Global warming and environmental issues are no longer something that will merely impact us in the future, it’s already happening around us. Rosatom is Russia’s state nuclear energy corporation. This Russian Government organisation, headquartered in Moscow, is one of the leaders in the world’s nuclear energy industry. Notably, it runs 33 nuclear power plant units in 12 countries including the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant in Tamil Nadu, the largest nuclear power station in India.
Rosatom has a deep commitment to preserving natural resources and preventing global climate change. As part of their CSR activities, they decided to screen the third series of ‘Wild Edens: South Asia’, a documentary dedicated to the fight against global warming. The screening was held at Mumbai on 19th March 2019 in association with National Geographic Channel. Freida Pinto, Hollywood Indian actress and activist of Slumdog Millionaire fame was the Brand Ambassador. At Catalyst PR, we were tasked with managing this event and generating publicity and awareness about the screening.
How we did it!
We looked at the whole assignment from a broader berth, we decided that it should not merely be about the screening of a film. We wanted to add a whole new dimension to the event and also draw greater focus to the fight against global warming. We came up with the innovative concept of organizing a Wild Life Photography Contest online before the screening of ‘Wild Edens: South Asia” documentary. This was met quite enthusiastically by Rosatom.
A large campaign was run across print and social media to promote the contest and attract participation from amateur and aspiring photographers from all over India. The campaign was a big hit and we had an overwhelming response with 170 photographers from across India and Bangladesh participating. They came up with stunning photographs showcasing the theme brilliantly. Seventy of the entries were shortlisted. Winners were judged by Elia Kabanov, Editor, metkere.Com. The results were announced on March 17, 2019. Winners not only took home attractive prizes, they also received the opportunity to meet actress Freida Pinto at the film’s premiere. We also organised a press conference and one-on-one interviews with the actress during the film’s premiere which got us additional mileage.
The client was very happy with the results delivered. The campaign not only garnered plenty of publicity across media, it had many long reaching benefits. It clearly communicated that to protect wild life and environment, clean and green energy is one of the best solutions as it helps lower carbon emissions and reducing carbon footprints. It also became a wonderful platform for budding wildlife photographers to showcase their photography skills and knowledge.
As technology and progress move forward and life becomes faster, many of the old traditions are being lost. The Dr.MGR-Janaki College of Arts & Science for Women wanted to revive and keep alive the spirit of Pongal, the traditional Tamil Harvest Festival. Their goal was to bring the cultural and traditional values of native celebration to the younger generation. We were tasked with this and in handling the Pongal Vizha celebrations held at the college. This included the ideating, planning, executing and promoting the entire event.
How we did it!
Students from the city barely have any exposure to what village life with a backbone of agriculture is all about. We decided to initiate them into the real feel of a Pongal Vizha, authenticity we realised was the key.
Pongal is all about thanksgiving for harvest to the Gods, the Sun, the cows and other aspects that make up rural life. It’s celebrated with much fanfare in villages with pots of overflowing Pongal, sugar cane, rural markets and more. We decided we would recreate this atmosphere. We planned it a little ahead of Pongal so that we would get good coverage on Pongal day.
Participation of students was integral to the success of this event. From Pooja rituals to Rangolis, students were divided into groups and assigned responsibilities. The place was decorated beautifully in true, Tamil village style.
The traditional Pongal celebration by boiling rice and letting it overflow was just one part of the celebrations. The grander one was the ambience of a rural market place that was recreated right down to the bangle sellers with colourful bangles, eateries serving a variety of traditional food, cotton candy vendors, porridge vendors, coconut sellers and more. The mehendi designers adorned hands with beautiful mehendi designs adding to the festive feel. The parrot fortune-telling added an authentic touch and lot of fun. The merry-go-round was much loved. There were village settings and traditional entertainment with colourful folk dances, bullock-cart rides and more. These created exciting photo opportunities for the media and the shutterbugs had a great time clicking pictures.
The students came dressed in traditional finery to fit the rural milieu. They enjoyed themselves thoroughly as they immersed themselves in the atmosphere.
Where we think we really succeeded is that it was not just another event, we helped capture the spirit of Pongal celebration and also brought out the hidden talents of students with folk art performances, creation of rural markets, village settings, team work and togetherness, etc. We had created an experience they would not forget. It was painstakingly planned and executed taking care of even small details.
