Sagittarius Communications Pvt. Ltd.: The Vanguard of PR in Eastern India

With Shiladitya Chaudhury at its helm, Sagittarius is reshaping the narrative of communication strategies, redefining the art of brand storytelling
Shiladitya Chaudhury - Founder & Director - Sagittarius Communications Pvt Ltd

Shiladitya Chaudhury - Founder & Director - Sagittarius Communications Pvt Ltd

The CEO Magazine - Cover Story - Sagittarius Communications.pdf

Given the evolving business landscape, for businesses, achieving and sustaining a competitive advantage is essential for success and long-term viability. Standing out in the fiercely competitive market isn’t just a choice but a necessity, and that’s where the role of PR agencies comes into play. PR agencies go beyond just securing favourable publicity; they craft and execute comprehensive strategies to actively shape and protect their clients’ brands and reputations. Through strategic communication, they enable companies to set the story in conversations with customers, prospects, investors, and employees.

PR is not just a luxury for a few; it is an essential tool for all organisations, irrespective of their size or growth stage. Led by Shiladitya Chaudhury, Sagittarius Communications Pvt Ltd is a name that needs no introduction in the Indian PR industry. Established in 2004, Sagittarius provides a host of services and works closely with clients to deliver highly effective and cost-efficient results. What sets Sagittarius apart is their ability to adapt and evolve with the changing communication landscape. By combining traditional communication methods with fresh and creative approaches, Sagittarius ensures maximum impact for its clients, both domestically and internationally.

<div class="paragraphs"><p>With key team members of Sagittarius in one of the offsite international trips.</p></div>

With key team members of Sagittarius in one of the offsite international trips.

Crafting Narratives, Building Brands

As an integrated PR consultancy firm, Sagittarius offers comprehensive communication solutions to their clients, including brand building, marketing communications, event conceptualisation and undertaking of media-savvy events. With a wide-reaching network across all major Indian cities facilitated through a strong base of associates, the company effectively reaches diverse consumer segments through both traditional and innovative media channels. Specialising in crisis management, Sagittarius is adept at navigating challenges as they arise.

The team at Sagittarius comprises a vibrant and energetic group of experienced professionals in mainstream public relations and media. They cater to clients across various segments, including corporates, government departments, real estate, IT, telecom, trade bodies, entertainment, FMCG, healthcare, media, food and beverage, fashion, lifestyle, and NGOs and have also contributed to social causes.

In the two decades of their existence, Sagittarius has partnered with over 500 brands, with some partnerships lasting well over a decade. Key clients in Sagittarius’ portfolio include prominent names such as MP Birla Group, WBIDC, HIDCO, ITC Ltd, Dollar Industries Ltd, Indian Chamber Of Commerce, West Bengal Police, The 42, Electrosteel Castings Ltd, SMFG India Credit Company, Disha Eye Hospitals, Techno India Group, Siddha Group, Dharma Productions, Zee Bangla, British Council, ILS Hospitals, Fairfest Media, Kolkata Centre For Creativity, Starmark, Hulladek Recycling, Belle Vue Clinic, Suraksha Diagnostics, Srishti Infrastructure & Development, Zee Bangla Cinema, Jain Group, Simplex Infrastructure, Motovolt Mobility, Aakash Aath, BAPL, Fox & Mondal, ITC Sangeet Research Academy, International Justice Mission, Holiday Inn Kolkata Airport, Red Chillies Entertainment, Fox Star Studios, Eden Realty Ventures, WBFJA, Stagecraft Foundation, Primarc, Senco Gold & Diamonds, and Surinder Films, among others.

Sagittarius prides itself on delivering effective communication solutions tailored to each client’s unique needs, helping them achieve their objectives with precision and impact.

<div class="paragraphs"><p>Wildlife photography has a deep influence on whatever I do and this is what keeps me motivated.</p></div>

Wildlife photography has a deep influence on whatever I do and this is what keeps me motivated.

Mr Shiladitya Chaudhury, Founder & Director, Sagittarius Communications Pvt Ltd

Co-Founder & Partner, Platter Hospitality Pvt Ltd (Owner of Oudh 1590 & Chapter 2)

In the business world, very rarely do we get to meet individuals whose stories surpass the confines of boardrooms and balance sheets, weaving a tale rich in creativity, passion, and boundless ambition. Meet Shiladitya Chaudhury, the Founder & Managing Partner behind Kolkata’s beloved dining hotspots, Oudh 1590 and Chapter 2 and the driving force behind Sagittarius. A man of many talents, Shiladitya Chaudhury’s journey extends far beyond the corporate domain. As an avid wildlife photographer and globetrotter, he has travelled to more than 50 countries, capturing rare moments that grace the halls of wildlife photography exhibitions across the city. Shiladitya is also the editor of Environ, a widely circulated wildlife magazine, and a columnist for The Telegraph. His expertise has been recognised, with three books on wildlife photography already to his credit, published by Rupa Publications, the Ministry of Tourism, the Government of Gujarat, and the National Jute Board.

