Passionate in Marketing in Conversation with Geeta Singh, Director, TYC Communication, New Delhi

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Tell us a little about your growing up years, education and where you are based now?

I hail from Uttaranchal, where I spent my early childhood, before my parents moved to Meerut. Initially, the language barrier was a major obstacle for me, which is quite ironic given that I now run a communication agency. I have completed my 10+2 from U.P. board, Meerut, and post-graduation in Political Science from Delhi University. Then I also did a two-years’ diploma course in mass communication & Journalism from JIMMC, Noida. I started working while I was still pursuing my graduation which gave me a lot of first-hand experience. 

Most of my family members are in private or government services, and I was the first one who tried hands at something out of the family custom and started a business. Even when I was a child, I was good at networking and communication and that helped me a lot to convince them to let me pursue my dreams. It now helps me to communicate effectively with my clients, which is the key-point for my business. But my struggling years have also taught me a lot, and they’re the reason that I’ve developed a never-say-die attitude.

Were you in a conventional career before you started up?

Before starting TYC Communication, I worked with reputed media houses, PR agencies, advertising, creative and branding agencies that helped me to enhance my interpersonal skills and sharpen my communication. Working with these companies, I learned a lot about the communication industry, and it gave me a foundation to start my own company. It helped me to learn about strategies, creativity, event management, brand management and the requirements of any organization. Also, my early experience with different communities & people has helped me to establishing a good network. I’d advise any aspiring entrepreneur to work in the industry of their choice and gain experience before stating their own organization.

What was the pain point for you to start?

I always wanted to do something big in life, which I believe, eventually led me to start my own company. While I was working with the different agencies, I used to look at the executives and think that I can do that as well. I had my own ideas that I wanted to test out, but when you’re in a lower position in a company, there are limitations and it’s understandable. But I always believed that I could make it big and so one day I decided to quit my job and start my own business. However, during my struggling days, it wasn’t easy to convince people that we could handle their work efficiently. Arranging funds was another issue – but somehow I did. However, the biggest challenge that I faced and that I believe we all face during our initial stage is that instead of encouraging, people always demotivate and make you feel inferior. I also faced such a situation multiple times, but it was my family and friends who always stood beside me as my strength. I’m glad that though I left all that fear behind. With so many ups and downs, it’s been a wonderful experience.

You said you started with Rs 50,000 in a ramshackle room? Tell us about those initial days? Your highs and lows?

Well, I began with Rs. 50,000 that I had arranged from friends and family and a room of 8×10 feet for the office. The beginning was quite bumpy as well; besides me, there was only one other employee and we only had one client to serve. Then the word started spreading about our work and we started getting more clients and the business began to bloom. I hired more employees to handle the work and things were going fine until someone from the inside decided to betray the company. So they left and took away most of the workforce with them. This was a major setback, but we persevered and prospered. But I hold no grudges now; life’s too short for that. I only look back at that incident as a part of the journey and if anything, it has made me even stronger.

What are the services you offer?

I started my company – TYC communication in the year 2012 as a translation & traditional PR agency. After gaining some experience in PR, in the year 2014, we embraced Digital Marketing services to add more value, which has worked as an inseparable tool to provide a complete communication solution. From media management, content research and creation, media training, client servicing to crisis management, TYC communication offers a gamut of services. We are proud to served more than 200 reputed brands in different domains. We have a team of more than 50 committed professionals and we offer immaculate PR services in 180 cities of India.

Who was your first client? What was the experience like?

We started our business with My Mobile.com .

If I talk about my experience, I have been through plenty of ups and downs. But I took each one as a lesson, and it has helped me a great deal to climb the ladder of success. From being a young, clueless journalist to becoming a matured leader of a renowned communication firm in the country, it has been quite an enthralling journey. Now, whenever I look back, it at seems like a dream. I started from one small room, one client and one employee and now, we have more than 200 satisfied clients, and have a solid presence in over 180 cities within the country. We are also expanding our business with our introductory overseas project– in Estonia. So that is also something that I’m looking forward to.

But for all the success that we’ve achieved over such a short amount of time, I cannot take all the credit for myself. I have been fortunate to have a wonderful team that takes ownership of the work and delivers stellar results.  

Tell us about your top clients and what you do for them?

The commitment with which we work towards the goals of the clients is reflected in the fact that the average tenure of clients that we have served is around 4 years. Names like Patanjali Yogpeeth, IIIT Delhi, Xebia Global Academy, Mitsubishi Electric India, Pioneer India, The Judge Group, Pearson Group, FENA, Acreaty, and Steelbird International stamp the authority that TYC has in the communication field.

