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Public Relations in India & 2013 Outlook


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The PR industry in India is witnessing a transformation. The industry is making an extra effort to be viewed as a strategic partner, and clients are acknowledging its value. With this study, we wanted to give the industry a voice.
We commissioned an India-wide survey of PR professionals and the media to share their views on a potentially tough year for business and the hottest trends that will define the industry.

A year ago, MSLGROUP India released its first industry outlook report, highlighting such critical issues as the talent crunch, the comparatively low level of PR fees, the need for strategic and integrated communications, and the core issues hidden by the wrong perception of the industry’s size. The report sparked widespread interest and provoked much needed dialogue.
Join our conversations - @msl_group, @msl_ind, @mslgroupasia

Published in: Business

Public Relations in India & 2013 Outlook

  1. 1. Public Relationsin India Inside the Industry’s Mind and the 2013 OutlookA report by MSLGROUP IndiaPart of the Publicis Groupe
  2. 2. MSLGROUP Development programs to nurture talent. The MSLGROUP marketing and events. With more than 3,500 people acrossIndia Asia team includes 38 owned close to 100 offices worldwide, offices and 1,675 colleagues in MSLGROUP is also the largestMSLGROUP India is the nations Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, PR network in fast-growinglargest PR and Social Media Chengdu, Hong Kong, Macau, China and India. The groupnetwork. Made up of two top Taipei, Tokyo, Seoul, Singapore, offers strategic planning andagencies, MSL India and 20:20 Kuala Lumpur, Mumbai, Delhi, counsel, insight-guided thinkingMSL, MSLGROUP India Ahmedabad, Pune, Bangalore, and big, compelling ideas -combined includes 15 offices, Chennai, Hyderabad and followed by thorough execution.575 staff and an activation Kolkata. An activation network of Learn more about us at: colleagues reaches an additional +network reaching an additional 125 Indian and 100 Chinese +125 Indian cities. With a proven cities and a strong affiliate Twitter+ YouTube.track record of servicing partner network adds another 23multinational and Indian Asian cities to our reach.corporations since 1989 and 40 MSLGROUP Asias teams havesenior counsellors with 15 or more been recognized as leaders by Publicis Groupeyears of communications multiple industry groups, Publicis Groupe [Euronext Parisexperience each, clients, staff and including most recently Hanmer FR0000130577, part of the CAC MSL India (PR Agency of thebusiness partners benefit from 40 index] is the third largest Year 2011 by PRCAI), Luminousthe depth and breadth of insight communications group in the (Local Hero/Agency of the Yearand experience within its teams. world, offering a full range of 2010 by Marketing Events Asia), services and skills: digital and Genedigi Group China traditional advertising, public (Innovative China SMEs by affairs and events, media buying Forbes China), ICL MSL TaiwanMSLGROUP (Agency of the Year 2011 by and specialized communication. Its major networks are LeoAsia Taiwan Advertiser Associate), and has won more than 50 awards in Burnett, MSLGROUP, PHCG (Publicis HealthcareFor 23 years, MSLGROUPs Asia the last two years. Learn more Communications Group),team has counseled global, about us at: + Publicis Worldwide, Rosettaregional and local clients, Twitter + Facebook and Saatchi & Saatchi. VivaKi, thehelping them establish, protect Groupes media and digitaland expand their businesses and accelerator, includes Digitas,brands across this fast-growingregion. Today, MSLGROUP has MSLGROUP Razorfish, Starcom MediaVest Group and ZenithOptimedia.the largest PR, social media and MSLGROUP is Publicis Groupes Present in 104 countries,events teams in Greater China strategic communications and the Groupe employs(16 offices and 1,000 colleagues) engagement group, advisors in 53,000 professionals.and India (15 offices and 575 all aspects of communicationcolleagues) and is actively strategy: from consumer PR to |working to lead the financial communications, from Twitter:@PublicisGroupe |development of the industry public affairs to reputation Facebook:with the regular publication of management and from crisis and communications to experientialinnovative Learning & People
  3. 3. Table of contents Executive summary.................................................... 04 What our last industry audit said................................ 06 India PR survey: High on growth, big on change......... 10 What to watch out for in 2013...................................... 24 The rise and rise of digital PR..................................... 30 What the media thinks about the industry................... 36 The agency-client marriage..........................................42 India’s PR landscape....................................................48
  4. 4. The public relations (PR) It is precisely this that our report Finally, the report tacklesindustry in India is on the cusp of aims to do. In an industry where another prickly issue - thea profound change. As it finds such studies are rare, relationship between agenciesitself speeding past the MSLGROUP India conducted an and their clients. ThisInformation Age and into the India-wide survey - and, relationship is oftenConversation Age, its scope is importantly, across the executive tempestuous, but it need not beexpanding well beyond media hierarchy - to ensure that PR so. We examine the gaprelations. Its strategic value is practitioners have their say. between expectations andfinally being acknowledged. reality on both sides of the From growth prospects to the divide and suggest solutions.As businesses realise that way new business is beingone-way marketing generated to the hottest new MSLGROUP India hopes thatcommunications have limited trends, the study covers it all. this report will launchvalue and that engaging The results, as you will see, are conversations across thestakeholders through new tools heartening as well as revealing. industry and among otherlike storytelling and thought stakeholders. We want it toleadership is the key now, PR is In addition, this report become part of the process thatfinally coming of age. incorporates an equally vital leads to a unified industry dipstick survey of the way media approach towards theTherefore, it is important to - a key stakeholder - perceives challenges before us - from theunderstand the industrys state the PR industry. Mediapersons talent crunch to the gulfof mind, what it considers to be listed several suggestions that between value delivered andthe biggest hurdles to its would make for a healthier fees paid.evolution, the greatest relationship with PRopportunities and how it sees practitioners, and these are So, lets talk.itself. It is important to give the detailed in the pages that follow.industry a voice.