Shiladitya is a Governing Body Member of the Nature Environment & Wildlife Society (NEWS), working tirelessly towards the restoration of mangroves in the Sundarbans. He also contributes to the arts as a Governing Body Member of Stagecraft Foundation, an initiative of Ms Usha Uthup, which recognises and rewards backstage craftsmen.

But that’s not all. Shiladitya’s talent extends to music composition. He has over 25 years of experience composing music for Bengali films and for artists like Asha Bhonsle, Amit Kumar, and Usha Uthup.

Juggling multiple roles, Shiladitya finds solace in swimming, golfing, and listening to music. Of course, his love for adventure also draws him to the wildest corners of the globe. Beyond his myriad official roles, he is a devoted father to his daughter, who is a Software Engineer at Microsoft based in San Jose, USA.

<div class="paragraphs"><p>Hiking with my daughter has always been a favourite pastime. At Yosemite National Park.</p></div>

Hiking with my daughter has always been a favourite pastime. At Yosemite National Park.

The Genesis of Sagittarius

Early in his career, Shiladitya got an opportunity to work with a multinational company, a subsidiary of Daewoo Motors, in India during the launch of their iconic Cielo cars, where he managed internal PR. This stint served as a catalyst for him to venture into entrepreneurship. His interactions with Japanese and Korean leadership at Daewoo further ignited his entrepreneurial spirit, eventually leading to the inception of Sagittarius.

During this time, with significant industrial developments like the signing of MOUs with Tata Motors and JSW, there was a palpable sense of optimism with the transition from Chief Minister Jyoti Basu to Buddhadeb Bhattacharya. Despite the traditional approach of the CPM Government, which typically focused on achievements within the state, Shiladitya felt compelled to approach and pitch the idea of expanding their narrative beyond West Bengal.

This initiative resonated with the Chairman of the West Bengal Industrial Development Corporation, Shri Somnath Chatterjee, leading to a successful presentation and the initiation of Sagittarius collaboration with government departments. “I consider myself fortunate to have had the support of the West Bengal Industrial Development Corporation as one of our earliest and significant clients, marking the beginning of our journey in this industry,” -Shiladitya.

The Journey So Far

With a Bachelor of Arts from Calcutta University and an MBA from the Institute of Business Management Studies, Mumbai, Shiladitya initiated his entrepreneurial journey in 2004, establishing Sagittarius Communications Pvt Ltd after a decade-long successful stint in Public Relations.

Today, Sagittarius stands tall as one of Eastern India’s leading PR firms, having recently celebrated their two-decade milestone in the realm of goodwill management, a term synonymous with the PR industry. The journey has been remarkable, especially considering the nascent stage of the communication consultancy business in the eastern region when they commenced operations twenty years ago.

Capitalising on being pioneers in the PR domain, they gradually educated clients about the pivotal role of public relations, corporate communications and crisis management. This evolution has been instrumental in showcasing the substantial cost benefits compared to traditional advertising spend. As a result, Sagittarius witnessed organic growth over time, establishing themselves as the leading PR agency in the region, currently handling more than 100 clients.

Shiladitya’s innovative approach and vast experience earned him the opportunity to collaborate closely with eminent personalities such as the Former Lok Sabha Speaker, Sri Somnath Chatterjee.

In 2013, alongside his brother Debaditya, Shiladitya curated the country’s first-of-its-kind period dining restaurant brand, Oudh 1590. Since then, it has flourished into a chain of 12 outlets across Kolkata and Delhi-NCR. With a vision for national and global expansion, Platter Hospitality, led by Shiladitya, sets its sights on opening 25 restaurants by 2025 across Mumbai, Bangalore, Pune, and Hyderabad. This ambitious plan aims to increase their current turnover of approximately 50 crores to 80 crores by 2025.

Fuelled by their passion for food and music, Shiladitya and Debaditya gifted Kolkatans with Chapter 2, a retro dining restaurant paying tribute to the culinary and musical culture of Park Street in the 40s, 50s, and 60s, for which Park Street was famous globally.

<div class="paragraphs"><p>Celebrating A joyous moment with all the employees of Oudh 1590, India’s first-period dining restaurant.</p></div>

Celebrating A joyous moment with all the employees of Oudh 1590, India’s first-period dining restaurant.

