, the EC has offered one more opportunity to enroll in the electoral rolls. Camps would be set up on March 9 at all polling booths – around 9,30,000 – across the country to allow people to enroll themselves, the EC said.

The Model Code of Conduct for governments and political parties will come into force with immediate effect.

On the security measures being implemented by the EC, Sampath said, “To ensure free and fair elections we have taken particular care to ensure that people living in vulnerable areas and vulnerable voters are in continuous touch with the election machinery to ensure that they are able to vote uninterpreted by anyone.”

“Adequate number of observers in different categories will be deployed during the forthcoming elections,” he added.

On the neutrality of officials engaged in conduct of elections, Sampath said the EC expects them to discharge their duty without fear or favour.

“Strict action will be taken against officials who are found wanting in any aspect,” the CEC said.

With regards to the steps being taken to curb use of money power in the elections, he said, “The Election Commission has mounted a series of measures for monitoring expenditure; special emphasis is given to check flow of money during elections.”

“Besides expenditure observers, sufficient number of flying squads will be employed to check use of money power,” he added.

An important feature of the polls would be the introduction of paper trail system for electronic voting in some constituencies on a trial basis.

Also, the EC has issued guidelines to political parties asking them to explain the rationale of financing the promises they make in their election manifestos. The guidelines that followed Supreme Court directions in this regard have now been made part of the Model Code.

Another first in the Lok Sabha elections will be the introduction of “None of the Above” (NOTA) option in voting, which came into vogue in the assembly elections a few months ago.

From the coming elections, candidates in a parliamentary constituency in bigger states can spend up to Rs 70 lakh on their campaign, up from Rs 40 lakh in 2011. In the 2009 elections, it was Rs 25 lakh.

350. From there till here – 10 wonder years

February 28, 2014

I’m writing a blog after four months. Last year during this period I wrote hundred blogs in as many days. I decided to take a break from all the conventional things I did in order to give myself a mini sabbatical.

Here I am, back to blogging while other things happen and occupy my time and mindspace. A lot has happened in the last 120 months and most of them good. Here is a round up of the last 10 years as I step into a new phase of my professional life.

On this day 10 years ago a bunch of us freshly minted graduates gathered at Ridgewood Estate in Gurgaon which would be our home for the next 6 weeks. The following morning the 13 of us were embarking on a career and an experiment. A career in Public Relations and an experiment of having done a first – of signing a three year bond with a company we blindly trusted.

The journey that began on March 1st was a foundation of learning from the best, and discovering our hidden potential one day at a time. We were making new friends, for life. We were changing the way Public Relations was done as time flew by.

Some of us decided to move out of Public Relations completely and some of us decided to stay on. Most of us are no longer with GBM except one who is in the same group but in London. 3 are in Bangalore, 3 are in Mumbai, 3 are in NCR, 2 in California and one in Australia.

I had a fabulous 42 months with my first employer across three cities and still cherish great memories of my time there. In fact I spent two hours this morning at the Genesis BM Gurgaon office catching up with Prema, Zorawar, Nikhil and a bunch of others. My favourites are always the office support staff (Manohar, Vinay etc.) some of whom I met this morning.

After Genesis, a quest to be in a start-up and in political communications took me to APCO Worldwide as its first employee in Mumbai and then to be the first head of corporate communications for a media planning and buying company in India within the Publicis Groupe. Having spent eight years in three metros in three companies I figured that time had come for me to get two years of international experience. That quest led me to Edelman Public Relations (again a first for an Indian to be directed hired by a Top 10 PR firm in the US) in their founding office in Chicago, from where I returned three months ago.

While many who care about my career progress have been curious to know what I’m upto and some are aware I thought I will share some of it here. While Edelman and I had an understanding that I would come back and work with them in their Gurgaon office, the HR managers and their handlers in India felt they needed me in Mumbai. In any other year I would have been open to it but not in an election year – the main reason for my early return was to be involved with political strategy and communications on the weekends and after hours.

That was not meant to be and we decided to part ways. I am enjoying being a budding social entrepreneur. While I consult for couple of global brands through a PR firm which takes care of my bread, butter and shelter there is a lot going on. I am building couple of intellectual properties in the events space, working for a political campaign and learning through reading about start ups and businesses.

