Vaibhav Pahel on the power of PR and his journey at 80dB

Vaibhav Pahel is a Senior Account Executive at 80dB. He engages in public relations work for clients in B2B technology, research & consultancy, and D2C startups. He has worked with 80db for more than a year. Also, he has experience working as an intern in public relations, fundraising, and digital marketing at Rebelz Games. In conversation with Adgully, Vaibhav Pahel speaks about his journey with the current organisation, the high relevance of a career in PR, the success mantra, and more. Excerpts:

What particular skill-sets do you think you bring to the table?

I can be a little nitpicky sometimes when it comes to writing, visual presentations, or any other form of communications/messaging. I think that does help in an industry where anything can be taken out of context and misinterpreted. I’m also pretty research-oriented and always eager to grasp concepts I’m not familiar with, allowing me to build a strong understanding of my clients and the industries they’re involved in.

How did you join your current organisation?

I did a brief stint in digital marketing in the Netherlands where I was primarily tasked with working on content strategy. It was interesting to learn about the inner workings of building your online presence and generating relevant leads to your platform, but I couldn’t see myself progressing within this career path; something felt off.

I thought maybe the corporate path wasn’t for me and was considering pursuing something more research-oriented, eventually enrolling in a Master’s and a PhD in Sociology. But as time went on during my Bachelor’s in Communications, I started taking some courses in communication management, journalism and global media systems. I liked the combination of research approaches with communications work, especially the modules on reputation management and news writing.

Entering the world of PR seemed to be the right track, so I pursued an internship in PR and fundraising at Terre des Hommes Netherlands, working closely with the Children of India Foundation. I found the work to be really stimulating and knew that this is what fits; so when the time for the internship was up, I began applying to PR agencies. I came across 80 dB Communications, applied for the role and really enjoyed the conversations I had with the co-founders, Abhilasha and Kiran, learning more about their approach to work and the communications field. I was accepted into the role and now I’m super grateful to have received this opportunity to kick start a fast-paced and stimulating career in communications.

Who are the icons in this field whom you look up to and how have they influenced you and your work?

Prior to working at 80 dB, I had not really engaged with people in the PR/communications field. After joining the organisation, it’s been really fulfilling to work with people who’ve built impressive careers for themselves in the industry, and it’s really given me that drive to make something for myself in the field.

What are some things you do that help you to be productive throughout the day?

It might be a cliche, but it does help to get up early in the morning. I haven’t gotten to the point where I start going on morning jogs, but a nice walk does help give you some clarity and start your day well. I also need to have that moment of peace and quiet to myself to get energised and get my affairs in order.

Do you think a career in this field is a viable one in the long term?

Whenever I talk to people about what I do, I come across questions like “Do people still read newspapers?” or “what about SEO?” Although the way we consume news is constantly changing, I think a career in communications will continue to be highly relevant and crucial going forward. The role a continuous PR programme plays in establishing a strong sense of legitimacy cannot be overlooked.

What does it take to succeed in a career?

I think the most important step does start at the beginning, when you have that feeling that what you’re doing is the right fit. Once that’s in place, a sense of humility, trying not to get overconfident in your performance, and consistent efforts towards improving yourself can go a long way.

What would be your advice to youngsters planning to enter this industry?

You should try engaging with the industry at some point in your life. You can gain valuable experience, whether it’s going all the way or just doing a PR/communications internship in college, and then venturing into another field. The skills you learn in research, effective communications and even behavioural psychology to an extent, are applicable for a lot of scenarios.

Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?

It’s been around a year since I started work in a PR agency environment, so I still have a lot to learn. I find it to be a very dynamic field and am not exactly sure where five years’ time will take me. I just know that communication works for me and I look forward to continuing on this path.

Is there any organisation that you would like to work with in the future?

I can’t really pinpoint any particular organisation at the moment, but I do find it stimulating to work with enterprise technology companies and social enterprises. I’d like to continue engaging with companies in these sectors and learning more about B2B and not–for-profit communications.


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