In Conversation with Ms. Nikita Das, Director for PR & Marketing, Taj Palace New Delhi
HospiBuz: A career in PR & Marketing brings a load of responsibilities on one’s shoulders, as you become the face of the organization. What motivated you in your early days to enter into this career segment, where you must have realized that you possess those skills that are required in this field.
Ms. Nikita Das: I started by doing multiple internships across varied industries under the purview of media and communications since the age of 22, from MTV to London based Flagship PR Agency. My early international education in global marketing coupled with the international internship exposures actually motivated me to enter this field and possess the skills I do today.
HospiBuz: You started your career with Conde Nast Publication to Ogilvy & Mather to DDB Mundra and then finally at Taj, which one you would rate as your best experience in terms of learning and development of the required skills for a leadership position of Director.
Ms. Nikita Das: Ogilvy surely was extremely challenging in terms of client handling and strategic planning & execution dynamics while CondeNast London and DDB Mudra stressed more on consumer behavioural research. Each workplace was a very unique and distinct learning experience in their own way.
HospiBuz: You have given a number of lectures in educational institutions, what are some areas that you would always like the students to focus the most in their educational career of PR & Marketing, that would help them to face the challenges in the market.
Ms. Nikita Das: For PR & Marketing comprehensively it would be : Targeted Communications, hands down. I do a lot of role plays in my sessions and have realized that students are extremely intelligent and have great ideas but are not mentored correctly on how best to articulate and communicate them. In my opinion, PR & Marketing is 70% observation and on-field experience and 30% theory. In India, theoretical knowledge still takes higher percentage precedence over field knowledge and experience.
HospiBuz: India has been famous for its hospitality and culture, where tourist brings a bagful of hopes to experience the Indian Hospitality in such a case how important the role of PR & Marketing team grows to match the expectations that has been set by the teams during their promotional campaigns.
Ms. Nikita Das: Travellers today are extremely informed, well read and experienced. When they arrive most of them have already googled all about Indian culture, history, heritage and traditions, in such scenarios, it becomes critical for our function to deliver and meet their hopes and expectations. Our strength lies in understanding the nobility of Indian Hospitality and tradition and a lot of training goes behind execution of all promotional campaigns from this perspective.
HospiBuz: What are the few skills that you would say that are must for a representative of PR & Marketing team, and how these skills can be polished and worked upon throughout the life.
Ms. Nikita Das: There are different skill sets required for both the distinctly different sub-functions of communications. For PR, one would need great relationship building/networking, writing, industry & cross industry knowledge building skills while for Marketing one would need good planning, strategizing, consumer behavioural analysis, market study & segmentation and research analysis skills. What would be common for both, would be having worldly knowledge and innovative thinking skill sets. These skills can only build and get polished on the job as well as enrolling in good knowledge building courses throughout ones professional careers, like undertaking free online courses from Coursera or paying for the high end executive MBA programs from Harvard, Standford, Yale etc.
HospiBuz: What advice would you offer to our readers who aspire as well as are already a part of PR & marketing team?
Ms. Nikita Das: Keep brushing one’s communications skills by acquiring world knowledge as there is always room for improvement as well as undertake ‘writing’ as a hobby, it has helped me tremendously in my job.
HospiBuz: As a Director, your role as a team leader increases manifolds, what are some of your expectations and principles that you expect from your employees to follow to stand out from the rest of the market players.
Ms. Nikita Das: Agility, dynamism and spontaneous response timing is key to stand out from the rest of the market players. There is no room for complacency and lethargy in PR & Marketing, you are constantly thinking of newer and innovative ideas, even when sleeping.
HospiBuz: HospiBuz is working on its vision to be the most informative journalism portal where industry professionals can showcase their talents, skills and success stories. With your immense experience and knowledge in the industry please suggest HospiBuz, on what Hospitality industry journalism needs the most and should be covered.
Ms. Nikita Das: 2 things HospiBuz could undertake to be pioneers in Hospitality Industry Journalism:
1. Study and analyse the constantly evolving and changing trends in the Indian and Global Hospitality Industry and share them with Industry experts in an open debate to gather more insights and share knowledge.
2. Create a ‘dynamic newsletter’ where the content is crowd-sourced from industry experts, every quarter, so as to make it interesting to read what veterans as well as new-age Hospitality professionals have to say about the latest trends in the market and how it impacts business and operations.
Thank you so much for your prestigious time!!