Vishakha Mota is a hard-working and dedicated individual, with the love for storytelling that has led her to where she is today. Have you ever heard of someone weaving a story into a brand and making it touch the hearts of millions? Well, that’s what Vishakha Mota does on a daily basis.
In conversation with Storiyaan, Vishakha takes us on a journey of her life right from being an intern to being the Co-founder of Brand Sentry. Brand Sentry was established during the pandemic and gave opportunities to those who had been let go from other companies. The organization also works towards helping their employees grow as people and develop their skills. Vishakha Mota believes in bringing a human touch to any brand her company works with, and her words are sure to inspire you.
Questions and answers
How did you plant and nurture your love for storytelling and writing over time?
As a child, I would sit alone by the window and think about how different stories could pan out. As I grew up, I realized how much I liked telling, writing and reading stories. This was always ingrained in me; it wasn’t something that I had to develop. Over time, I realized that I want to pursue this professionally; and today, I tell stories by working in the Public Relations sector.
Tell us about the phase of your career when you worked on the sets of AD commercials and TV Shows.
When I was 16, I began interning with a director named Gautam Chaturvedi. I spent three years learning from him and played many roles on set, not just an assistant director. After I studied Mass Communication, I got into the field of corporate communications. I began interning at various agencies and got to visualize campaigns and tell stories through brands.
How did you find your calling in the PR industry, and how has your journey been so far?
When I did my masters, I understood what crisis communication really is and what goes into public relations. I learnt how Public Relations could do wonders, and that is when I realized that this is precisely where I want to be; and I did my first campaign, ‘Share your Coke’ in Dubai. Seeing the response this campaign garnered, I knew I had to touch lives via brands, through stories and real emotions.
Can you tell us how the idea for Brand Sentry was conceived?
I was once giving an interview at the age of 22, and the manager asked me where I see myself in 10 years. This was when I realized I wanted to have my own agency to give people a place to make their ideas come to life for different brands. At the last company I worked in, my partner, Zohair and I worked together and realized we complimented each other. He is a businessman, and I am more of a storyteller; together, we built Brand Sentry during the pandemic, from the ground up, with determination and a common goal.
How has Brand Sentry evolved over time, and what was its greatest achievement?
Brand Sentry is six months old and is still evolving. Our biggest challenge was to convince clients that we could bring their vision back to life and do justice to their brand. We now have a dedicated team working across different brands and sectors. This is where we wanted to be a few years down the line, but with hard work, trust and responsibility that clients have shown us, we reached our goal within six months. Our most significant achievement would be that of all of the ten pitches that we gave; we managed to bring each of them on board.
Whenever a new company is formed, it goes through a trial-and-error phase until it finds the products and services are here to stay. How did you deal with this phase and stay motivated when an idea failed?
When it comes to trial and error, we never had such a thing, since we were focused on what we wanted to offer. We knew that we did not want to be a digital marketing agency nor a PR agency. Our biggest challenge was to establish the idea of brand building and not just individual marketing tools and explain to people how the brand can holistically grow and not grow in only one aspect. Storytelling can do wonders, and it works hand in hand in all sectors.
According to you, what stands out for Brand Sentry, which puts it in an advantageous position compared to other agencies?
We offer more holistic solutions and storytelling that makes an everlasting impact on how consumers perceive your brand. And we will humanize your brand and add a lost marketing tool, that is storytelling that will connect your consumers to your brand emotionally. That’s what makes Brand Sentry stand out.
What are the biggest criteria that one requires to leave a mark in this industry, and how did you develop it over time?
One is integrity; if you stick to your integrity, then no one will question what you’re doing. Second is dedication; don’t focus on what you’ve started as, you will grow eventually. The third is hard work. Consistent execution of your plans pays off over time. Developing these three criteria can leave a mark not only in the PR industry but also in any other field.
You mentioned in an interview that you ensured that every member of your team has a holistic point of view. Could you elaborate on that?
Every individual in my team has a unique talent. At Brand Sentry, we make sure to hone our employees’ talents. One intern joined as a Digital Marketing Intern but loved graphics designing, so we let him do his best in graphics designing first. Apart from this, we also believe that employees must develop and practice their talents outside work as well and grow as individuals, not just as employees.
What motivates you to pen down an ordinary thought and bring about extraordinary concepts to life through it?
I’ve always been a visionary and an imaginative person. If I see a few people discussing something, I make a story out of it. I transform that into a massive campaign that can create a difference in the lives of people. I believe it’s all about figuring out which emotion works and how that emotion that touched your life can touch over a million lives.
How has your work experience with Zohair Shaikh been, and what makes you a perfect team?
Zohair and I have a fantastic work relationship, as we complement each other’s qualities. We both are visionaries and have similar perspectives. We have two wavelengths in common. He brings his extensive digital marketing experiences to the table, and I bring my experiences in communication and storytelling.
What would be your advice to someone who wants to get started as a publicist in the industry?
First things first, writing and envisioning what you’re writing is of utmost importance when you want to be a publicist. Decide what the most beneficial output for your clients is. You need to make sure that you have a solution and a story in every situation. If you can build a story in any situation, then being a publicist is the right way to go.
1. One word to describe your dog – Brat
2. Favourite book – Alchemist
3. Favourite cuisine – Italian or Rajma Chawal
4. Greatest inspiration – My Father
5. If not a publicist, you would be a – animal activist.