Team Wizikey

Written by Team Wizikey

May 18, 2023

“In healthcare communication, the focus shifts from creativity to seriousness of the matter for the public, supported by facts and data.”-Himanshu Raj from Pristyn Care

In this episode, we talk to Himanshu Raj, a seasoned PR & communications expert with over 14 years of experience. As the driving force behind Pristyn Care’s communication strategies, Himanshu educates and empowers the public to make informed decisions about healthcare through his strategies. Introduction 0:44 Himanshu shares his unexpected journey into the field of […]

“In healthcare communication, the focus shifts from creativity to seriousness of the matter for the public, supported by facts and data.”-Himanshu Raj from Pristyn Care

In this episode, we talk to Himanshu Raj, a seasoned PR & communications expert with over 14 years of experience. As the driving force behind Pristyn Care’s communication strategies, Himanshu educates and empowers the public to make informed decisions about healthcare through his strategies.

Introduction

0:44 Himanshu shares his unexpected journey into the field of public relations (PR). Initially pursuing a degree in journalism, Himanshu had aspirations of entering the advertising industry. However, when he faced difficulties securing an advertising internship, a friend’s suggestion led him to explore PR instead. With the help of his friend’s connection, he landed a job as a management trainee at a PR agency.

Starting in 2006, Himanshu entered the world of PR with little knowledge about the field. On his first day, he made the mistake of wearing a kurta and jeans, thinking it was similar to advertising. However, he quickly learned the importance of presenting oneself professionally in PR and adjusted his attire accordingly. During the early stages of his career, he experienced the manual process of sending press releases through fax machines. For a week, Himanshu diligently sent faxes with carefully written press releases to journalists across the country.

Tracking media coverage was a significant part of his responsibilities, as there were no tracking agencies at that time. He had to arrive at the office early and meticulously monitor his clients’ appearances in the media. This involved reading newspapers, cutting out relevant coverage, pasting the clippings onto sheets, scanning them, and then sharing the information via email or fax. Ensuring timely and accurate tracking was crucial, including direct coverage of his clients, competition coverage, and industry news.

Himanshu vividly recalls the laborious process of managing media coverage during the early days of his PR career. The hands-on approach required attention to detail and a commitment to staying updated with the latest news and mentions in the media. Today, as a speaker, he reflects on his accidental entry into PR and the valuable experiences gained throughout his journey.

Favourite Campaign

4:17 In 2012 and 2013, Himanshu had the opportunity to handle the Nike account for the MSL Group, which was a significant achievement for him. Himanshu played a significant role in launching a ground-breaking campaign for Nike, coinciding with Sahara and Nike’s collaboration as the official Indian Jersey sponsor. The campaign marked the introduction of the new Nike jersey for the Indian cricket team, and its debut took place in Rajkot during the 2013 series against Australia. This event became a milestone in Himanshu’s career as it involved organizing his most prominent press conference to date. The magnitude of the occasion was evident from the overwhelming participation of over 300 journalists from around the world, including Australian and British media representatives. At that time, the influencer marketing concept had yet to gain prominence. Instead, the focus was on engaging bloggers who specialized in fashion and sports. Himanshu recalls the emergence of influential platforms such as gold.com and SportsKeeda. These bloggers were among the attendees covering the Nike campaign, making it one of the most remarkable initiatives of his early career.

Switching gears, he elaborated on a recent campaign that had a substantial impact from a business and PR perspective. Last year, on World IVF Day, Himanshu and his team undertook a comprehensive study on Index IVF, a relatively new concept in the Indian market. The objective was to gauge the market’s performance and understand the experiences of individuals who had undergone or considered IVF treatments.

The study, encompassing approximately 1,000 to 1,500 patients familiar with IVF, yielded valuable insights. Himanshu’s team released a report titled “The Great Indian IVF Survey,” accompanied by a well-executed social media campaign. The data revealed intriguing findings, including the influential role of women in making decisions regarding IVF treatment and the surprising acceptance of IVF among individuals in tier two towns. The impact of the campaign on the brand was substantial. Brand searches for Pristyn Care, the organization behind the campaign, skyrocketed in the days following the release of the report. This surge indicated a direct positive impact on the brand’s visibility and generated interest among individuals seeking IVF-related information. Additionally, a significant portion of those who read the report made inquiries through the provided toll-free number, highlighting the campaign’s efficacy in driving engagement and potential leads.

Overall, this campaign stood out as one of the most captivating endeavors executed by Himanshu and his team in recent times, combining both business success and PR impact.