  5. 5. 10
  6. 6. What our last industryaudit said
  7. 7. n January 2012, MSLGROUP India released the Public The shortage - and flight - of talent remains an Relations Industry in India: Challenges, Opportunities uncrackable code. This demand-supply gap will only widen and 2012 Outlook report. with time. It must be understood that its not only about retaining talent, its also about finding the right people. Among the issues it highlighted was the rapidly-growing And its a vicious cycle - with the abysmally low retainers gap between the perception of the industrys size and and salaries, talent will always look elsewhere. the reality, and the problems that creates. The report pointed out that the focus was shifting away from the Talent is a make-or-break issue for the industry, and real challenges: PR is an underpaid industry - hence, its training could be a large part of the solution. Training talent and infrastructure issues; the misconception that needs to be conducted across all levels (at MSLGROUP agencies are making millions - giving clients the India, 2%-3% of total revenues are spent on training, opportunity to think they can afford lower fees; the which includes interaction with industry experts and overall perception problem that the industry has - it is hands-on workshops). often thought of as a collection of spin doctors rather than of strategic communications consultants. In the past, most industries joined hands with academic institutions to evolve courses that covered relevant There are other problems - too many clients view PR only subjects and produced employable professionals. Its time in terms of media relations. While the average advertising the PR industry did the same. retainer is Rs 2 crore (about $450,000) a year, PR retainers are in the Rs 20-lakh (about $45,000) range. Its not all gloom and doom, though. There is a growing realisation that PR agencies are strategic partners, not PR is a powerful business tool, but is rarely seen as one. glorified couriers sending out press releases. Clients in Clients reluctance to recognise its value, the lack of a fee-per-resource norm and under-cutting are responsible for retainers not rising. Also, PR budgets tend to be static and are the first to be slashed in bad times. Understanding the Public Relations Industry in India: Challenges, Opportunities and 2012 Outlook A report by MSLGROUP India, part of the Publicis Groupe8
  8. 8. India will eventually look to the industry for strategic skills and standards, help clients provide better briefs, raisecommunications, which offers an opportunity to offer the standards of measurement and source and manageintegrated solutions, especially because the line between talent better.PR, advertising and digital is blurring. Cost-effectivecommunications plans - those that span advertising, PR According to the 2007 report, The State of the Publicand digital media - make sense to clients too. With the Relations Industry by Paul Holmes, the growth of PRadvent of the Social Media Age, this new medium is slowly in the West has plateaued in the 9%-11% range. Inbecoming part of many companies repertoire. India, the industry is growing at least twice as fast. The last decade has been one of unprecedentedMore than anything else, its Indias economic growth that growth, consolidation and globalisation for the PRwill sustain us. The PR industry will become critical for industry in India, but few understand how this willestablished Indian companies and foreign firms looking to impact communications professionals.make inroads here. This is a significant shift for agencies, the media and clients.There are gaps in the industry, and yet there are Clients will need global thinkers with global mindsets.opportunities - partnerships. Its time to think of all Its time to gear up for that challenge.stakeholders - clients, employees, the media - as partners.The industrys success will depend on how it chooses andmanages these relationships. This is where we can raise our PR is a powerful business tool, but is rarely seen as one. Clients reluctance to recognise its value, the lack of a fee-per-resource norm and under-cutting are responsible for retainers not rising. Also, PR budgets tend to be static and are the first to be slashed in bad times. More than anything else, its Indias economic growth that will sustain us. The PR industry will become critical for established Indian companies and foreign firms looking to make inroads here. 9
  9. 9. India PR survey:High on growth,big on change
  10. 10. or too long, the Indian PR industry hasnt had a voice. While practitioners grapple with the many challenges before it - from a fee-value mismatch to a talent crisis - the lack of a strong industry association and cohesion within the industry has meant that the issues rarely get debated. As a result, the solutions - while obvious - and a unified approach remain out of reach. After the release of MSLGROUP Indias Understanding the Public Relations Industry in India: Challenges, Opportunities and 2012 Outlook report, the need to tap the industrys mind was clear. There was an urgent need to understand what the industry collectively felt about its growth prospects, the way ahead amid the strong economic headwinds and how it would evolve in a fast-changing communications landscape. MSLGROUP India commissioned the Bangalore-based market research and analytics agency Leadcap Ventures to carry out a survey of PR practitioners across India to identify the challenges that concern them the most, the opportunities that theyre eyeing and the evolutionary path they expect to walk. The survey - conducted in September 2012 - aims to finally launch the debate that the industry so badly needs. MSLGROUP India hopes it will be - to paraphrase playwright Arthur Miller - the equivalent of the industry talking to itself. No stopping growth Methodology The central theme that emerged was one of optimism -  Sample size: 100, across three levels 51% of the respondents were bullish, asserting that the  Senior: Owners, directors, branch heads, industry would grow more than 20% over the next 12 managing directors (38 respondents) months. Another 28% felt growth would clock between  Middle: Senior managers, administrative managers 10% and 20%. (31 respondents)  Junior: Assistant executives, trainees, Expectations within the industry remain high despite HR executives (31 respondents) slowing growth and global financial turmoil. Its also a sign that the industry feels it is coming of age and that the  Geography: Six metros strategic value of PR is finally being recognised in a  Mumbai (17 respondents) landscape dominated thus far by advertising.  Delhi (17 respondents)  Bangalore (16 respondents)  Chennai (17 respondents)  Hyderabad (16 respondents)  Kolkata (17 respondents)  Survey included quantitative and qualitative questions12
