60 Seconds with Gutenberg’s Harjiv Singh

Harjiv Singh, CEO and founder at Gutenberg, talks about the agency’s rebrand and shift towards a more integrated model, encompassing digital marketing. He says: “storytelling remains at the core of our services.” 

Harjiv Singh

You recently expanded your agency’s offering beyond PR. Why?
Gutenberg’s rebranding was a well-planned move that is very critical to our long-term positioning and growth as a company. The strategy behind the rebranding was to expand our client offering to include service lines with rapid growth across all our geographical markets.

Through this rebranding we have accomplished three things. First, we have built the full range of capabilities to address contemporary challenges faced by any chief marketing officer; second, we are integrating our offerings to focus on delivering measurable ROI for clients and through analytics and lastly, we have expanded towards the addressable market of US$227bn, by broadening our service offering to include digital, mobile, video and content in addition to our core strength in PR and storytelling.

Do you have more competition as a consequence?
Competition is something every business has to deal with. Whether it is at an industry level or at a geographic level. With the expansion of our business into an integrated digital marketing agency, we will now compete across a much wider spectrum of services that include digital, PR, mobile, video, and content.

Do you think there’s still room for specialist PR agencies?
I strongly believe that PR will remain central to any firm trying to build a brand credibly. At Gutenberg storytelling remains at the core of our services. A lot of specialist agencies will remain in areas like a crisis, financial and other areas that require a strong knowledge of the industry and its ecosystem.

Has your move towards a more integrated model led to new hires? How do you approach that challenge to find and train the best people?
We have been adding expertise across a variety of skills that allows us to provide integrated services for clients. Talent is the key in any service business. We are rolling out several training initiatives across all of our offices this year, which will help us  to keep pace with the rapid changes in our business.

What was behind your decision to split from Lumina last year?
We’d been going through a process for about a year of evaluating our business. My partner Hugh and I decided collectively our businesses are sufficiently different that it made sense to split up.

How do you anticipate the PR industry continuing to change over the coming decade?
PR will continue to stay important as part of the marketing mix in the coming decade. PR’s biggest value historically came through its ability to drive a brand’s third party credibility, and thought leadership helped to shape brand reputation. As mobile and digital become more important, PR will have an opportunity to engage across a wider array of services, bringing in its storytelling strength.

What will be your focus at Gutenberg for the duration of 2017? Do you have plans to further grow the business?
We have some exciting plans for 2017 to increase our team size, expand our geographical footprint and service line expansion. Most importantly, we want to continue to be the partner of choice for our clients with a strong focus on ‘customer delight’.

  • Singh is the founder and CEO of Gutenberg, a digital integrated marketing communications firm with offices in the US, UK and India. He works with clients across industries and organisations such as technology, real estate, government, investment management, academic and the non-profit sectors.
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