Roles & responsibilities at current organisation

9:41 Himanshu shares insights into the company’s operations and his role within it. According to Himanshu, Pristyn Care stands as one of the country’s prominent healthcare providers, specializing primarily in secondary care. In this capacity, the organization focuses on elective surgeries that are carefully planned in advance rather than emergency procedures.

Himanshu explains that secondary care encompasses surgeries that are not immediate life-or-death situations but rather preventive measures to address potential health complications. By opting for these surgeries, individuals can proactively manage their conditions and reduce the risk of more complex issues arising later in life. Pristyn Care offers a diverse range of elective surgeries, including treatments for hernias, kidney stones, piles, circumcision, gallbladder stones, hair transplantation, and other planned surgical interventions. Additionally, dental surgeries and procedures requiring a surgical approach are also provided.

Within the company, Himanshu’s role primarily revolves around reputation and policy communications. While public relations (PR) is a significant aspect of his responsibilities, it is not the sole focus. He also oversees internal communication, external engagement, event management, and policy communications. The latter involves supporting the government relations (GR) team in their direct engagement with stakeholders and regulatory bodies. His efforts entail crafting and delivering targeted policy-related messages to these stakeholders and regulators to ensure effective communication and engagement within the healthcare domain.

Navigating Communication Challenges in Healthcare through educational content

11:24 On the subject of patient education and awareness, Himanshu highlights two distinct fronts that Pristyn Care operates on. Firstly, the company focuses on creating educational content directly for patients, aiming to reach them with relevant information about various diseases and conditions across different medical specialties. This includes areas such as proctology, gynecology, urology, vascular health, orthopedics, and ophthalmology.

The second front involves using media channels to educate both journalists and the general public. Pristyn Care leverages social media platforms to disseminate educational content, ensuring that it reaches a wider audience. Additionally, the company capitalizes on specific health-related observance days, such as World Health Day, World Labor Day, World Kidney Day, and World Sight Day, among others, to deliver educational content. During these events, doctors feature prominently, sharing valuable insights about different diseases and conditions. They may discuss topics like cataracts, LASIK eye surgery, urological stone formations, and proctology-related issues such as piles and fissures. To further enhance awareness, they share articles and content with the media, providing in-depth information about specific diseases and conditions. Through this approach, the company strives to ensure that the public has access to valuable resources and can better understand the nature of these health issues. By increasing awareness and knowledge, individuals are empowered to take appropriate measures for disease prevention and management.

Campaigns for Data-driven Messaging

13:04 Himanshu emphasizes the importance of maintaining a serious tone when it comes to healthcare communication. In this field, creativity takes a backseat as the focus shifts to conveying the gravity of the matter at hand. Providing patients with ample data and facts becomes crucial in helping them comprehend the seriousness of their conditions.

He mentions the use of educational content targeted directly at patients to increase their understanding of different diseases. This content covers a wide range of medical specialties, including proctology, gynecology, urology, vascular health, orthopedics, and ophthalmology. Through social media channels, patients are educated about these diseases and their associated conditions.

Another aspect of healthcare communication highlighted by Himanshu is the use of media to educate both journalists and the general public. The company leverages health-related awareness days, such as World Health Day, World Labor Day, World Kidney Day, and World Sight Day, to disseminate educational content featuring doctors discussing specific diseases and conditions. By collaborating with the media, the goal is to raise awareness and improve public knowledge about these health issues.

Studies are conducted to understand the Indian patient’s mindset and perceptions regarding different diseases. This helps identify gaps in knowledge and misconceptions that exist within the population. For example, a study on piles revealed the prevalent social stigma associated with the condition in India. Lack of awareness and understanding about the causes and available treatments further exacerbate the problem.

To bridge the information gap, healthcare communications include content in multiple languages, such as Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Bengali, and other regional languages. By collaborating with local publications in tier two and tier three cities, the aim is to connect with the target audience and provide them with relevant healthcare information. Through these efforts, the goal is to raise awareness, dispel misconceptions, and encourage individuals to take appropriate preventive actions and seek timely medical care for their conditions.

First interaction with data

15:33 During his tenure at IBM, Himanshu led communications for the company’s three labs: IBM Research Labs, IBM Systems Technology Lab, and IBM Software Labs. IBM, known for its extensive patent portfolio, holds a significant number of patents worldwide. Himanshu highlights the importance of studies conducted by scientists at IBM Research Labs, which covered diverse topics such as cryptography, quantum computing, quantum algorithms, and Blockchain. Notably, Blockchain was a relatively unknown topic at the time, and Himanshu recalls reading one of the first published reports or white papers on it. The study predicted that Blockchain would become the next major currency and included substantial data to support its claims. This experience made him realize the potential of data-driven storytelling in public relations and media engagements. He recognized that incorporating data into narratives adds credibility and enhances the believability of stories.

