MSLGROUP releases its latest executive report – ‘India Strategic Communications Report 2015: Inside the CMO’s Mind’

India, January 13, 2015MSLGROUP, the strategic communications and engagement consultancy of Publicis Groupe, and the largest brand and reputation advisory network in Asia and Europe, today announced the launch of its latest executive report, India Strategic Communications Report 2015: Inside the CMO’s Mind’.

The report details the findings of a countrywide survey focusing on Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) across industries and how they view the role of ‘new PR’ – integrated communication – in building brands. This is an annual report that is in its fourth consecutive year.

This year’s survey – which comprises the main section of the report – details the views of the CMOs, who come out strongly in favour of integrated communication. While advertising continues to have the biggest share of the annual marketing budget, overall marketing budgets have grown one fourth in the past five years. One of the reasons for the increase has been the adoption of integrated communication by businesses. Fittingly, the Public Relations industry has made a decisive shift towards this model.

So strong is this trend that two thirds of the respondents said they have already adopted the integrated approach in order to achieve higher engagement with audiences and greater visibility.

PR agencies need to urgently demonstrate how they can add value and shift quickly to the integrated model. The marketing heads asserted that agencies that did not adopt a holistic approach would fade away. They also emphasised that data and insights would play a bigger role in their communication.

What emerged was a picture of a new age of marketing that demands new answers. This is indeed an opportunity for Public Relations agencies.

Some of the survey’s findings:

  • 80% of the respondents said their PR budgets have grown over the past five years; 78% of those whose budgets have grown said this was because of the adoption of the integrated model.
  • Among the greatest advantages of the integrated approach is greater engagement with audiences (47%) and greater visibility (43%).
  • Among the advantages of PR agencies offering integrated communication are: increased productivity, cost savings and better management of teams.
  • CMOs want their PR agencies to invest in research and insights, digital skills, content and public affairs.
  • 98% said data and insights are playing a major role in their communication strategy.

Amit Misra, Managing Director, MSLGROUP, said: “Public Relations in India is at an inflection point. Unless agencies evolve into strategic communication consultants, they will fade away. We need the ear of the CMOs, who control the brand and the budgets. For that, we need to demonstrate our value. The next few years will be marked by investment in strategic skills such as data, insights, public affairs and crisis communications.”

What emerges strongly from the survey is clients’ need for a planned, ‘scientific’ approach to their account. This is what the second section of the report examines. While advertising agencies have institutionalised planning processes for decades, that is not the case with Public Relations.

As a result, effective planning will form the core of strategic integrated communication going forward. Keeping this in mind, MSLGROUP went back to the drawing board to upgrade its processes and will now work with insight, integration and impact to create a true framework of strategic intent.

The process incorporates the complexity and multi-dimensional approach to marketing, communication and human connections – making it a complete planning methodology – through a six-step process:

  • Navigation
  • Discovery
  • Strategy
  • Ideation
  • Engagement
  • Measurement

The last section touches upon the talent crisis that has plagued the industry for long. The PR industry needs to engage more with academic institutes to ensure that their graduates are employable and their skills are in sync with what the industry requires. To bridge this gap, the industry needs to get involved with the framing of the syllabus as well as open its doors for intensive internships as part of the course.

Please click the following links to access the report – ‘India Strategic Communications Report 2015’ and infographic.