PR in India: High on Growth, Big on Change

Exactly a year ago, MSLGROUP India released its ‘Public Relations Industry in India: Challenges, Opportunities and 2012 Outlook’ report highlighting issues such as the talent crunch in the industry, and the gap between the perception of the industry’s size and the reality. Today, in a tough economic environment, it’s time to understand the industry’s state of mind.

In the second edition of the report, titled ‘Public Relations in India – Inside the Industry’s Mind and the 2013 Outloook’ and released on January 17, MSLGROUP India published an India-wide survey of PR professionals. The objective was to understand how they view a potentially tough year for business, the trends that will define the industry, and to provide a platform for their views about the professional challenges they face.

In an industry where such studies are rare, MSLGROUP India conducted the survey across the executive hierarchy to ensure that the newest entrants have their say alongside the most hardened veterans. The theme that emerged was ‘optimism’ – 51% of the respondents were confident that the industry would grow more than 20% over the next 12 months, while 28% felt growth would clock between 10% and 20%.

Despite slow GDP growth and global financial insecurity, the industry’s expectations are high. It recognises its potential to add strategic value and to make a serious impact on business objectives. This is also reflected in the fact that most clients have not reduced their PR budgets; many have, in fact, increased them. This has boosted the industry’s confidence. It is aware of its contribution to marketing strategies as it looks forward to raising headcounts at a time when most allied industries are enforcing layoffs.

A separate qualitative survey in the report details how the media – a key stakeholder – perceives the PR industry. The mediaperson-PR professional relationship is recognised as symbiotic and several suggestions – from customised press releases to a better understanding of deadlines – are listed by the respondents.

The report would be incomplete without analysing the all-important agency-client relationship. This is a partnership where it’s vital for both to be in sync if the objectives are to be achieved. We have tried to find solutions that would bridge the expectations-results gap.

MSLGROUP India hopes that this report will spark a discussion across all stakeholders that make this industry so vibrant.