  11. 11. What growth do you expect for your agency over the next 12 months? All figures in % 51 53 32 68 28 36 34 13 21 13 32 19 Total Top Level Middle Level Low Level <10% 10%-20% >20%It’s no surprise, that 53% were full of optimism about the next year; 43% were somewhat optimistic. The pessimists – only4% of those surveyed – were badly outnumbered. Are you optimistic about the next year for business? 4 All figures in % 51 6 6 53 47 55 58 43 47 39 42 21 13 Total Top Level Middle Level Low Level Somewhat Optimistic Highly Optmistic Somewhat Pessimistic PessimisticThe bedrock of the respondents confidence was the fact that an overwhelming number of clients have left their PR budgetsuntouched, despite the tough economic climate. While 63% of respondents said their clients PR budgets are intact, 33%said the budgets have in fact increased. 13
  12. 12. What have your clients done with their PR budgets? All figures in % 33 51 27 47 26 63 62 74 53 4 11 21 Total Top 13 Level Middle Level Low Level Reduced somewhat Cut Drastically Untouched Increased The implication: Corporations are understanding the role of No wonder that a significant amount of new business is PR as a brand builder and in engaging stakeholders. The days being generated from existing clients. While 61% said that of one-way communication between stakeholder and the overall quantum of new business was satisfactory, business, the industry feels, are fast receding. "PR will take on 25% said more than a fifth of new business was coming a more mainstream role and drive a brands perception and from existing clients. About 31% of respondents said that marketing exercises. It is an invaluable tool in the shaping and 15%-20% of new business was coming from clients already execution of marketing strategies. As such, PR is no longer an on their rosters, while 41% said existing clients accounted allied function but an increasingly vital part of the marketing for 10%-15% of new business. mix," said Suranjana Ghosh, head (marketing), CNBC TV18. How much 61 All figures in % new business are you getting? 66 61 30 57 35 26 28 8 8 13 1 3 3 Total Top Level Middle Level Low Level Insignificant A little Satisfactory A lot14
  13. 13. How much of your new business is from existing clients? All figures in % 41 31 25 43 47 30 32 39 24 25 22 29 3 3 6 Total Top Level Middle Level Low Level <10% 10%-15% 15%-20% >20%The exuberance percolated to respondents’ expectations This is significant because allied industries, such asabout the jobs the industry would create – 59% felt that media, have seen a reduction in staff counts over the paststaff numbers would rise over the next year, bucking the 24 months. While there have been only a few drastic cuts,overall cautious hiring trends in the Indian economy. a few media houses are struggling and austerityAnother 41% felt there would be no layoffs. measures are expected soon. Do you expect All figures in % staff numbers to rise over the next 41 12 months? 53 39 29 59 47 61 71 Total Top Level Middle Level Low Level Will Rise Remain Steady Reduce 15
  14. 14. The greatest growth, say respondents will come - As Ghosh said: "Brands are reassessing their relationship expectedly - from digital media over the next five years, with PR agencies. From a client-vendor equation, PR now but theres also great emphasis on integrated offerings. needs to work more as a partner/strategic advisor for The first edition of this report had indicated that integrated brands. With a greater understanding of brands long-term communications were the way of the future. The report goals and current market realities, PR should be able to said in the chapter From traditional PR to integrated cross this hurdle more effectively." She added that strategic communications: agencies could look to add services such as market intelligence, thought leadership and - critically - "Clients in India will eventually look to their agencies for "seamless PR strategies" (integrated offerings, in strategic communications, not simply for media relations. other words) "that straddle traditional as well as new This is already happening. Companies such as Wipro ask their media options". agencies to help them understand how best to communicate their messages and present them in a context that is Sanjay Tripathy, EVP and head (marketing and direct meaningful for clients, analysts, investors and journalists. channels), HDFC Life identified internal communications - as part of the integrated offerings bouquet - as an important “Since the Indian PR industry is still nascent, there is an opportunity. "The PR industry can play a significant role in opportunity to offer integrated solutions, especially as the internal communications. Today, every brand has line between public relations, advertising and digital is large-scale focus on employee branding, employee already starting to blur. retention, employee engagement and communications. “As a result, many agencies have invested in creative and Employees are critical stakeholders for brands. The PR digital arms. Cost-effective communications plans - that industry must add this to their offerings to enhance their span advertising, PR and digital media - make sense to scope and services," he said. clients too.” Among the verticals to watch in 2013, respondents The industry clearly agrees - the second highest source of identified digital media as the hottest, followed by lifestyle growth, said the respondents, will be integrated offerings. and technology. What will offer the greatest growth over the next five years? 2 All figures in % 15 31 2 3 16 10 20 35 19 37 52 45 52 61 Total Top Level Middle Level Low Level Digital/Socal Integrated offerings More aggressive NBD Vanilla PR16
  15. 15. Hottest verticals for 2013 Digital/Socal Lifestyle 1% 3% Technology 6% 9% Media and entertainment 48% 13% FMCG 20% Healthcare Others Retail Automobiles Manufacturing Banking, finanical services and insuranceWhile these are in line with expectations, industry which would include banking and insurance, are beingexperts believe that some of them will jump to the top watched closely by the industry. All these sectors areover time. Healthcare, in particular, followed by retail - growing fast and are seeing increasing investment. InIndia has recently thrown open this sector, allowing some cases, foreign majors are expected to make angreater foreign direct investment - and financial services, entry soon.Overcoming challengesWhile the overall mood within the industry is bright, there is  Media: This was the most critical challenge, feltgreat awareness of the formidable challenges that it faces. respondents across all levels. There were multiple issuesTo an open-ended question on what to expect in the near on their minds - from the sweeping changes thatfuture, respondents listed five main challenges. traditional media is dealing with to the emerging social media space. "We will face serious challenges if we do not adapt to the new media culture," warned one respondent. In traditional media, respondents felt that the rise in the number of media houses, especially the mushrooming TV channels, is posing a problem. Dealing with these large numbers, and the increasing fragmentation of the audience, is tough. Besides, respondents pointed out, the "fight for space in publications" is getting more intense. The insertion of social media into the mix has changed the communications game. Respondents felt that, while adapting to it is crucial, it is also challenging.  Digital competition: In keeping with the above sentiment, PR practitioners across all levels were 17
