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Archana Jain, PR Pundit Havas Red

Post its acquisition by Havas Group, the agency will integrate fully, upholding its entrepreneurial spirit and values starting next year.

In a recent announcement, Havas announced its acquisition of the Indian PR agency, PR Pundit. This strategic manoeuver represents the introduction of Havas Red, its worldwide PR network, into the Indian market. As a result, the agency has undergone a rebranding, adopting the name PR Pundit Havas Red.

PR Pundit is an integrated communications consultancy that has garnered acclaim as a pioneer in consumer lifestyle. With a distinguished record, the firm serves over 100 retainer clients spanning diverse sectors such as Hospitality, F&B, Corporate, CPG (consumer packaged goods), Start-Ups, Lifestyle, Luxury, and Beauty and Skincare.

Archana Jain, CEO, PR Pundit Havas Red, says that when she established PR Pundit, the landscape was dominated by a handful of corporate PR firms, all vying for the same objectives. Reflecting on her approach, she highlighted a deliberate study of global PR agencies and their methodologies as a pivotal influence.

After garnering recognition and solidifying its own identity, the agency considered the thought of nurturing the ambition of going global and networked. “Being part of cross-border engagements where we are working with clients across the globe is a great opportunity for our team members.”

Jain emphasised that Havas currently holds a substantial stake in the agency, with plans to gradually acquire 100% over time. She mentions that there are a few factors to evaluate while partnering with another firm including a synergy in mindset and culture. “The Havas Group actively promotes a learning mindset. It is entrepreneurial in culture as well and that is how it has grown. We feel that there is beauty in our relationship and that we will be able to continue operating with our entrepreneurial spirit and values,” she asserts.

The reason behind the name change to PR Pundit Havas Red was only to bring Havas Red into the Indian market. “Ultimately what Havas Red promotes is like a borderless future for potential clients and that gives us a great opportunity. Our team members could be defining a strategy for a global client which is headquartered in London but we have an opportunity to partake in defining that,” Jain explains.

Given India’s economic growth, multinational organisations are expressing keen interest in investing in Indian companies. Whether in the consumer or industry space, there is a palpable promise, prompting companies to seek a foothold in the country. Similarly, Havas Red is now strategically positioning itself to harness the potential of public relations in the Indian market and that is where PR Pundit steps in.

Jain says, “Apart from the acquired knowledge and access to best practices, everything for the agency is going to stay the same because Havas Red does not have a presence in India and it has invested in us for growth. So we have invited investment from it strategically for the growth of our people and clients and that is what you call the rationale of us taking this step.”

She also claimed that as PR Pundit Havas Red, the agency will not only continue to own earned media but also strive to own channels, content, strategy, and more. “Havas Group aims to gain insights into the practices of PR in India through our expertise, while simultaneously, we seek to understand global PR strategies from it. This mutual exchange forms the basis of a symbiotic partnership.”

About PR Pundit Havas Red planning to position itself in the competitive landscape of the Indian PR industry, Jain states that the primary focus will be more towards strengthening its copsumers.

“When we say copsumers, it means corporate and consumers. From the consumer side, we are very strong and on the copsumer side, we will raise the bar with learnings from what Global can offer us. We need to nurture one or two new things where they have a lot of advantages. For example, Havas has done considerable work in the healthcare domain. Over time, we will want to see this as an opportunity for us in India, as this sector in the country is blossoming. So that is something that we could continue in a certain amount. We also want to enhance our offerings on social media as well.”

Jain highlights that the first phase of the integration is going to the HR and IT practices. Once it is done, the agency will be part of a lot of global training and will have access to information and by March 2024, this process will be set in motion.

She elucidates, “The PR, advertising, or any of the creative industries are people-oriented. If there are important cross-border learnings that we can consume into our system, it will be great to do it in the interest of how to create a learning environment for our people.”

According to Jain, the financial year 2022-2023 was great. It was also because the market grew after the Covid-19 pandemic. “Covid was bad for us specifically when we say we are a consumer-facing firm and then in the consumer-facing business, all brands took a setback. So, the financial year 2021-2022 was all about recovery,” she adds.

“This year has been amazing for us. We had decided to come out of it and we came back stronger. Aligned with our integration into Havas Group, we will embark on a calendar year commencing in 2024. But this financial year (2023-2024) is very promising. India as a PR market, is outpacing global growth. The last report that we read showed about 13% growth in the industry and we certainly were better than that. We will continue to benchmark ourselves more than what the industry is growing at,” she conveys.

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