Co-Founder & Managing Director
Whatever the industry, communication plays a crucial role when it comes to relaying or receiving a message between two parties, and the basis of communication remains trust. Public Relations does it in the most effective way, increasing the brand capability. In a challenging market like today, where changes in trends are constant, Public Relations has tended to be more resilient across industries than advertising.
Moreover, the structure of PR industry in Indonesia is definitely a quintessential model of competition, as every practitioner is performing its best to have an edge. As a PR practitioner, Didin Nasirudin, Co- Founder & Managing Director of Bening Communication is also playing his part exemplarily in the PR industry. By developing long-term partnerships with its clients and taking pride in its ability to provide the best PR-related services, the company is exemplifying its contribution to growth. Recently, CEO Insights ASIA had a one-on-one interaction with Didin Nasirudin, Co-Founder & Managing Director of Bening Communication to know his side of the story and the magnanimous journey in PR.
Could you give a brief account of your professional background and experiences? What is the motivation that fuels your daily routines?
I’m a nuclear engineer who graduated from the Department of Nuclear Engineering at Gadjah Mada University, one of the leading state universities in Indonesia. I studied nuclear reactor technology because I wanted to work at a nuclear reactor that the government had planned to establish sometime in 2000.
However, the government canceled the building of the nuclear reactor, so I decided to work outside the nuclear field, starting as a management trainee in marketing at one of Indonesia’s largest business groups. My fate landed me briefly at a media company at the start of Indonesia’s political reform and free press. Then, in December 1999, my PR profession began. I’m improving my communications skills through ‘learning by doing’, PR courses, and by taking a master’s degree in communications, specializing in political communications, at a private university in Jakarta. I have some activities that have become the source of my motivation besides working in PR and nurturing my family- Reading and writing opinion columns and podcasting about the US politics, playing tennis, and caring for cats.
How would you define Bening Communication as an organization and its current position in the market? Delineating your flagship offerings, share the value additions that customers can expect from your services.
I told my team that Bening Communication is a malleable organization. We should always be flexible and adaptive to changes in the industry, so we will not stop at where we are. We have a very strong reputation in technology PR and have served more than 40 local and global technology brands, including Google, Intel, Samsung, Lenovo, Nokia, Huawei, ZTE, Gojek, Grab, and many more. We have also expanded to non-Tech PR areas with clients coming from finance, crypto, healthcare, energy, chemicals, palm oil, travel & accommodation, aviation, fashion & beauty, and others. Familiarity with technology has also enabled us to develop applications to strengthen our media intelligence capabilities, which we combined with social media services using tools from a third party.
Traditional PR is our primary offering. The others include strategic media collaborations, social media, KOL engagement, event management, community engagement, content development, creative, government relations, and crisis/issue management.
Tell us about your leadership approach. What are the guidelines/methodologies you follow to lead your team?
As a leader, I’m very informal and casual. I don’t create a barrier between me and the rest of the team in the office. Anyone can talk to me F2F or via phone/WA at any time on any day, on weekdays or weekends. I do the same with the clients, they can call me anytime, and I will always pick up the phone from the clients when I’m awake.
I challenge my team to propose new ideas like, PR tactics ideas, business service ideas, or even new business ideas. That’s what makes us malleable. However, I always play a significant role in PR program executions. I check every PR document sent to the media, clients, or their partners, which includes invitations, press releases/pitched articles, translations, briefing documents, presentation decks, and others. Besides, I always do my best to attend all team meetings with the clients or events with the media.
Could you reflect on some of the toughest challenges you have encountered in your journey so far? Also, how did you overcome them?
We have gone through multiple challenges during the 15 years of our operations. Clients, for example, cut budgets during the global financial crisis caused by the US Supreme Mortgage crisis in 2008-2010, which was the early years of the company’s operations. We had some big clients abruptly stop operating in Indonesia, which took a hit on our bottom line significantly. COVID-19 was definitely challenging. However, the crisis we faced previously and our flexible operations allow us to be in ‘business as usual’ mode during the pandemic, though business was, admittedly, shrinking and, for all staff’s safety, we all worked from home for an extended period.
Before people knew ‘working from home’, ‘working from anywhere’ or ‘hybrid working’ modes, we at Bening, to some extent, had already implemented them. I had two editors who had worked fully from home and senior staff who temporarily worked from home due to a critical family matter, several years before the pandemic. I had a staff who upon joining the company proposed hybrid working to finish his master’s study. Patience, resilience, and a strong belief in ‘silver linings after every storm’ are our key success in surviving every challenging situation. Now after the pandemic, when the Jakarta crazy traffic jam comes back, we have decided to adopt‘hybrid working’ with flexible working hours. So, the team only works three days from the office, and they can leave for work after rush hours, hoping it will reduce their stress level and allow them to work more productively.
What is the future destination you are heading towards?
We will go where the fortune leads. So, we may enter new areas in PR and non-PR, which we have never thought of before. But that’s the essence of our malleability.
Didin Nasirudin, Co-Founder & Managing Director, Bening Communication
Didin is a nuclear engineer and communications master’s student who has been a PR and communications practitioner for almost 24 years. He is also a US politics columnist, commentator and podcaster, and an avid tennis hobbyist.
• Hobbies: Playing tennis, reading, writing and podcasting about US politics, caring for cats
• Favorite Cuisine: “Gado-gado”, an Indonesian traditional food
• Favorite Book: “Deng Xiaoping & the Transformation of China” by Erza F. Vogel, and “Federer” by Chris Bowers
• Favorite Travel Destination: Singapore