#POPxoWomenWhoWin: PR Pundit Founder Archana Jain On All It Takes To Build A Stellar Brand

#POPxoWomenWhoWin: PR Pundit Founder Archana Jain On All It Takes To Build A Stellar Brand

What does it take to build an inclusive brand? For one, it’s thinking beyond the conventional margins. Archana Jain, CEO and Managing Director of PR Pundit, has been doing just that for years. 

Charming, approachable and incredibly warm, Archana is hard to miss at the many events her two-decade-old public relations and communication agency organises. As a fashion journalist, one of my first interactions with her goes back to a shoe signing with Christian Louboutin. Together with PR Pundit, the designer was celebrating the reopening of his boutique in New Delhi. That evening, Archana effortlessly made everyone feel at ease, ensuring that our excitement was matched with a gala time. Since then, we’ve had several run-ins, and it is hardly surprising, given PR Pundit’s coveted roster of clients.

The agency is a frontrunner in luxury, fashion, beauty and lifestyle, representing names such as Ralph Lauren, Panerai, Tissot, Jo Malone, Forest Essentials, Ritu Kumar, Bhaane, Uniqlo and Luxottica, to name a few. A diverse firm, its workforce of 110 people has an impressive 85% women in it. With their offices in Delhi-NCR, Mumbai, Bengaluru and an overarching network across the country, the award-winning agency is known to offer creative solutions ranging from communications to marketing. 

But how did it all come together? Archana began her professional journey in the 90s when Public Relations was considered an unconventional career option. And yet, with her grit, determination and hard work, she paved the way for PR Pundit, establishing it in 1998. Over two decades later, when the firm has mastered the shift to a digital forefront, her packed schedule still includes constant communication with her teams. But it isn’t all work and no play for her! A glance through her Instagram will give you a peek into her interests, which include travelling and being amidst nature. Also, we simply love her personal style! From draping sarees to make them look like a second skin to standout separates and that hard-to-miss curly hair, she always stands out in a crowd.

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Naturally, when we think of the incredible women who inspire us, the charismatic Archana Jain is on top of that list. So we were delighted when she graciously accepted our interview request for the #POPxoWomenWhoWin series. From creating a phenomenal brand to the one mantra she continues to swear by, Archana talks about her endlessly inspiring journey. Edited excerpts below.

How do you begin your day? What does a typical work day look like for you?

My day begins with some exercise, reading the news, checking emails and coffee! During weekdays, the schedule is a combination of team and client engagements. I work closely with my teams on client strategy discussions, business and financial reviews, new business development and talent management.

Let’s rewind a little. How did you land your first job?

I responded to an advertisement in the newspaper for a market research position at a hotel company, only to be told at the interview that the role had been dissolved. However, they did go on to offer me the job of a Public Relations Manager!

What would you say were the turning points in your career?

Setting up PR Pundit in 1998 and going on to work with luxury brands like Estee Lauder and Tod’s in 2008 proved to be turning points in my career.

You have been in the industry for a long time. What would you term as your biggest professional accomplishment so far?

Creating an enviable brand called PR Pundit. And then again, being recognised as a defining agency—not the biggest nor the most profitable—but one that inspires large and small in the industry is a huge accomplishment.

Do you believe there are certain skills or qualities that have helped you succeed as a professional in this field?

Committed and passionate hard work has earned me confidence and respect. I would also say that offering solutions that are contextually relevant and insight-driven has been a big plus point.

Is there a mantra that you swear by in your professional and/or personal life?

One key mantra to remember is L.E.A.R.N. – Listen, Engage, Attitude, Rationale, Nimble.

There are many young people looking to break into the industry. How would you describe Public Relations to someone wishing to take it up as a career option?

The profession of Public Relations offers the best opportunities for young talent. We work with the top management, people who respect advice from young practitioners in the industry.

Considering that you have a packed schedule, how do you unwind?

Depending on the season, I like to go swimming or venture out for a walk. I also enjoy gardening, good food and wine and of course, catching up on Netflix!

Many people credit books and literature in leaving an indelible mark on their lives. If you were to name a few that did that for you, what would those be?

The Hungry Tide by Amitav Ghosh, Reading Lolita In Tehran by Azar Nafisi and The Emperor of All Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee.

And before we wrap up, what are the three things in your makeup bag that you can’t do without?

A liner, a mascara and a bronzer.

Featured Image Courtesy: Archana Jain