  16. 16. certain that agencies would need to rapidly digitise and that the demand for traditional PR was falling. While build expertise in that field. This is because several knowledge of emerging trends was important, the clients now put digital at the centre of their industry would have to find a balance - pointing again communications strategy. to how critical adaptability is. While it offers the biggest growth area, it is also a huge A few in the junior ranks felt that whatever the changes, change from the way PR works today. "[Adapting to] traditional PR would not die out. It would, they said, digital [communications] products will pose the biggest continue to be an important part of the burgeoning challenge," said a respondent. communications bouquet.  Technology: The challenge of technology is the  Perception of the PR industry: This was another challenge of the unknown. Just as social media crept concern raised by the first edition of this report in up on them and suddenly became all pervasive, PR January 2012. Too many people, it pointed out, thought practitioners were unsure of what new breakthrough of the industry as one large spin doctor or fixer. Not technologies would emerge in the future and the impact that would have on the industry. Adaptability, many understood its strategic value. As one they said, would become critical to survival. Equally respondent said: "Our industry is not very popular." important was the readiness for an "uncommon Respondents - mainly senior level PR practitioners - felt change" in communications technology. "Technology is that the problem is two-fold. First, its about creating our concern as people like new things, new upgrades to awareness about the industry in the minds of potential every technology," said a respondent. clients. Second, there is a lack of understanding within the  Innovation: The next stage in the evolution of PR industry itself of market trends. would revolve around innovation, most respondents As a solution, many felt that agencies should focus on agreed. Terms like "new avenues", "new-era products", branding within the industry, as well as on quality. Other "new trends" and "ideas" were used regularly. areas to concentrate on included innovation and training. It was generally unclear to most, however, what it  Other challenges: Among the other pressing means in practice. They are under pressure, said many challenges, talent topped the priority list - especially respondents, to come up with "the next big thing" but among industry leaders - followed by the often there is a dearth of creative minds that can come up tempestuous agency-client relationship. Both these with such path-breaking ideas. This concern was mainly issues deserve great attention and are addressed expressed at the middle and junior levels. A fresh separately later in the report. approach to PR, they felt, could become a make-or-break issue. While increasing competition was a concern too, many believed that it was necessary and helped improve Many respondents, especially industry seniors, said service quality. Top-of-mind issues The talent crunch The first edition of the PR report had highlighted the talent years. If salary costs become prohibitive, PR businesses shortage that the PR industry is facing. The report said: will suffer.” “If youre part of the PR industry, youll know how acute the This was underscored by the respondents. What was talent shortage is. As firms scramble for competent thought-provoking was how they ranked potential solutions people, salaries get inflated. With fees already so low, to the problem. profitability is affected. “This demand-supply gap can only widen over the next few18
  17. 17. How should the industry deal with The education system is not geared to the industrys needs - this was highlighted in the first edition of this report too,the talent crunch? and repeated by the surveys respondents - and its time PR agencies collaborated with training institutes to evolve ATTRIBUTE WEIGHT* RANK a curriculum that makes their students employable. Several other industries in India - such as information Stringent selection process 3.2 1 technology - have collaborated with academia in the past and there is no reason the PR industry cant do the same. Invest in training 2.6 2 Offer fast-track growth 2.3 3 Recommendations  The industry should standardise salary ranges. Offer higher salaries 1.9 4 Incentives, such as stock options, need to be worked* Average of the ranks into compensation packages.  Employee growth is a priority – as indicated in theIt was revealing that raising salaries ranked lowest as a survey – and it must be planned and communicatedpotential solution, while a structured, stringent selection early to them.process ranked first. Planned, consistent investment in  Mentoring is conspicuous by its absence. It is up totraining ranked second. agency heads to ensure that talented people have aIt was obvious that money is not the main motivator. go-to person within the firm. These mentors can helpCNBC TV18s Ghosh pointed out: "By spearheading thought starters find their feet and share knowledge that wouldleadership initiatives, PR can create opportunities for otherwise take months or years to acquire.attracting a more involved cadre of professionals. An  Training must be implemented at all levels. Seniorsattitudinal change - both, on the parts of agencies and within the firm can be tapped for this, and externalprofessionals, where PR goes beyond getting coverage but trainers hired when as an involved stakeholder for their clients - will help." 19
  18. 18. The way ahead When asked how they were dealing with a shift towards creation on campus. Even the juniormost in the industry knowledge-based communication, 41% said the focus was need to know how business is done and what impacts it and on thought leadership to raise awareness and skills. its reputation. Industry needs to diffuse its focus from means (press conferences, press releases) and focus on Many corporations across the world are recognising the how business objectives can be met through need to build their brand structure on a foundation of communications. Not all industries require knowledge. Brands now know that they need to build standardised services.” relationships with their stakeholders to remain relevant and matter to the communities in which they operate. They also Relevant, shareable thought leadership through tools such recognise that they no longer have a captive audience as whitepapers, videos and blogs can help brands become through traditional media. the trusted authorities in their industries and increase conversion rates. Aman Abbas, head of corporate communications, KPMG India, said: “PR practitioners should understand business, This is an