11 July 2003
If an opinion poll were to be held to decide which is the most media-friendly group in India, there is a huge possibility that the Pune-based Kinetic group would win hands down. Scour through the Indian newspapers, magazines and websites, and one would be amused to find that a major chunk of it is devoted to the Kinetic group and the people who run the company.
Don't get it wrong. The group doesn't splurge money on advertising so that the media gives them better news-spread. On the contrary, it is the proactive attitude towards the media that does the trick. Surprisingly, such an attitude flows directly from the promoter's family.
The 28-year-old Vismaya Firodia, vice-president, heading corporate communications, apart from human resource and marketing support functions, at the Kinetic group, proves that she too is adept in public relations like her elder sister and group joint-managing director Sulajja Firodia Motwani.
The younger Firodia, who of course belongs to the promoter family, is busy promoting the group's image in the public eye. An engineering graduate (she majored in operations research from Princeton University, USA), Firodia, before joining the family group, had a three-year stint as a strategy consultant with the Mitchell Madison group, USA, which is a spin-off of McKinsey & Co.
She has set herself the goal of projecting a positive and accurate image of the group — to the shareholders, to the media, employees, customers and other business associates. "To me, corporate communications is everything — from owners' manuals that are handed out to the corporate website," she says. Incidentally, the Kinetic group is one of the few industrial groups in the country to have a group website (www.kineticindia.com). Excerpts from an interview:
Being part of the promoter's family, how do you feel heading the Kinetic group's communications department?
We take our communications quite seriously. The company's image is strongly linked to our public communications and we think it is critical that we maintain a high level of integrity and accessibility in this regard. Our management and board of directors thought that I had the qualification and skill required to handling this successfully, and hence was given the responsibility. As part of the promoter family, naturally, I want to contribute in the best way possible for Kinetic — and it's a good feeling to be part of the family business.