Himanshu believes that in today’s PR landscape, having data to support claims and storylines is essential. Data serves as a validation tool and contributes to the overall credibility of the narrative. It has become increasingly important in PR, as stories without data may struggle to gain trust and acceptance from the audience.

Metrics to measure

17:15 Himanshu emphasizes the importance of following specific metrics in PR and communications. One crucial metric is sentiment tonality, which encompasses the sentiment towards the brand, the industry, and the competition. By analyzing sentiment, one can gauge how their brand is perceived in comparison to others in the industry. This metric provides valuable insights into the overall sentiment landscape.

Another significant metric he mentions is the category of publication. The regular presence of a brand in top-tier publications, known as Cat A publications, adds credibility and enhances the brand’s reputation. Being featured consistently in reputable publications contributes to establishing a positive perception of the brand.

He also introduces the concept of “share of headlines” as a metric. He distinguishes it from “share of voice” and considers the former to be more impactful. Share of headlines measures the number of times a brand is mentioned in headlines or subheadings of articles. This metric indicates the importance and relevance of the brand’s story, as being featured prominently in headlines implies a powerful and significant story.

In summary, Himanshu suggests tracking sentiment tonality, the category of publications featuring the brand, and the share of headlines as key metrics in evaluating the effectiveness and impact of PR and communications efforts.

Dream metric

19:26 Himanshu envisions two metrics that he considers as dream metrics for evaluating communications efforts. The first metric he refers to as the “influence score,” which bears resemblance to existing metrics like the News score or M score offered by platforms such as Wizikey and Meltwater, respectively. This dream metric would encompass various data sources, including social media engagement, website traffic, media mentions, brand sentiment, and more. By calculating the influence score, Himanshu believes that PR and comms professionals would gain insights into the impact and effectiveness of their campaigns, aiding in decision-making and identifying areas for improvement. It would serve as a comprehensive measure of the influence a brand wields and its ability to sway its target audience.

The second dream metric mentioned by him pertains to obtaining real-time readership data for published articles. Currently, this information is not readily provided by publications, and estimating readership numbers is the prevailing practice. Himanshu expresses his desire to have access to accurate and immediate readership data, allowing him to gauge the reach and impact of a story more precisely. This dream metric would provide a valuable tactical tool for assessing audience engagement and making data-driven decisions in PR.

In essence, these two dream metrics hold great significance for Himanshu. The influence score represents a strategic metric to assess overall campaign effectiveness and brand influence, while real-time readership data fulfills a practical need for precise audience measurement and evaluation of media coverage.

Evolution of PR and Communications

21:59 Himanshu emphasizes that PR is no longer solely focused on reaching out to the media and getting stories published. He envisions a future where PR transforms into a comprehensive reputation management function. He describes this transformation as an “umbrella of reputation” that encompasses various aspects, including media, social media, influencers, and internal stakeholders such as employees. The role of a communications professional would involve enhancing the overall reputation of the brand, and this can no longer be achieved solely through media stories.

Himanshu believes that improving a brand’s reputation requires a holistic approach. Simply generating positive media coverage is not sufficient if the brand’s overall reputation in the market is lacking. The reputation umbrella will encompass multiple elements, including PR, social media, community outreach, CSR policies, and internal communication. It will be a comprehensive strategy that goes beyond traditional media coverage.

In essence, Himanshu envisions PR evolving into a reputation-centric role where professionals work across various verticals to build and manage the reputation of the brand. This broader approach acknowledges the significance of internal and external stakeholders, social media platforms, community engagement, and CSR initiatives in shaping a brand’s reputation.

My two cents

23:24 Himanshu advises future communications professionals not to view PR as a mere coverage machinery. Instead, he emphasizes that PR will evolve into a reputation management umbrella, encompassing various aspects such as media, social media, community outreach, and CSR policies. He suggests that professionals in the field need to upskill themselves accordingly and expand their expertise beyond traditional media relations.

Furthermore, he highlights the importance of data in PR and communications. He believes that data is the most powerful tool in their arsenal when crafting storylines or conveying messages. Data adds credibility to the narrative and strengthens the impact of their communications. Himanshu urges future professionals to treat data as their best friend, recognizing its value in storytelling and decision-making.

In summary, Himanshu’s advice to future communications professionals is to embrace the shift towards reputation management, broaden their skill set beyond media relations, and harness the power of data to enhance the effectiveness of their storytelling and communication efforts.

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