In today’s globalized and interconnected world, effective communication makes all the difference between success and failure, no matter how good your products and services are.
Umashankar Iyer, our next pathbreaker, Marketing and Corporate Communication professional at Transasia Biomedicals Ltd, takes care of external events, product launch videos, corporate films, event management and the overall communication portfolio.
Umashankar talks to Shyam Krishnamurthy from The Interview Portal about realizing the importance of Corporate Communications in sharing the intended message, be it internal or external communication, to your targeted audience or masses.
For students, as technology brings organizations closer to their target audiences, be the voice of your organization and help them stand apart from intense competition.
Umashankar, please tell us about your initial years?
I grew up in the city of Mumbai. My parents always encouraged me to pursue education of my choice. It is their support, motivation & inspiration which allowed me to explore the possibilities in my career. I had passion for science, so I decided to pursue my education in that stream.
What did you do for graduation / post-graduation?
I did my graduation in BSc Life Sciences (which is a combination Microbiology, Developmental Biology, Neurobiology, Environmental Science & applied component as Fermentation Technology). I further did my post-graduation in management from Welingkar institute of management, Mumbai.
What made you choose such an offbeat, unconventional and cool career?
I realized that in any profession, communication plays an important role, which helps to share the intended message, be it internal or external communication, to your targeted audience or masses. With interest and passion for learning, I chose a career in Corporate Communications which is a very niche and specialized area. You can make your choice in Public Relation, Content Writing, Brand Management, Marketing etc.
How did you plan the steps to get into the career you wanted? Or how did you make a transition to a new career? Tell us about your career path
After finishing my graduation, I decided to work & gain experience which helped me make informed decisions about my career. I initially started my career with a start-up (an advertising consultancy), meeting new clients and understanding the objective behind the assignment. This experience developed my interest in communication & prompted me to look out for more avenues. Then I got an opportunity to work in the healthcare sector in Corporate Communication & Public Relations. I had the advantage of working along with the Marketing and Brand Management teams. Since I had a science background, it helped me grasp things easier & learn faster in a corporate environment, which boosted my self-confidence. I was eager to learn new things, enhance my overall skills & expand my horizons to get a broader perspective in terms of the different aspects of communication.
While on the job, I decided to pursue my post-graduation in management & enrolled myself in a well-recognized institute for a one year intensive program. I managed to complete the course along with my job. There were many challenges that improved my ability to multitask across & juggle with multiple projects. It gave me an opportunity to understand how Communication can add value in any given field, and how Public Relations & Journalism work. I could see how Mass Communication on the whole uplifts a business. This propelled me to look out for opportunities in the digital medium as well. It helped me to understand how digital marketing could add more value in terms of enhancing career progression as well as different aspects of growing a business. Eventually i took different projects on the job through which marketing, brand communication was done using digital tools like Facebook, Youtube, Linkedin, Instagram etc.
How did you get your first break?
I managed to get an opportunity in the healthcare sector, and joined a well-known chain of laboratories, “Metropolis Healthcare Ltd”, and managed their communication portfolio i.e. internal & external (public relation) communication, events, liaising with creative, PR, digital and website management agencies. Be it in terms of releasing an article in media or creating marketing collaterals, crisis management etc.
I did some research & applied for the position through Linkedin and other job portals. When I was working in the advertising consultancy, on a regular basis, I would interact with clients, especially the marketing & corporate communications teams. This made me understand that Marketing and Corporate Communications departments work hand in hand.
What were the challenges? How did you address them?
It all depends upon one’s interest and attitude to take things in a positive manner. Although I didn’t have a background in PR & journalism, I had passion for communication & writing, so I started from scratch & put in a lot of efforts in terms of writing a press release or press note, briefing the creative agency, because what ultimately matters is the content & how it has been communicated. This will give overall shape to the end result.
Where do you work now?
Currently I’m working with Transasia Biomedicals Ltd, as Marketing and Corporate communication professional; here my profile is slightly different. It is one of the leading manufacturers of laboratory equipment & has a global footprint. My job involves taking care of their external events, be it conference, sponsorship, developing App, digital marketing, product launch videos, corporate films, event management, communication portfolio. This involves lots of follow ups, collating data & analysing the outcome, strategizing for overall improvement, driving an overall results driven approach.
How does your work benefit society?
Communication helps in delivering the right message to targeted audiences through different mediums i.e. print, digital, advertising, integrated marketing media. This creates positive brand image and awareness, and at the same time achieving the desired objective. This drives growth, increasing the overall performance of the company; be it sales, production, marketing, brand value which sets a benchmark for taking informed actions.
Tell us an example of a specific memorable work you did that is very close to you!
I had an opportunity to handle an international project, where we had to make an announcement that the company is expanding its presence globally. The major challenge was to spread awareness. So we had to short list & liaise with multiple agencies & present results to management. This had to be executed at lightning speed, since we had a short deadline. We chose a balanced approach of going with print media, a CSR activity & digital media which helped to communicate a subtle but effective message. This helped me study & acquaint myself with global media, the policies, rules and regulation and its functions. These tactics pave the way to navigate the media landscape seamlessly, which helps companies to launch their international office with a bang.
Your advice to students based on your experience?
Be it any profession, it requires a focused approach and a willingness to learn. There is a lot of scope & things are shifting towards digital media. It is always better to hone your skills and look out for one aspect that interests you so you can implement your career plan with an action. My suggestion to all the passionate youngsters is that be sincere and honest towards your passion, this will help you to reach your set goals.
I will be focusing on brand management and digital media; because it’s an ocean, there are a lot of things to learn.