The challenging job is to help startups realize their goals and over the years we have helped a few, such as Finway, Innefu Lab, Evolet, Payme India, and Aks Clothings. Communication strategy for them has to be dynamic as it is strictly result-oriented. We have helped many of them acquire the funds which they seek regularly from the investors. Some of these startups are with us from the day they started and we have been instrumental in effectively handling the media messaging on their behalf – which is the reason they’ve stuck with us for so long. Watching them grow in front of our eyes and being able to contribute to their success is a very rewarding experience.  

Do you think communication has changed in the COVID-19 world? How have you as a communications agency adapted to the changing circumstances?

I don’t think the core principles of communication have changed or could be changed by any crisis. Our motto is the same as it always was – to spread a positive message about the business of our clients to their audience base. 

There have been some changes though, but they’ve mostly been in the way we operate. For instance, after the imposition of the lockdown, we adopted the work-from-home model, and I’m quite proud of my team that despite the restraints, we’ve been able to provide valuable service to our clients. In marketing terms, the demand for promotional content has gone down during the lockdown and that for value-based content has skyrocketed. We are consulting with our clients and working out strategies to leverage this opportunity. These are tough times for people and by providing them valuable content, we can create trust and goodwill – which are crucial for running a successful business.

I also think that post-Covid, we’ll see more and more companies resort to digital marketing. Even now, since people are cooped up in their homes, they’re frequenting social media websites more than ever, which has given the marketers a great opportunity. With the Fourth Industrial Revolution, a wave of digitization is headed towards us, and the sooner we adapt to this new change, the better we would fare.

How are you preparing for life and business in a post-COVID world?

This COVID situation disrupted every business sector, but it has also allowed us to learn something new. For the safety of our staff and our clients, we will continue to abide by the guidelines laid down by the WHO as well as our government. Overseas travel, whether it is for personal reasons or official reasons, has to be limited to extremely critical situations only. When we open our office for all the employees, we will ensure that we sanitize our premises regularly and maintain social distancing while working. We are also conducting all the meetings and consultations with our clients via video conferencing only in accordance with social distancing protocols. By keeping social distancing as the central idea, we are working out different strategies that can help us conduct business in the safest way possible.

What does effective communication mean to you?

People never buy goods and services; they buy ideas, emotions, and stories. I believe that is what effective communication means. A communication firm isn’t just a relay that takes the message from the client and passes it on to the audience. Instead, there is an element of creativity involved. We have to make sure that the message we’re disseminating has an emotional appeal that would draw people’s attention. So I believe effective communication is all about taking the message from the client, giving it an emotional appeal, and then passing it on to the audience.

What have been your biggest successes and challenges?

Firstly, it is very difficult to run business in India if you are coming from a family that does not have a business background. Secondly, if you are a woman and individually handling things, then people can often be reluctant to take you seriously. Being an entrepreneur, I have to deal with several challenges everyday to manage my office. From hiring a good candidate to retaining good employees in the organization; and similarly, getting a good client onboard to retaining those clients, we need to put 200% efforts as compared to big agencies. Even after 7 years of servicing in this industry, we get rejections just because we are new and someone else takes the deal because they are an MNC.

As for success, I don’t believe that it’s a destination; it’s an ongoing journey and the stakes keep getting higher. I believe my biggest success story is yet to be written but I’m quite positive that it’ll happen sometime soon. 

What are your revenues now?

Well, we come quite a long way from where we began, and we’re looking forward to grow even more.

Tell us about your team?

I believe that teamwork makes the dreams work. I have a team of dedicated and skilled individuals and it’s hard to imagine TYC communication without these people. We have gone through a lot of ups and downs, but it was my team’s efforts and a sense of purpose to achieve a clear, specific goal which always encouraged me and gave me the strength to survive the tough times. 

Even during this pandemic, when we have had to adapt to the new work-from-home model, my team has been really supportive, and everyone is working twice as hard to make up for whatever losses we’ve incurred. When you have people who take ownership of their work and don’t just take it as a job, all else comes naturally. We are a tightly knit unit and we support each other through thick and thin. By sharing each other’s burden, we’ve been able to make the company grow to the level that it has. That is the work culture we strive to maintain at TYC Communication that fosters friendship and loyalty.

Is it difficult being a woman entrepreneur in India? What are the lessons you have learned along the journey?

It’s not the easiest thing to be a woman entrepreneur anywhere in the world, and in our country, the setup is highly patriarchal. I too have shared my fair share of troubles but I consider myself fortunate to have such a supportive circle of friends, family, and colleagues around me.

The most important thing that I’ve learned in my journey is that you cannot rise in this world without getting battered down a lot. When you’re chasing big goals, big upsets are inevitable. But if you can inculcate perseverance, and avoid getting bogged down in negative thoughts, you will be able to achieve whatever you want.

What are your plans?

Now that we have established a foothold in the country, I am aiming towards expanding the business overseas. We’ve very recently started our overseas project, in the beautiful countryside of Estonia. My long term goal is to make TYC Communication one of the top 5 Digital and PR agencies in the world, and I have no doubt in my mind that we will accomplish it.

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