Sujit Patil | Influence 100
Charting the future of public relations
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Sujit Patil

VP & Head, Corporate Brand & Communications
Godrej Industries & Associated Companies
India

@sujitpatil

 

Sujit Patil has overseen a stellar communications evolution at the Indian industrial company since 2013. Under his leadership, Godrej has overhauled all aspects of its communications operation, starting with a sophisticated insights capability and encompassing an advanced approach to measurement and evaluation.


Those efforts have not escaped the attention of Patil’s peers, with Godrej winning the Diamond SABRE Award for excellence in reputation management in both South Asia and Asia- Pacific, along with Company of the Year at the former show. 

All told, Patil oversees PR and communications for over 20 businesses and 40 brands across Godrej, unifying the PR process across the group and establishing a group wide strategy that links all elements of integrated communications to business objectives.

Can you share a moment in your career when you saw PR's direct impact on business performance?
There are many examples, but one of the recent campaigns that stands out for me is #HarGharSurakshit (Every home safe) for Godrej’s locks business. With the insight that safety is not top-of-mind culturally for a vast segment of the Indian population, this campaign created the much-needed push to make “home safety” an important narrative. Through an integrated PR campaign with thought leadership roundtables, influencer engagement, content creation and PR strategies, a low-involvement category  – locks – took centre stage. The measured results and the aura-building indicators for the Godrej brand were amazing. Apart from doing its job, the campaign won the 7th best campaign in the world at the SABRE awards!

What do you love about this industry?
The opportunities to experiment. I mean, every new campaign is unique. It’s a profession and an industry on the go. There is always some excitement and the non-monotonous nature of our work is what I love!

What most frustrates you about this industry?
The complexity and ambiguity involved in demonstrating PR’s value-add towards an organization’s growth. We do have ways to demonstrate effectiveness, but the measurement conundrum still exists. I guess the industry has also not presented itself in its true holistic form and educated organizational stakeholders in the way some other functions have. A bit of PR for PR could be useful!

What are the communications industry's biggest challenges and opportunities?
It has to be managing organizational reputation and build brands in the prevailing ambience of fake news, minimal public attention spans, reduced trust on media/governments, and inauthentic influencers in the social media space. This also provides immense opportunities for the industry to raise its bar on tracking, using insights and data to understand public behaviour, respond in real time using technology-based platforms and engage with consumers directly.

How do you relax or change pace when you're not at work?
I am an outdoor person and love my weekend farming trips to my farm close to Mumbai. Connecting with nature energises me and prepares me for the week ahead.

Can you share a book/movie/TV show/podcast that teaches a valuable lesson about PR?
My all-time favourite book on PR is “The Fall of Advertising and the Rise of PR” by Al Rise and Laura Rise.

If I wasn't working in marketing/communications, I would be...
...working in the sales function – my career started with that.