Most of the last 10 years have gone as per plan and I hope the next 10 are as interesting, if not as planned. The last 10 weeks of the last 10 years have been very unique. I have met a lot of old friends and made several new acquaintances.

I want to end by thanking a series of people who have contributed in big ways and small to my professional growth. If I have missed your name and you believe you made an impact on me please send me an email and if i’m convinced I will add your name here.

GBM – Prema, Ashwani, Sheila, Zorawar, Senjam, Sabiana, Nikhil, Alka, Sheena, Anjana, Ashok, Vikram, Girish, Deepshikha,Ajit and all the 12 ALPmates (Bodhi, Moksh, Chitrangada, Madhavi, Ishita, Meghana, Archana, Vidya, Neha, Preeti, Priya, Greishma)

APCO – Margery, Amit, Sanjay, Mrunmaiy, Sheetal and Surojeet.

SMG/VivaKi – Ravi, Srikant, Mona, CVL, Rajesh, Kaushik, Hemang, Jennifer, Maria, Jill, Lena, Cheri, Ashish, Vikas, Andrew, Nikhil, Sanjay, Madhavan, Girish and a bunch of others.

Edelman USA – Rick, Travis, Christopher, Harlan, Nicole, Tamara, Neil, Laura, Kimberley, Mindi, Rachel, Eileen, Karen and Geoffrey.

And last but not the least Robert Holdheim for letting me go, Anant Rangaswami for being a great sounding board, Indrajit Gupta for teaching me humility, Nafisa Islam for being a fabulous friend, Radhika Sharpoorjee for thinking highly of me and Vishwajeet Ganpate for never letting me go.

That’s 60 people and counting. My family and friends have always been my strength but this blog is for the professional connections who made a difference. Watch this space for more…

343. Is there really a personal brand?

October 21, 2013

Several celebrities end up becoming brands themselves. I am neither a celebrity nor wish to be one. I write this blog because some individuals in the recent past have in a joking way referred to me as one because of the various things I do that may seem unusual, which in reality are not.

I feel my greatness is in my smallness and the only thing I’m proud of is my humility. Contrarian as it may sound, it is what it is. I will soon step into the new chapter of my professional life and I’m looking forward to the future.

Having spent two full years in one of the most evolved consumer markets in the world I feel charged for the next stint back in my home country. While the details of my next innings are still being ironed out I felt it is good to write this blog so there is more clarity for me and those who will be professionally engaged with me in the future. Just makes it easy.

Firstly, I am not a brand and don’t wish to be one. There maybe people who aspire to be brands but I’m certainly not one of them. That being said well wishers and adversaries from time to time will try to paint you as a brand for personal joy or personal gain.

This brings me to the new brand that is selling like hot cake in India. The man who is completely a creation of the mainstream and social media. While time will tell what becomes of him one thing is clear all said and done a lot of time, money and energy has been spent to build this larger than life persona of someone who is nothing more than decisive.

The beauty of life is that each one is unique and each one comes with a point of view that is distinct. In the end what we do with what we have is all that matters. I write these blogs for myself but because I’m open you have access to read this and I’m glad you do.

Furniture for sale in Chicago downtown

October 8, 2013

Barely used furniture in excellent (as good as new) condition available for pick up from Presidential Towers in the West Loop on 27th, 28th, 29th October. Entire set for $650 or individual pieces available – Chest of Drawers [150], Bed (with complimentary mattress, side table, duvet and pillows)  [175], Dining set includes 4 chairs [125], Big sofa bed with 2 pillows [175], Small sofa bed [125].  Anyone who takes it all also gets  3 standing lamps, 1 study table and stool, 1 shopping cart for free, if interested. Contact amithpr at gmail dot com – All colors as seen in pictures except of duvet.Bed frame with optional mattressSmall sofa bedBig sofa bedDining setChest of drawers

340. Travel over the next 14 months

August 12, 2013

Sometimes it just helps to share one’s schedule publicly so others don’t can plan to engage you better. I like to do this once or twice a year and put out my proposed travel and holiday plans so I can share the link with family, friends and acquaintances who want to make plans that involve me.  This is the proposed travel for the next 14 months.