opportunity for PR, felt the respondents. Support not just communications. Unfortunately, the orientation of for thought leadership was the highest among senior staff PR students is only towards transactional campaign (43%) and the juniors (48%). All figures in % How are you dealing with the shift towards 16 knowledge-based PR? 20 8 10 31 23 19 23 30 19 19 19 Investing in thought leadership to raise awareness and skills 41 43 31 48 Hiring staff with competencies relevant to the change Indifferent Investing in training Total Top Level Middle Level Low Level Bridging the fees-value gulf While the average annual advertising retainer is Rs 2 crore Siddhartha Mukherjee, Business Head Eikona had a ($4,00,000), PR retainers hover around Rs 20 lakh different perspective: “The PR industry needs a single ($40,000). Industry veterans said in the first edition of this [measurement] currency to create oneness and initiate report that many clients are reluctant to recognise the value healthy dialogues between corporations and their of PR. Also, theres no fee-per-resource norm and consultancies. With this, wealth will automatically follow. under-cutting is rampant, which is partly responsible for Clients/Investors look for effective ideas and their retainers not rising. scientific measurability. While pointing out that the industry is multi-layered, with “Let us no longer boast of high annual industry growth services offered at different prices, Sudha Singh, former rates on small denominators. Here is where PR agencies executive director (operations) at Vaishnavi Corporate have paved the way. Starting with transforming into Communications, had pointed out: "Most Indian agencies consultancies, their thoughts and initiatives have changed short-sell their services for fear of not getting business. the PR matrix. Today, this tool, which was largely confined There is an opportunity for us to review this as an industry." to the PRO/corporate communications desk, is showing its20
  19. 19. usefulness to the internal clients of this same desk -  Given the shift in communications technology, somemarketing, financial and HR... and the CEO’s office.” suggested that digital become the primary mode of brand outreach.Recommendations  While some seniors said that budgets are entirely in Respondents said that the focus should be on clients hands and little can be done about it, others felt improving quality of work and innovation, which in turn that a premium could be charged for the adoption of would help them push for fees that match value. new communications formats and services.Performance measurementThere is a growing feeling within the PR industry that the Putting outcomes before output was an idea that found thebenchmarks are all wrong. While goal-setting and greatest support among mid-level and junior executives.measurement are part and parcel of every service, Given that it is they who will eventually graduate to themeasurement should include new media, rise in awareness senior ranks and be in a position to effect the requiredamong stakeholders and impact on business results. change, it is only a matter of time before new performance measurement systems are introduced and becomeThe survey showed a marked preference for measurement the norm.based on outcomes (impact on business results) overoutput (number of media mentions, press releases sent As HDFC Lifes Tripathy said: "The industry must workout). While 63% preferred benchmarks based on together to establish a standard measurement matrix.outcomes, 20% felt the final word should be left to the EAV [equivalent of advertising value] is obsolete in theclients way of measuring performance. Only 17% felt that West; reach is the key now. Without standardisation,volume of media coverage is the best option. results remain fragmented and return on investment remains unknown." How do you improve Recommendations PR performance measurement?  Measure outcomes, not outputs: These include shifts in awareness, purchase behaviour, corporate All figures in % reputation, employee engagement and investment 63 decisions. Quantitative approaches such as benchmark-and-tracking surveys can be supplemented with qualitative methods to spot changes in purchase 75 68 behaviour and preferences.  Media measurement: Measuring the number of 49 20 mentions is generally meaningless. Media 17 27 26 24 22 measurement should include audience impressions, 9 16 10 quality of the media coverage (tone, credibility, relevance of medium).  Social media: Right now, its mostly about how many Total Top Level Middle Level Low Level likes have been achieved on Facebook or the number of Twitter followers. But its not about the numbers; its Measuring outcomes, not output Clients should have final word on criteria about managing reputations. The emphasis should be Measuring spread of media coverage works just fine on responding quickly, listening and engaging. 21
  20. 20. Bubbling under Digital technology has made the world a smaller place and brand monologue is giving way to engagement (multiple conversations on multiple platforms). Buying behaviour is changing rapidly, as is the way stakeholders - consumers, suppliers, employees, governments, communities - perceive brands. Amid all this, there are five perceptible trends emerging in the practice of PR:  Visual communication: Respondents believe that, since 65% of their audiences are visual listeners, this trend is the most critical. Good graphic representations are critical to serve clients better, they felt in response to an open-ended question. This is why a rising number of communications include infographics, attractive visuals or visual depictions of critical information.  Storytelling: There was a virtual consensus that brands that tell their stories the best will be the ones that stand out. Storytelling is only now being used as a craft in marketing communications with organisations as diverse as Coca-Cola and NASA adopting it to convey their key messages to their stakeholders. Respondents agreed that it is a critical element of PR, from client engagement to ensuring the desired outcomes. A key insight was that respondents felt the use of storytelling increases audience trust, eventually creating loyal customers.  Proactive monitoring: The discussions focused mainly on social media - from evaluating conversations to identifying the issues that matter to a brands audience. Not surprisingly, it was junior PR executives who strongly felt that this was important to the industry.  Adaptability: Recognising change as a constant, respondents felt that adapting to new tools and trends is not an option but an imperative. They felt that the ability and agility to adapt to an ever-changing environment would spell the difference between survival and obsolescence for agencies.  Quantification: Tying it with their thoughts on performance measurement, respondents repeated that the industry should focus on measuring outcomes, not outputs. In the case of visual communication, for instance, many said, measuring audience comprehension should be the norm.22
