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Media depends on PR agencies for quality inputs: MSLGroup report

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MUMBAI: We have heard stories about people struggling to make a mark in their chosen fields. Somehow, the number of such stories seems to be reducing. Thanks to the public relation work!

The PR professionals work behind the scenes to bring their clients to the forefront, also making reaching out to concerned people easier and accessible.

The “communication” industry has changed over the years and has become an integral part of today’s business. Be it brands or individuals, everyone needs that additional push to make it all work. But even the wand of the PR fairies would work only when one comes with a fat wallet! Considering the economic slowdown that has impacted almost all the sectors, even the PR sector must have been affected. Let’s see how…

As per the report by MSLGroup on ‘Public Relations in India: The impact of the economic downturn and the 2014 outlook’ highlights the tough time, the paradigm shift and the new possibilities.

With moderate growth and economic situation buffeting the currency, corporations have started working on the mantra: work leaner, battle for every square inch of the market and reduce budgets.

Till two years ago, the Indian PR industry was different from what it is today. It was battling with numerous questions – how to come together to find solutions to the talent crisis? How to ensure fees are commensurate with value delivered? What can be done to underscore the sector’s strategic value and change its image from that of a media manager to brand builder?

To keep a tab on how things have changed and how the industry is being perceived, not only from outside but within itself, the group put a pulse on the finger of the industry by commissioning a national survey of PR professionals. The focus was on the business environment, the challenges a slowdown presents and ways to negotiate it.

Numerous questions were posed to the participants (67) across cities (Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Hyderabad, Ahmadabad, Pune and Mumbai). For instance when asked about which part of the marketing ecosystem has been most affected by the downtown, the respondents thought that the PR industry was second after the advertising agencies.

The report also quotes Eureka Forbes Marzin Shroff saying, “While it is true that businesses are facing turbulent times, the first thing most do is significantly reduce their marketing budget. We, however, are against this practice…. There are low-cost and even no-cost ways to market your product in order to keep your business on track even during difficult times. In view of this, our marketing budgets have not been significantly affected.”

The report also talks about the way forward – the industry needs to keep the focus on issues like adapting to new modes of communication, innovative thinking, talent, targeting the right industry, product mix and building relationship with clients.

The main learning from the responses stated in the report are:

1.There is an increase in the media’s dependence on PR consultants for coverage

2.Media is looking increasingly to PR agencies for quality inputs and content

3.Competition between media houses has made it tougher for PR consultants

The report goes on to focus on how there is a rise in the number of cheap smartphones and what it means for communications.

Since consumers are using smartphones to communicate in multiple ways, marketers need to take note of how smartphones are helping consumers in their purchase decisions. Considering that smartphones sales saw a record 167 per cent annual growth, the market was projected to hit $1 billion by the 1013 end as per industry estimates.

Click here for the full report…

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