The results were sheer delight both for our client and us. Nearly 4000 students took part in the celebration. There was substantial reach among younger generation through various channels and media coverage. The immense photo opportunities also helped us gain a lot of coverage on Pongal Day. We were happy to have played a role in the revival of gradually disappearing festivity that is unique to Tamil people and culture.
The Pongal Vizha brought alive the rural flavour and fervour of how the festival has been traditionally celebrated. We received coverage in over 10 TV channels, 20 web TV channels and 20 publications. The event is now celebrated every year by them and PR is being done by us.
The reputed Dr. MGR-Janaki College of Arts & Science for Women wanted to commemorate the MGR Birth Centenary Celebration in a very special way. They wanted to make the event a rich tribute to the legendary star and Former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, Dr.MG Ramachandran and also reach the youth.
At Catalyst PR, we were tasked with reaching millennials with the rich values and virtues of Dr.MGR. He was someone they had only seen in textbooks or in movies unlike the previous generation who were used to watching his news clips or attended his meetings and talks on a regular basis. We decided that we wanted to create an interactive event with plenty of activity that would revolve around the life of the exemplary leader. We wanted to make this something that would not only stand apart but also recreate the magic of MGR. It was indeed a big challenge!
How we did it!
We brainstormed and came up with a mega event that would bring out the life, times and values embodied by Dr.MGR in an interesting way. We handled the entire planning execution and PR for the event. We created a series of contests themed around the life of Dr.MGR. School and college students in 4 districts of Tamil Nadu – Chennai, Tiruvallur, Chengalpattu and Kanchipuram were invited to be part of this. The event featured Oratorical, Essay, Poetry, Dumb Charades, Painting and Rangoli contests.
The contests were categorised by 3 levels, Junior (Classes: 6-8), Senior (Classes: 9-12), and College (UG and PG students) levels. The Dumb Charades, Rangoli and Poetry events were kept open only to Senior and College levels.
We were clear from the outset that we did not want to conduct just another usual competition about a leader’s social life. Instead, we opted for lyrics from his film songs that speak on the moral and ethical way of living. This spiced things up and made it more interesting for participants. It broke the monotony of academics for them as well.
The event attracted participation from over 1500 students. Besides this, there was a great deal of reach amongst students who were part of the audience and also shared photos and videos. The event encouraged the competitive spirit amongst students and sustained their interest. They had an opportunity to speak about the leader and received their learning on values and virtues as a take away.
What made this attractive for the media was not only the large number of footfalls but also the photo opportunities that this threw up in plenty. The strategy that we had adopted paid rich dividends.
This had been covered by the media and this included leading newspapers such as The Times of India. Our client was immensely happy with the response from students and the massive reach through the media. Our media partner was Makkal TV who telecasted the programme on 17th Jan – MGR’s Birthday. It is now celebrated every year by them and PR is being done by us.
Initiating College Students Into Tradition
Aadi Perukku is a monsoon festival, celebrated by Tamils on the 18th day of the Tamil month of Aadi (mid-July to mid-August). This ancient and beautiful festival is rich in rituals and tradition that pays tribute to water’s life-sustaining properties. Dr.MGR-Janaki College of Arts & Science for Women, Chennai came to us with the assignment of reaching out to the younger generation with the traditional values of this native celebration.
How we did it!
We understand the mind-set of vibrant, intelligent youngsters of today. Lectures on the subject would not work. We conceived the event in a different way, planned and executed it to perfection. We also generated plenty of publicity and photo opportunities which the media simply loved and we received good coverage.
We decided to recreate the experience with all its traditional magic. We transformed the college premises into a space filled with rustic charm. A beautiful rural market set-up was created and this triggered the imagination of students. Here, we placed the various elements of a traditional milieu bangle sellers, tender coconut sellers, parrot fortune-telling, cotton candy vendors, porridge vendors, etc. A special pond was set up for the Aadi Perukku rituals and for floating traditional clay lamps
Students were divided into groups for various activities and we had an overwhelming response of nearly 4000 students. They enjoyed being part of the celebrations and it was a whole new experience for them.
Students not only learnt and immersed themselves in this rich tradition and indigenous celebrations, they also got to showcase their hidden skills. This included folk arts performances, designing creation of rural markets, team work and togetherness, etc. We were proud to be part of this initiative that is the revival of gradually disappearing festivity that is unique to Tamil people and culture.
This event was well-showcased by the media. Since the whole event was so colourful, it became the subject of many photo opportunities. There was a lot of excitement and interest generated in the media due to the beautiful theme and innovative activities.
