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Interview

“Entertainment is a 24*7 job, either you can be intimidated by it or you can embrace it”: Radhika Nihalani

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Covid Pandemic didn’t spare a single industry or a sector with its draconian impact in general, the entertainment industry to be specific, bore the maximum brunt and unlike many other sectors that are coming back to normal with every passing day by degrees, the entertainment sector is still striving hard to recover and overcome the challenges posed due to the pandemic situation. Having said that, the role of a brand consultant or a communication strategist has always remained crucial yet significant to drive growth opportunities for a sector or a brand by creating a lasting buzz. In the current context entertainment sector is in dire need of a major yet innovative brand push and an impactful revival strategy, that is tailored to their preferences.
Radhika Nihalani, CEO and the brain behind Think Ink Communications, with her extensive experience in the world of entertainment and pristine credentials, is roping in innovating revival strategies for her clients. Even though the atmosphere has remained melancholic but Radhika is making an endeavor to keep the pecker up, “This virus has really given us all a sense of loneliness. it’s important that we don’t lose our sense of belonging to each other and our company in these bizarre virtual times. Not just for work, but generally as well and we make a conscious effort for that. I have also relied on humor as a strong medium to keep spirits up and we use it wholeheartedly.. it makes the toughest times seem a tad bit more bearable”, says Radhika. As she is working diligently in her sphere of work, we tried to know from her the plan of action in the time of crisis, challenges, and her trajectory in the entertainment industry. 
Q.  Being the face behind one of India’s Entertainment PR agencies,  what had been the motive behind Think Ink Communications?
Think Ink Communications was started for two reasons, one to fulfill the long-standing dream of doing something of my ‘own’ and second and more importantly I felt there was a need for an entertainment agency that is all-encompassing – that not just looks at films and celebrity but everything that falls under the purview of entertainment i.e television channels, production houses, OTT platforms, streaming platforms and more.

Q.  Moving ahead strongly in your entrepreneurial journey, how will you define woman empowerment?

Empowerment to me is the ability to make choices for oneself, regardless of gender. An empowered woman, or person rather, is one who lives by this belief. One who knows that they can achieve whatever they want, and there is nothing that can hold them back – definitely not their gender.Personally, I don’t like to view anything from a man’s or woman’s lens.Q. How would you define and differentiate between handling the PR for an actor and a Channel or an OTT platform?
While each of them has a journey of their own, the common factor to me is the approach taken. For each of them, the objective would be to define a positioning – a space that’s unique to them. PR to us is not about showing coverage, it’s about showing value.
We work in a way that we define a collective goal (positioning) for our partnering brands/talent.. and devise communication strategies that help achieve that goal.

Q. What challenges were faced during the initial stages of establishing Think Ink Communications?

The biggest challenge we faced what I like to call the “grey hair syndrome”. I was all of 32 when I started Think Ink and my team was much younger than me .. and while for us our youth was our USP, many didn’t happen to see it that way. There were always raised eyebrows when I walked into a room and introduced myself as the owner of the company, many often told me that we love your work but we would like to give the business to someone with more “depth in management”, so on and so forth.
We didn’t let that stop us, till today the average age at the company is 26-27 and I continue to believe that our biggest differentiator.
Q. Starting your journey with a firm to creating your own firm, what has kept you going?
When I started work, honestly I had no real dream of becoming the CEO of a company or run a company with a certain turnover. Basically, I had set no milestones for myself like many do.. but there was one thing I was certain of, whatever I may do.. I will ace it and be the best there is in that job. This thought process has kept me going till date – I set high standards for myself and I am totally driven to achieve them every single day.
Q. Share some advice from your experience to the upcoming students of PR, Media, and communication?
Few things I’d like to say
1. No job is big or small. There is learning in everything. EVERYTHING
2. Entertainment is a 24*7 job.. either you can be intimidated by it or you can embrace it. Once you embrace it – you’ll never want to do anything else!
3. Stay curious – ask questions, there is no greater way to learn.Q. How did the idea of Think Talkies came into being?
Think Ink while primarily focused on entertainment brands, was getting a fair number of work specifically from celebrities and films, which is when we decided to launch a vertical dedicated to that. Here lay the genesis of Think Talkies, a division of Think Ink focused solely on films and personality PR.

Q.  What would you like to suggest to someone new whose starting fresh in the business world as an entrepreneur with no financial backing and contacts to go ahead?
I would say just go ahead! You don’t necessarily need a lot of capital or contacts – I had none when I started! In fact I would say that when you are starting out it’s important that you don’t overspend, you keep yourself on a tight budget and see the course the business takes. What’s important is that you give your 100% to what you do, that’s non-negotiable.. do good work, rather do great work – money and contacts will follow!

Q. What do you do to boost the morale of your team in this WFH environment?
This virus has really given us all a sense of loneliness. It’s important that we don’t lose our sense of belonging to each other and our company in these bizarre virtual times. It’s come more important than ever to stay connected! Not just for work, but generally as well.. and we make a conscious effort for that. I have also relied on humour as a strong medium to keep spirits up.. and we use it wholeheartedly.. it makes the toughest times seem a tad bit more bearable.

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Vijay is an entropic traveller who keeps himself abreast with the developments in every nook and cranny of the world. He is a treasure trove of information about unexplored destinations and happenings in various parts of the world. He is connoisseur of fashion and trends and keeps a tab on practically all the leading designers and fashion houses of the world. Styling for fashion shoots and magazines remains his forte. He has vast experience in fashion shoots and events and exceptional grasp over the language and has written extensively on fashion, travel and style trends etc. He makes an immensely valuable contribution to HOP.
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