  21. 21. 23
  22. 22. What to watchout for in 2013
  23. 23. ts been a difficult year. The economic slowdown, In 2013, more organisations will recognise the need amplified by policy paralysis in the government and to marry marketing with reputation management. a volatile political situation, hit the PR industry hard. Engagement has always been a key component of Communications budgets were slashed and many the PR business, but in the Conversation Age of corporations preferred to work on project basis rather today communicators are moving from monologue than on retainers. Given the tough business environment, to dialogue. those that persisted with retainers demanded more bang The cornerstone of this engagement is content. Not for the buck. just creating it, but also managing it. Content that While the PR industry managed to keep its head well above informs and encourages conversations is relevant to the water, 2012 was a tough year. the target audience. It is shareable and it strengthens customer loyalty. Corporations as well as PR firms are Will 2013 be better? Given the governments renewed now employing teams to specifically produce vigour for economic reform and Indias inherent economic high-quality content. restraints, the outlook remains optimistic despite the uncertainty created by political turmoil. Shashank Sinha, general manager and head (marketing of direct sales), Eureka Forbes, said: "Communication is the Digital communications - dominated by social media - fine art of storytelling. Telling a good story first involves constitute the biggest opportunity for 2013 and weve understanding the person listening to it - their interests, dedicated a separate chapter to it later in this report. worries and their lives. Listening is the first step to good While the survey earlier in the report identified major trends, storytelling. Unfortunately, most of us seem to have no there are others that MSLGROUP India has identified. time to listen. This is the key for the PR industry." Among those that you cant miss is the evolution of content as a branding and communications tool. Industry experts believe that nothing sells better than a good story. However, Engagement has always they caution, its not just about telling a story but about engaging your consumer. The key, they say, is to make your been a key component of story his/her own story. the PR business, but in Storytelling is also important as the realisation grows that the Conversation Age of its not enough to have profit as your sole objective. today communicators are Businesses need a greater purpose. The community expects that if youre making millions, you need to make moving from monologue millions happy as well. Consumers today relate to brands to dialogue. that show heart. Social responsibility has moved from mere support for projects to working towards social sustainability. It is the digital revolution that has changed the way Brand journalism companies are communicating. Consumers today For PR professionals, 2012 marked a widening of the experience products and services online before buying scope of work and a deepening of the partnership with them. From researching a products specifications to business leaders, decision makers and subject experts to looking for reviews, consumers rely on the online space. benefit from the new wave of communications. It gives them a sense of empowerment as they now have26
  24. 24. trends, PR needs to always be several stepsa forum to share ahead and demonstrate thoughttheir experiences and at leadership and innovative solutions that will help differentiate their clients marketingthe same time become influencers efforts in a crowded space."for a brand. PR firms are producing a varietyof content, from social media campaigns to white papers Consumer marketing and corporate reputation building will no longer be mutually exclusive as consumers haveand online games, to shape this consumer experience. greater access to information about the companies behindEarned media is now making way for owned media, the products they buy.enabling companies to take control of their brand storyrather than relying on traditional media. Globally, we have already seen several brands, such as Volkswagen, McDonalds, Coca-Cola and Pepsi - as well asCNBC TV18s Ghosh said: "A PR agency mirrors the non-corporate brands such as NASA - using engagingpersonality of the brand it represents and is a content tailored to their purposes to reach out to stakeholders.responsible brand custodian. The need for the agency to In India, this is nascent, though automobile-to-softwareexhibit immense agility and alertness in todays dynamic conglomerate Mahindra & Mahindra and the Tata Grouptimes is critical. As disseminators of information and have taken an early lead in this. 27
  25. 25. Businesses with purpose  Trust deficit: People have access to more information than ever before and there is a lack of organisational trust. In fact, trust in all organisations, including corporations and governments, is at an all-time low. Most organisations realise that corporate reputation and consumer activation are interlinked as consumers become critical of communications campaigns that are not rooted in authentic, long-term commitment.  People power: People have new sources of power and many believe that only they can come up with innovative solutions to our most pressing problems, not governments or corporations. Building and communicating purpose-led business strategies must put people and co-creation at the centre.  Quest for meaning: People are searching for meaningful connections with communities and organisations around a shared purpose and expect organisations to enable such connections. Carol Cone, global practice chair of Edelman Purpose, told Organisations need to inspire, organise and energise the Holmes Report that purpose, which she defines as all stakeholders to collaboratively work towards their "an organisations values in action, manifest through a shared purpose. variety of actions ranging from materials sourcing, supply In the Information Age, a product doesnt always speak for chain partners, CSR reporting, ethics and governance", will itself. The greater a companys transparency, the more be increasingly important in 2012, with companies focused connected its customers feel. It is this connection that on how purpose can be "strategically integrated and makes consumers believe in a brand. operationalised" throughout their organisations. This is Liz Kaplow, president of New Yorks Kaplow Communications, expected to take on a much larger scale in 2013. said in the Holmes Report: "The modern consumer wants MSLGROUPs PurPle is one such initiative. The group to know the brand behind the product and the company believes that the meaning of being a good corporate behind the brand - and they have the resources to find out. citizen has changed from Green (environment) to Blue This means that companies now have to ask themselves (sustainability) to PurPle (purpose + people). who are we and what do we stand for? Naturally, this has Tomorrows