The unprecedented pandemic turned the world upside down. Modes of communication and reaching out to the media also were completely transformed. At Catalyst PR, we were tasked with creating awareness about the Symphonic Music Album, titled ‘Spirit of Humanity’, by Chennai-based Composer Ganesh B. Kumar which was to be launched worldwide. Such a launch of a Symphonic Poem is a unique and first of its kind concept in India.
What is the Symphonic Music Album?
The Symphonic Music Album is a new and unique effort and we launched the Symphonic poem, a version of symphony. Titled ‘Spirit of Humanity’, this carried the message of spreading peace and harmony.
How we did it!
Our first challenge was familiarizing the media with this first of its kind and unique concept in India. Secondly, we had to identify how to pitch this whether as western music beat / Entertainment beat or Tamil Literature beat and it was a big challenge for us to identify the right media person. As the event was in the initial period of pandemic, there was no possibility for any launch function. And since this was an international event, there was no postponing too. We realized that pandemic times called for a change in strategy. Under normal conditions, the launch would have been a glittering event with celebrities. The pandemic dampened spirits but it did not stop us from coming up with an innovative solution that an online press conference would work well. Though this was a new concept during the initial period of the pandemic, the client was open to trying it. We felt that seeking felicitations from the Hon’ble Finance Minister, Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman would help. Initially, client did not get any feedback from the Honorable Finance Minister Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman’s office but after seeing the wide press coverage that the event received, she sent her Best Wishes and this created a huge impact. We are happy and proud that we secured wide appreciation of the strategy used for the launch during the pandemic. The media loved it and the event was covered in almost all publications. It also received coverage in the global media and garnered around 94online coverage too. Above all, it had great reach amongst music lovers across the world.
- Nowadays the interest in Tamil has been going down, mostly everyone prefers English medium over Tamil medium, thus kids lose interest in Tamil. So, our main challenge was making them (schools & colleges) learn Tamil and understand its importance through competitions.
- We set up 10 major centres in 10 major cities so that the surrounding places all over Tamilnadu can be covered with those centres. We also made sure those centres were located near bus-stands and railway stations for easy access.
- Out of 20,000 institutions in Tamil Nadu, we were able to connect to around 10,000 through direct mail with the help of the available database. Communicating to the remaining was a challenge and towards this we used press releases, scrolls in our media partner TV, and reached out schools & colleges across regions from regional branches of the client.
- Media-nisation was our strategy for extensive outreach. We used engaging SMS contests on Thirukural to grab the attention of people for viewing the programme.
- Only 4 hours of time was allotted for each of the preliminary and semi-final rounds held respectively in the morning and evening sessions on the same day and under four categories, namely, Junior, Senior, Super-senior and College. The challenge was to choose outstanding 4 candidates (one under each category) out of a total of around 300 for finals. This we achieved through dividing students into groups under each category and screening the best one out of these groups under each category.
- For effective selection and choosing the right talent we stepped up the jury panel at each levels – i.e., single judge for preliminary round, two member jury for semi-finals and three member jury for finals.
CLARITY OF GOALS
- The Thirukkural competition as a CSR activity for enhancing awareness on the teachings of Thirukkural among the student community in the state.
- Our goal for SRIRAM ILLAKIYA KALAZHAGAM was to refresh the young minds (School & college students) for a better understanding on the richness of values the Tamil language treasures.
- To incite the growing generation’s interest for Tamil Language and encourage the articulation talent.
CLARITY OF INSIGHTS and CREATIVITY
- We followed a systemised and organised form of work in our company.
- We set Proper Pronunciation, Creativity of the Content, and Presentation of Speech as the criteria for judging winners.
- Equality – Only 14 students from each institution / school was selected to ensure non repetition of winnings by a particular school.
- Attracting students with easy topics and awarding one month time prior to the event for preparation.
- Divisions – the contestants were divided into senior, junior, super senior, and college.
- A4 posters for promotion, creative LOGO, badges, application form with clear details on participation, and certificates for winners and participation certificates to cheer the participants.
- Each round was judged by well qualified judges and the final round was judged by single judge for first round, two judges for the semi-final round and three different judges for the final round.
- Exhausting all possible mode of publicity – event management, posters, direct mailers, SMS, TV scrolls, Door-to-Door campaign, Press Releases dissemination, Photo Opportunity Sessions and Telecast of competition in TV – for extensive reach.
