In India’s highly-competitive PR market, it takes a certain level of performance to remain relevant for more than 20 years. That Perfect Relations has done so speaks volumes about a pioneering sensibility that continues to drive growth at one of India’s biggest PR players.
Perfect’s wholly-owned 19-office national network means it offers rather more than the metropolitan coverage favored by many of its rivals. The firm focuses on an offering it calls “image management”, and offers specialist divisions covering CSR, public affairs, healthcare, entertainment, digital and technology.
It has particular expertise in crisis comms and public affairs, thanks in large part to the experience of co-founder Dilip Cherian, a consultant and lobbyist of considerable repute. Cherian’s high profile is reflected in his regular presence on the international speaking circuit, and the former jouranlist’s connections within India are unparalleled. He is supported at Perfect by co-founder and group chief executive Bobby Kewalramani, another lobbying veteran with experience of working at Birla Group and the Times of India.
The year’s key senior appointment saw Valerie Pinto promoted to the role of CEO. Pinto has been with the firm for 12 years, working across corporate, financial and consumer.
The agency believes its approach to talent helps it retain clients; account staff are refreshed every three years. Entrepreneurialism is also encouraged, with no fewer than five divisions run as independent companies by Perfect employees. All of its clients were retained over the past 12 months, driving 20 per cent revenue growth despite difficult economic conditions.
New business included YouTube, Hilton Group and eBay India, adding to a client roster that features Morgan Stanley, Shoppers Stop, Skoda, Mercedes, Coca-Cola, Dow Chemical and Google. “Perfect Relations is one agency which keeps reinventing itself,” says Adrian Terron, head of corporate communications at conglomerate Godrej Group. “It’s difficult to come up with so many ideas, but they do. Their network and connections with media and influencers are truly valued by us”
In terms of work, there were several highlights, led by Perfect’s work in leading the Congress Party-led coalition to an unexpectedly strong victory in the country’s General Election. Perfect also represents Lalit Modi, the former Indian Premier League chairman who found himself at the centre of one of the year’s biggest crises. Perfect acted for PWC during the Satyam accounting scandal, and also handled high-profile campaigns for Carrefours and Smirnoff. Perfect Relations also handled comms for Dow Chemical, now owners of Union Carbide, during the emotionally-charged 25th anniversary of the Bhopal tragedy.
Perfect remains an independent player, yet attracts regular acquisition interest from the global networks.—AS