Our latest member spotlight sees 10 questions fielded by Arnab Roy Choudhury, who co-chairs the Singapore Chapter.
If you are an APACD member and you’d like to take part in this series, please let us know.
Arnab Roy Choudhury, Global Lead – Communications & Enablement, Trust, Data & Resilience, Standard Chartered & Singapore Chapter Co-Chair
1. In no more than three sentences: tell us about your 2020 experience, and outline your predictions for 2021.
In 2020, I’ve learned the importance of being resilient and the power of simplicity, in all I do. We now have a heightened understanding of the dog barking, the child popping into virtual meetings, among others — affording one another a level of empathy we didn’t before. This empathy and by extension, our humanity will be key in delivering the promise of a ‘better normal’ not just for communications but everything we do in 2021.
2. Please share a moment from the past 12 months when you saw the direct impact of corporate communications on business performance.
Being human in our corporate communications has a direct correlation to business performance. This was apparent in Airbnb CEO, Brian Chesky’s blog communicating his unfortunate and difficult decision to lay off 25% of his staff. His note was a masterclass on how to do it right by putting people first even though the decision was about business performance in the long run.
3. Has the pandemic elevated the importance of the corporate communications function?
I am the co-chair for the APACD Singapore Chapter and we have been hosting sessions with our members and non-members alike. Drawing from this senior collective’s experience, the communications function across all industries has indeed seen an elevated importance in its role and impact during this pandemic. The only additional observation I would share is the increasing focus on employees as the workforce suddenly went remote overnight.
4. In no more than two sentences, describe the opportunities and challenges facing corporate communicators today.
APACD has been doing a series of webinars exploring the opportunities and challenges and my takeaway is the elevated focus on employee engagement, operational continuity & executive communications while managing constant change. Aside as communicators, our workload has increased tremendously and it’s been exhausting for most of us, so as a reminder, I would urge my fellow communicators to take care of their own mental health — take that planned leave you have been procrastinating about, and disconnect from work.
5. What has been your favourite campaign of the past year? (Not one you were involved in.)
This campaign from Nova Films invites us to make a private resolution to ourselves to improve on just one thing in our future for a “Better Normal” – love it for its simplicity grounded in a positive purpose to make us better.
6. What is one thing the industry can to do to improve diversity?
I think Citibank CFO, Mark Mason in his blog – I Can’t Breathe says it best, and one I truly believe in, quoted below:
“…speak up and speak out whenever we witness hatred, racism or injustice. I know I will – and I hope you will too.”
That’s all there’s to it – Speak up and speak out, always.
Complacency is the greatest threat to diversity.
7. Which media title can you not live without?
I’m curious by nature and as a result, a voracious reader. So, it’s difficult to list just one but I have been subscribing to four media titles for over 16 years beyond newer ones like The Ken – these long time companions include: The New York Times, The Economist, Wired and National Geographic.
8. Favorite book/movie/podcast that’s not related to PR/marketing/business?
Favourite read (of recent times): A Gentlemen in Moscow by Amor Towles. There is so much to learn & admire in this book especially from the character of Count Alexander Ilyich Rostov.
Favourite flick: Shawshank Redemption. To borrow a quote that I love as it also represents life: “Geology is the study of pressure and time. That’s all it takes, really. Pressure and time.”
Favourite podcasts: (1) Rukmini Callimachi’s Caliphate, (2) Ted Radio Hour and (3) The Rewatchables.
9. How do you switch off?
Given my role, it’s difficult to switch off but I have now built a few hours on the weekend dedicated to baking, cooking and experimenting in cocktail creations. It’s fun and I also get to learn new things.
10. If I wasn’t working in marketing/communications, I would be…