ALIGNMENT BETWEEN STRATEGY AND EXECUTION
- Media-nisation – We used engaging SMS contests, scrolls and telecast of completion in Makkal TV for wide ranging awareness.
- Choosing centres strategically to cover important cities and surrounding areas across the state.
- Used all possible mode of publicity – event management, posters, direct mailers, SMS, TV scrolls, Door-to-Door campaign, Press Releases dissemination, Photo Opportunity Sessions and Telecast of competition in TV – for bigger reach.
- Efforts put in for an extensive database of educational institutions of the state for wider participation.
- Thirukkural Compettion 2016 witnessed participation of as many as 1918 students from across the 10 centres.
- Jury panel was fortified with eminent judges including Tamil Film Director Badri, Tamil Film Lyricist Kavignar Snehan, Tamil Writers Soma Valliappan and Tiruppur Krishnan.
Across curtain raiser, pre-event releases, post-event releases and publicity for telecast of the programme in TV, we got over 200 coverages in Tamil and English publications amounting to around 4,000 sq cm publicity space across regional editions of the state.
The English mainlines include: The Hindu, The Times of India, The New Indian Express, and Deccan Chronicle while the Tamil publications include Dinamani, Dinamalar, Maalai Malar and Dinakaran.
Our strong PR presence, good media rapport, 15-year long experience in continuous awareness on Thirukkural help us achieve big.
Since 1995, Chennai-based Bhagwan Mahaveer Foundation has been giving away the Mahaveer Awards to outstanding individuals and organisations. The concept was to recognise their excellence in propagation of `Non-violence & Vegetarianism’, `Education’, `Medicine’ and `Community & Social Service’. Recently, the 19th edition of this was held.
The Foundation has so far identified, recognised and honoured over 60 individuals and institutions doing selfless service for the welfare of the needy, the weak and the voiceless.
The Foundation was happy with the work, yet wanted to reach out even further. Their goal was to reach out to individuals across India and secure nominations. However, this was not happening despite their best efforts. It’s then that they approached Catalyst PR. We analysed their target group and came up with a Pan-Indian strategy.
We understood that there was a lack of awareness. We needed to whip up the enthusiasm of participants far and wide.
The PR campaign was run in select newspapers across the length and breadth of the country. The result was that nominations poured in from all quarters, from Punjab to the North East to South India. This provided greater choice.
The Mahaveer Awards also gained a lot of eyeballs and many who were unaware of it, had the opportunity to hear about their ideals.
Today, the media is flooded with news from various sources and grabbing their attention is a mammoth task. Therefore, when it comes to publicising an event or brand, having a celebrity on board makes the reach quicker and greater. This is the reason that many like to take the celebrity route to grab eyeballs. Besides this, having a celebrity on board lends an aura of credibility and builds trust instantly.
For our recent assignment Village Ticket, we decided to take the celebrity route too and roped in a prominent actor. He had confirmed his presence but let us down in the last minute. Some like to keep a clutch of celebrities as Plan B, but here we did not have one. How did we manage?
What is Village Ticket?
Village Ticket – Uzhavar Unnum Unavu was a large event that took place at the MGR Janaki College for women. The aim was to connect city residents with their village roots and also understand what farming was about. The event had over 300+ traditional TN recipes ranging from Kal Dosai to Arcot Chicken Biriyani and Hogenakkal Fish Curry. Visitors enjoyed simple village joys such as riding a bullock cart, playing traditional games like Kabaddi, Gilli etc. There were also plenty of village folk arts such as Oyilattam, Kavadi Attam and so on. This four day fest attracted hundreds of enthusiastic people who sampled the true traditions of rural Tamilnadu.
How we did it!
The celebrity dropping out dampened our spirits a bit but we decided not to let it drag us down. Our Plan B was to steer away from a boring press meet where there would be just formal addresses. We decide to recreate the entire atmosphere of the village at the press launch. The media who came to the launch were surprised to suddenly get transported into the rural atmosphere.
The themed launch started right from the backdrop where traditional kolams were used to decorate it. Folk artists gave dazzling performances right at the press meet. This gave the shutterbugs plenty to click, from the colourful costumes to the vibrant moves, they knew that this would make the pages and TV screens get a lively look. They were also served traditional village food.
The coverage that we received was phenomenal, from top dailies like the Hindu, Dinamalar, DT Next, Deccan Chronicle, Dinamani, Eenadu and more.
What we wanted to underline is that when you make your press launch an attractive event, even without a celebrity. the magnitude of reach is much more.