successful PurPle brands will be the ones that made authentic CSR an integral part of a companys work collaboratively with communities, governments, forward planning and initiatives. customers and organisations to co-create solutions to the "Authentic CSR means it is integrated into the companys worlds toughest problems. Moving from corporate social corporate DNA, so that it is evident in everything the responsibility (CSR) to collaborative social innovation will company does. This includes marketing and social media, drive more rapid and meaningful change in society and in CEO thought leadership, employee relations, and more. business, because with collaboration and co-creation comes Authentic CSR is not about whitewashing a companys shared value and a mutually beneficial shared purpose. image. Its about supporting humanity, being passionate The intersection of three shifts in the business about a cause, and connecting emotionally with consumers environment has made it imperative for organisations to who at the end of the day want to know that companies bring purpose and people together: care about the world and the people in it."28
  26. 26. Healthcare communication offers a great opportunity to help improve medical treatment/therapeutic adherence.Healthcare is expanding swiftly in terms of revenue and Twitter, in particular, can play a role in the dialogueemployment in India. According to ‘Healthcare in India – between doctors and patients as it represents a tool forEmerging Market Report 2007’, authored by faster connections.PriceWaterhouse Coopers, “during the 1990s, Indianhealthcare grew at a compounded annual rate of 16%. Today,  Most managers also viewed blogs as important inthe value of the sector is more than $34 billion. This healthcare communications, potentially impacting howtranslates to $34 per capita, or roughly 6% of GDP. By 2012, influential doctors and key opinion leaders are on the web.India’s healthcare sector is projected to grow to nearly $40 A corporate communication head (name withheld on request)billion. The private sector accounts for more than 80% of observed: “Specific to healthcare, there will be more pressuretotal healthcare spending in India.” because of changes in the regulations that govern the sector.Globally, life expectancy is on the rise and with growing Communication will be scrutinised even more and it will be aawareness about healthier lifestyles, healthcare products greater challenge to drive the PR agenda using traditionalare striking gold. It helps that healthcare is a priority for media. Building credibility will be tougher than ever.”the government If high-level appointments are any indicator, the healthcareFor PR companies, there lies a great opportunity to partner opportunity is clearly evident at a global level too. Recently,with healthcare firms – as well as allied verticals, such as Shellie Winkler was named as MSLGROUP’s North Americadiagnostics and pharmaceuticals – to bring about a lifestyle practice director for health and corporate practices, whilechange in customers. Amanda Sefton was named global healthcare practice director at Ketchum. Meanwhile, US-based Finn PartnersPascal Beucler, senior vice-president and chief strategy launched Finn Partners Health, a dedicated national practiceofficer, MSLGROUP, wrote: “Firms in the healthcare sector at led by Miriam Weber Miller, a 20-year veteran of healthcarelarge need to not only rediscover their social purpose, but to marketing and communications.also put it at the core of their businesses, and to consider itwhen engaging with all stakeholders.” It won’t be long before high-level appointments are made in India too to lead the healthcare practice.MSLGROUP recently conducted the survey ‘You Share, WeCare!’ that outlined the views of 70 managers across Europe.The importance of digital communications came out stronglyin the survey. Managers were aware of its impact on theirindustry, and believed that companies needed to becomestorytellers – creating contexts to explain to people whatthey do, and to highlight the company’s social values. Thesemanagers want to become protagonists in the debate abouthealth. The findings showed: Nearly two-thirds of the managers interviewed thought that social media offered an opportunity. Most managers believed that the web will dominate healthcare conversations in the future. Patients are key stakeholders in the healthcare ecosystem, thanks to the digital revolution. In this vein, 61 managers out of 70 thought that digital 29
  27. 27. The rise and riseof digital PR
  28. 28. imply put, digital PR is the use of the internet to The recent Rise of Indias Digital Consumer study by promote campaigns and to share information. comScore found that India is the fastest growing online However, its not as simple as it sounds. market and that its explosive online growth will continue, as most online categories have below-average penetration Increasingly, small and big businesses are embracing the compared to global averages. digital space as a strong marketing tool. The success of a company depends on the network of people it reaches out The internet has empowered people by giving them an to, not only in terms of numbers but also the right engaging platform to express their opinions, share their messaging. It is extremely important to cast that net wide; likes and dislikes and post their reviews. These opinions can the higher the number of people that know about your both, draw traffic to your website or digress it. This makes products and services, the higher the probability of you potential advertisers out of visitors to your site. being talked about in the social space. Experts suggest that consumer behaviour today is "With the advent of social and digital media, every brand influenced by the digital space and understanding it has the ability to publish its own story and every consumer well will help in devising the right strategies to maximise and influencer has the opportunity to respond," Kaplow, of the opportunity. Kaplow Communications, said in the Holmes Report. This The comScore study pointed out that 75% of the Indian presents "an even more exciting opportunity to use social audience is below the age of 35 years, making it one of the and digital channels to get to know your audiences better, worlds youngest online populations. to listen to what they are saying and what they want, and deliver even better service". Unique visitors growth comparison 15+ age, home and work users Unique visitors (in millions) July 2011 July 2012 5% 41% 20% 6% 48.9 52 49.1 59 322 336 44.5 62.6 Brazil Russia China India * Source: ‘Rise of India’s Digital Consumer’ study by comScore32