Sagittarius’s USP: Out-of-the-Box Thinking

Despite the increased competition in India’s PR industry over the past decade, Sagittarius maintains its leadership position through its unconventional approach to PR strategies. Thinking out of the box, identifying unique opportunities, and conducting in-depth brand studies across global markets like the US, UK, Japan, and Korea notably enhances the effectiveness of their clients’ PR strategies. Shiladitya explains,

“We strive to approach PR from a unique angle by identifying overlooked PR opportunities and transforming them into significant successes. This approach has proven successful for many of our clients and has become a cornerstone of our business model. Our proven track record attracts client referrals, showcasing the power of our work in generating organic growth.”

He further adds, “At Sagittarius, we believe that focusing on the process and delivering results is more important than chasing credentials or traditional marketing tactics. I haven’t personally attended any pitch presentations to acquire clients; instead, they come to us based on our reputation and the results we’ve achieved for other brands.”

Shiladitya’s Approach to Team Building

Running a firm has its challenges, but for Shiladitya, one of the most pressing issues is the limited depth of knowledge among the younger generation in their workforce. Integrating new team members remains an ongoing aspect where they prioritise building a strong, youthful team, typically aged between 25 and 35, and focus constantly on their development.

Shiladitya inducted PR veteran Sreeraj Mitra into the team in 2012. “Joining hands with Sreeraj was a conscious decision. He has worked with some of the leading consultancy firms in the country over the years and has the perfect understanding of the client’s media and non-media PR requirements. Thus, the experience that we both bring to the table, when mixed with the enthusiasm and new age ideas that the youngsters have, we have a potent combination,” informed Shiladitya.

Initially confined to the eastern region without a nationwide presence, Sagittarius expanded its reach in the early years by partnering with 49 media centres across remote areas and major cities. This collaboration, alongside dedicated partners and associates, has established a network spanning various media centres nationwide, catering to their national clients.

Values Guiding Sagittarius’s PR Strategy

At Sagittarius, their approach to PR is guided by fundamental principles of continual learning and staying updated. Reading extensively is foundational to this process. Staying informed about current events, both locally and globally, enhances their ability to adapt and improve.

Shiladitya shares, “I am a strong advocate of maintaining a healthy work-life balance, ensuring that everyone has time for personal pursuits. As a leader, I encourage a culture where work ends by 6:30 PM, as I believe that a happy personal life is essential for productive work.”

He adds, “Beyond these basics, I enrich my understanding by frequent travel, immersing myself in different cultures, languages, cuisines, histories, and geographies. I extend this experience to my colleagues, organising trips abroad every two years to broaden their perspectives beyond textbooks and routines.”

Shiladitya’s Definition of Success

Far from conventional notions, Shiladitya has a very unique take on success. For him, success isn’t material wealth or status symbols; it’s about finding fulfilment in little things that matter. “The satisfaction of seeing my colleagues leave work happily after a challenging day, witnessing their joy as they work together as a team, acquiring clients, and gaining international recognition, that’s success,” says Shiladitya. He explains,

"Success, in my view, is about leading a simple, happy life with a focus on health and well-being. This perspective stems from personal experience—I underwent a transformative journey after a health issue that made me reassess my lifestyle. I reduced 26 kilos of weight at the age of 50, which almost brought me a life full of enthusiasm and valour. Now, I share this ethos with my colleagues and clients of prioritising personal well-being alongside professional achievements.”

Shildatiya considers gaining the trust of national clients who originally sought PR services from major metropolitan areas to be one of their notable achievements. He emphasises, “This accomplishment is a reflection of the expertise, conviction, and compassion of our entire team. Personally, I believe constant learning, staying updated, and maintaining a work-life balance are fundamental values that have contributed to our success.”

What Lies Ahead for Sagittarius

Over the years, PR has undergone significant evolution, particularly with the surge of digital advancements. Within this dynamic landscape, innovation emerges as the key to success. Sagittarius stands out by prioritising continuous learning, adapting to new models, and seamlessly integrating digital strategies with traditional PR approaches. Shiladitya, with an optimistic outlook, envisions huge scope for their business in the expanding Indian market, fueled by the arrival of international brands.

Currently, Sagittarius’ primary focus centres on serving its regular clients on a day-to-day basis, raising awareness about their brand nationwide, helping national clients gain global recognition, and establishing partnerships with international agencies across the Middle East, US, and UK.

Leadership Mantra

Advising budding professionals in the PR industry, Shiladitya shares, “PR is not merely about glitz and glamour; it demands a meticulously crafted approach to writing and vocabulary skills, daily research, and a thorough understanding of each client segment. Despite its external perception, PR is not about flashiness. It’s about passion; you must genuinely love and be enthusiastic about PR work. If you see it as a mundane 9-to-5 job, it might not be the right fit for you. One must be passionate, willing to arrive at the office two hours early if need be and leave promptly the moment work hour ends.”

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