Start-ups are the name of the game today! Even 20-somethings are no longer in search of their perfect job, they are keen to turn entrepreneurs. They have brilliant ideas but transforming these ideas into big businesses needs good PR.
With the financial landscape of India changing and people being more open to innovation and new brands, this is the right time for start-ups to take the plunge. PR not only generates publicity for the brand but also push sales and attracts new employees and investors.
Whenever a new business is started, there’s always a burst of enthusiasm and a rush to get the brand publicised. Brand awareness is important but it’s important to use every penny wisely. Did you know that a good PR campaign can get a brand up to ten times more publicity than an ad campaign with a fraction of the spend? It’s true.
PR is a great way to get the word out about the brand. A well-crafted PR campaign can be very effective in getting the message across and reaching a wide cross-section of the target. PR can also be evoked to create a buzz about the brand and make it a talking point.
Advertising is about directly promoting your brand whereas PR is a subtle way to persuade. It creates a channel of communication, instead of merely aggressively pushing the product. It gives the buyers, the target, and relevant information and facilitates the buying decision. It’s also about creating a sustained flow of information that may directly or indirectly impact a brand.
For instance, entrepreneur, Anand Vaidyanathan who is an expert at baking and conducts baking workshops approached Catalyst PR for publicity. His workshops are mostly targeted at mothers who want to bake healthy cakes and treats for their kids at home. The article on the joy of home baking and his workshops was strategically published in Kungumam Thozhi. His business grew in leaps and bounds.
Cura Dental Care, a not for profit dental care institution wanted to publicise their services. This was a human interest story that got picked up by the media. The Hindu Downtown published a piece on this. Such information creates interest in the brand. Where advertising lacks credibility, PR makes up by being a third party endorsement of a brand.
A good PR campaign generates a positive brand image. It helps investors see the potential of the brand and encourage investment. A well-targeted PR campaign can have a great reach amongst them.
Catalyst PR is a specialist in crafting PR campaigns for a wide range of diverse clients ranging from start-ups to large corporate houses. The team consists of specialists who share a strong rapport with the media. They draft press releases that have laser like focus and communicate powerfully. The PR campaign would be the first impression about the brand and multiple factors such as the market trends, TG, potential and so on are analysed before creating one.
Catalyst PR has successfully moulded PR strategies for start-ups and put them right on track. Its expertise can help any start-up put down its roots in the industry and grow.
Shriram Chits is well-known as a financial institution. But for nearly three decades it does a commendable job of reaching out to youth with moral and ethical values of life and as part of its CSR. Through its literary wing Shriram Ilakkiya Kazhagam every year Thirukkural Elocution & Drawing Contest is being organised at state-level. Let us see how the wide-spread awareness, witnessing participation of around 3000 students from different corners of the state, is made possible through PR…..
Partnering with Shriram Ilakkiya Kazhagam (SIK)
We took over the PR mantle whenSIK’s awareness venture was at its budding stage. Our strong PR presence and good media rapport helped us fetch it a bigger reach and participation.
Our modus operandi
We use direct mailers to connect to several hundreds out of 20,000 and growing institutions in Tamil Nadu and whose databases are available. Every year, we keep scrutinizing the information collected for a database that is up-to-date and relevant.
To communicate to the remaining, we use press releases, scrolls in our media partner TV channel, and reach out to schools & colleges across regions from regional branches of our client.
Creation of A4 posters for promotion, door-to-door campaign, creative LOGO, badges, detailed application form, and certificates for winners are our other strategies used for publicising and encouraging participation.
On the event management side, we set up 10 major centres in 10 major cities of Tamil Nadu so that their surrounding places also have an access to participation and thus facilitating the event to attain its state-level extent.
Student participation is facilitated across categories – Junior, Senior, and College. They are subjected to preliminary and semi-final rounds and eventually the finalists from the semi-final rounds of each of the 10 centres and across the three categories contest in the grand finale.
Celebrity Coordination, Creating Photo Opportunities and Production Work for TV Telecast are the other activities we manage to value add and help the programme achieve desired success in its entirety and up to the client satisfaction.
Every year we see overwhelming participation that stands testimony to the PR outreach. Not only the participation gets state-wide level, the coverages of the contests from different centres contribute to the magnitude of the reach. Eventually, succeeding in creating wide-spread awareness on the advocacies of Thirukkural and reaching the goal of enriching young minds with morals the great Tamil literary work has presented us with.