  29. 29. Demographic distribution - youth driving growth 1.3 55+ yrs 1.8 2.4 45-54 yrs 3.6 35-44 yrs 6.5 9.7 75% { (male+female) 15.3 13.7 25-34 yrs 15-24 yrs 23.7 21.9 } Demographic distribution of UVs in % * Source: ‘Rise of India’s Digital Consumer’ study by comScore. UV: Unique visitorsFor those in the communication business, therefore, the its use. At each stage, consumers are relying on socialdynamics of delivering a message have changed. media to enhance their experience. Product endorsementsMarketers have to do away with monologue as the digital no longer bear the same significance - its othermedia has created the space for a multilogue where consumers views that seal the deal.there is conversation happening all around us. It is these HDFC Lifes Tripathy pointed out: "This means acquiringconversations that are shaping brands. more relevant skill sets, more learnings, and moreConsumers are no longer buying products, but the creativity and innovation. More customised, value-drivenexperience. This experience begins at the consideration PR campaigns in the digital space would be the keystage, continues to the buying of the product and finally focus in 2013."Change in the PR practitionerAll this has significant implications for the PR practitioner. stage, the PR practitioner will need to get involved inThe digital space is an addition to the communications the business challenge before the client. He/she willarmoury. The new role broadly involves: need to truly understand the array of tools at his/her Advising: "We believe the best course of action is..." disposal. There is a critical need to involve Counselling and deriving meaning: "We believe the consumers, motivate and involve them and seek their best course of action is... and heres why." At this feedback to make them feel empowered. 33
  30. 30. Measuring effectiveness All online activities need to be understood in terms of their "I foresee more and more activities around the digital return on investment, that is, measurable results are the key. space," said HDFC Lifes Tripathy. "With shrinking marketing While it is possible to measure web traffic, marketers are budgets across industries, companies would remain sceptical about the value of online PR. steadfast on value-added, cost-effective mediums for engagement and connection with their customers and Herein lies a big opportunity. PR professionals need to other key stakeholders. The digital boom cannot be ignored impress upon clients that embracing digital PR would be an by any brand." additional resource that strengthens the objectives of traditional PR. Industry observers believe that digital PR is no Among the key values that companies will need to longer a new strategy but part of the regular hygiene factors. emphasise online are: transparency (the greater the scrutiny you allow, the more trusted you are), dialogue (one-way PR companies can use multiple online forums like blogs, communication is in steep decline) and engagement (invite Facebook and Twitter to engage and sustain public interest. consumers to be part of the brand). Podcasts, publishing information online, and tailored online media campaigning are also fast gaining popularity. All these tools can be tangibly measured. A Holmes Report article summed this up: "Today, the brand is no longer determined by what the company says about itself; its determined by all the things that are said about the company by others, in the real world (over garden fences, in hair salons, the supermarket checkout line, over drinks and dinners) and in digital and social media." How to optimise social media in PR  Tell a story: Audiences need to identify with a piece of from related industries who are more active online. information. People are naturally drawn to experiences Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin are increasingly being that they can relate to. Ensure that your data has statistics, used by individuals and corporations to connect with a visuals, testimonials that lend credence to your pitch. wider network. Through the right networking, you can influence a media mention.  Be a good listener: A digital platform leaves enough room for scrutiny, so be open to all kinds of feedback.  Build brand loyalty: Engage your audience by creating Social media is a two-way street; people will expect content that is not only informative but which holds its your response to their communication. A well-initiated interest. Curate the content in a manner that makes conversation often inspires participation and a your audience champion your cause. Ensure that you have the audience captive on its first visit; you may not well-moderated one can help your purpose. get a second chance.  Be earnest: Be consistent with your messaging and  Create a social media newsroom: A robust online always share accurate information. With the great presence makes it easier for journalists to gather volumes of information at their fingertips, your information that can beef up their stories. The right mix audience will always cross-check the authenticity of of interactive elements, videos and photos provides a what you claim. Any discrepancies will deal a blow to 360-degree view of your organisation. It also gives them your credibility. a chance to connect with other bloggers/visitors to  Reach out to social media influencers: Your network verify information. Make this your central resource for must have bloggers, influencers, journalists and writers information. As a PR professional, it is vital to stay34
  31. 31. abreast of the evolution of news consumption. Digital digital woven in from Step 1, PR also needs to reflect the presence is definitely a defining change. same technical dexterity and immediacy. In this era of instant feedback, PR is a vital ally to manage the responsesGhosh, of CNBC TV18, said: "The digital medium is no a brand evokes on its social media or online platforms.longer a retrospective or force-fitted part of the overall Hence, PR needs to leverage the viral ability of digital andbrand marketing strategy. It is an integral part of the amplify a brands message effectively."marketing mix. Akin to marketing strategies which now haveDigital media trends High-growth categories  Unprecedented growth in travel, search, social YoY Growth % July 2012 Reach % networking and news, surpassing worldwide Games 60 41 averages News 54  Growth to continue in 80.3 retail, games and health, Search as they are below 43 91.5 worldwide averages Retail 43 59.9  The key drivers are Heatlh content and accessibility 43 21.1  The coupons category Social networking 43 95.5 has shrunk by 38% as players have moved to Travel 41 44 allied verticals * Source: Rise of Indias Digital Consumer study by comScore. Graph based on July 2011 and Jul 2012 data for 15+ age, home and work users Online video soars  Online video viewers in India have grown by over Video Viewers (in millions) 37.3% Min per viewer Videos viewed (in billion)  The engagement has 459 reached 3.4 billion 455 videos every month 433 373  52% of the videos belong to the entertainment category  YouTube’s top channels are Bollywood-related 32.4 34.8 42.3 44.5 1.9 3.4  Video advertising has Jun 2011 Oct 2011 Mar 2012 Jun 2012 Jun 2011 Jun 2012 grown proportionally with growing inventory * Source: ‘Rise of India’s Digital Consumer’ study by comScore. Graph based on July 2011 and Jul 2012 data for 15+ age, home and work users 35
  32. 32. What the mediathinks aboutthe industry