Charandeep Singh graduated from the University of Strathclyde Business School in 2010. He was subsequently elected as the Vice-President of the University of Strathclyde Students’ Association and was thereafter elected as President. Administering a budget of £1.3m, Charandeep transformed the organisation into a leading voice and extended the organisation’s influence into the political and business sectors.
Charandeep is a communications, marketing and policy adviser with experience in the education and business sector. His passion is to develop and transform membership organisations to become the leading player in their sector. An effective communicator, he has an interest in embedding communications within strategic growth plans, and advises national and international organisations.
Prior to his appointment at the Scottish Chambers of Commerce, Charandeep worked at the Scottish Council for Development & Industry and with USA-based educational charity, Sikh Research Institute and also managed his own start-up providing services in marketing, social media and PR.
Charandeep also serves as the General Secretary of award-winning charity – the Glasgow Gurdwara and has previously served as founding Trustee on the National Union of Students’ Charitable Services Board (Scotland) and was recognised in the 30 Under 30 2016 List by industry leading body, PR Week UK.
Describe your background in 5 words?
Scottish Sikh promoting Scottish business.
How did you get into PR?
As a Graduate of University of Strathclyde business school, I developed a keen talent & interest for marketing and brand messaging particularly the interface between the worlds of politics and business.
What do you love about your job?
Heading up the External Relations division at Scottish Chambers of Commerce, I thrive on the daily variety of my work. I work across the 26 Chambers across our network, and have the opportunity to represent and engage with a host of industries from transport, IT, food & drink, financial services and tourism.
What are you most proud of?
Over the last few years, Scotland & the UK have faced huge political & economic events. As the national chamber I’ve been proud of raising the issues and needs of Scotland’s business community into the public agenda. I’ve also been proud of being able to utilise my skills and add to the third sector with the charities I’m involved in.
What’s been the hardest lesson to learn?
You can’t do it all! The industry is so varied and the demands on practitioners are ever increasing so getting the right balance and a strong team has been key during my career.
Who are your favourite people in PR?
I don’t have a specific individual but rather I look up to those that contribute to wider society by leveraging their professional positions, particularly those that raise important issues to decision makers.
What do you think are the biggest challenges facing the sector?
I believe more Boards now recognise the integral role of PR professionals, which wasn’t always the case. Brexit means we have to work harder to make business the top priority so every Board must invest in the right PR and communications talent.
What skill do you think every PR has to nail?
Always place the values of the business at the heart of practice. This is what consumers and clients connect with, and ultimately leverages the best results.
What is your favourite social network and why?
Instagram – it has cracked the conundrum of being both a highly personal communicating tool and also a place for brands to connect with consumers.
Who is your favourite tweeter and why?
On Twitter, @commscartoons is a great account to follow and one of my favourite to follow. It’s a light-hearted take on the industry but gives industry insights into leadership & development.
Best advice you’ve ever been given?
“Learn from failure and use it as a stepping stone to success”
Biggest PR fail and yay of 2017?
Fail – Kendall Jenner & Pepsi Max was a bad display of judgement. They reacted quickly but shows why a diverse range of professionals in PR should be the norm. Yay – campaign led by famous YouTube faces asking Turkish Airlines to send aid supplies to Somalia as it was the only airline that flew there, was an exceptional campaign and result. The campaign raised $1 million.
Finally, on the D’ word… What can the sector do to tackle diversity?
There are many structural challenges but one thing that can be done on a practical level is to realise internal prejudices. We all have them! I always ask myself: “What obstacles has a candidate overcome to get in front of this panel?”. With this context, it puts into perspective the relative achievements of an individual and is a great insight into potential. It isn’t the answer to all problems but it has allowed me to broaden the pool of talent we recruit.
Charandeep is one of 15 mentors for the BME PR Pros/PRWeek Mentoring Scheme. Applications for mentees are now open – click here to find out more. The closing date for applications is Friday 16 February 2018.