Texas for Labor Day weekend Sept 1st and 2nd

India for PRAXIS – September 19th to 29th (includes travel days)

London – September 30th and October 1st

Canada – October 11th to 13th

Boston, New York, Miami – November 1st to 15th

To India for the next phase on November 21st

Bangalore – December 7th to 9th (may travel via Nagpur)

Mangalore – December 28th and 29th (travel on 30th via Udupi to Goa)


Goa – December 30th to January 2nd (post Goa, either to Mangalore or back to base)

Shillong – Feb 21st to 23rd

Kasauli – March 1st and 2nd

Mangalore  – May 2nd (for a day)

Canada – May 3rd to 10th  (From Mumbai may fly via Seattle) – for a course

Pune – around 17th July (To Be decided)

Madrid, Spain – September 21st to 23rd (+2 days) – for a conference

Krakow, Poland – September 26th to 28th – for a pilgrimage

Varanasi – October 25th and 26th

339. Giving from The Ethel Prabhu Memorial Foundation

August 9, 2013

ETHEL PRABHU was a sister, mother, friend and teacher par excellence. She was born and raised in Mangalore spending most of her adult life in the teaching profession.  Having taught at schools in Mumbai, Hong Kong, Muscat and Mangalore she was great at what she did. She was a strong supporter of attributes like Equality, Excellence and Empowerment.

The ETHEL PRABHU Foundation seeks to keep the attributes alive by:

awarding the Best Teacher Award for Teaching Excellence in collaboration with Sandesha, Mangalore (which includes a cash prize of Rs 10,000, now in the eleventh year),

offering the annual scholarship of Rs 5000/- each to four deserving Kannada medium students in two Mangalore schools – one where she studied at: the St Agnes High School (two Class 10 toppers/ these are named after her older sisters – Sr Marie Ange & Sr Amritha – who were nuns in the same congregation that runs the school and they both passed away in the last decade) and the one where she worked the longest at:  the St Aloysius High School (two class 10 toppers) to Empower them to study further and

continuing the sponsorship of two underprivileged & disabled young children at Ferrando Speech and Hearing Centre in Shillong to help bring about Equality.

She lived a life striving for justice. In a short span of 51 years she made a lasting impression on many with whom her path crossed. This blog commemorates her 10th death anniversary. This day in 2001 was when my mother breathed her last. It was a life defining moment and I owe a lot of what I am today to her, to my upbringing and to those weeks immediately after her passing away on 10th August. In the last 12 years I have tried my best to support causes that were close to her heart and to streamline various initiatives I put together a foundation on her 10th death anniversary.

While the website has a gist of what the foundation aims to do I also want to outline three more initiatives being added this year taking the annual giving to Rs 1,00,000/- (a small sum, but given that this amount comes out of my annual savings earned through a fixed salary income and not from inheritances or donations, it isn’t small).  This year we launch the World Youth Day WYD fund to support a Young Mangalorean to attend the WYD where the person chosen through an application process is funded upto Rs 60,000/- or 90% of the cost (whichever is lower; this is based on Rs 20,000 set aside every year as WYD is a once in 3 year event) to be able to attend the World Youth Day. The next one is in Krakow, Poland. Secondly,  we launch the teaching time where I will personally devote one week of either paid or unpaid leave to spend six 8-hour days with students in five institutions, starting 2014, to interact, guide and foster young talent and there is no monetary value attached to this commitment other than a travel cost of Rs 20,000/. Lastly, we launched a knowledge fund to give away 75 books as prizes through three Twitter quizzes organised every four months called the Twizathon, which is gearing for the third edition in October and has an investment of Rs 20,000/-

A Facebook page has been created for the Foundation and you are welcome to interact there. In one dozen years we have taken the number of initiatives upto six and from a Rs 20,000 annual commitment a decade ago we have multiplied the Giving to five times. We look for meaningful initiatives to support and hope to make a small difference in the lives of as many young people in the years to come. And as we do all this we know the woman who is the inspiration behind these programmes is smiling down from somewhere.