Tue, Oct 25, 2016 | updated 10:52 PM IST

Public relations integral to brand communications, says PRCAI

Updated: Sep 23, 2016 18:11 IST

New Delhi [India], Sept.23 (ANI-Newsvoir): The Public Relations Consultants Association of India (PRCAI), the leading trade association of PR consultancies in India, along with Feedback Business Consulting today released the country's first comprehensive report on the PR industry titled State of Indian Public Relations Industry: 2016.

According to the findings of the report, the industry more than doubled in size between FY08 and FY16 from Rs. 490 crores in FY08 to Rs. 1,120 crores in FY16.

The reports further states that the growth will substantially increase in the coming years and the industry will be worth Rs. 2,100 crores by FY20, almost double its present size.

Increased maturity in public relations has allowed the industry to become more integral to brand communications.

The survey also reports that the information and communication technology (ICT) sector is the biggest clientele for PR firms in the country.

The sector accounted for over 20% of the revenue generated by PR firms, closely followed by financial services and the FMCG sector which accounted for 12 percent and 9 percent of the revenue respectively.

The PR industry, which grew by 19 percent this year as compared to 13 percent last year, is on a strong growth trajectory and is expected to play a much more structural role in delivering brand messages. More brands are waking to the potential that PR has to offer and are moving towards it to deliver a unified message to all stakeholders.

Commenting on the findings of the report, Nitin Mantri, President PRCAI and CEO, Avian Media said, "Storytelling will be key for brands going forward. Delivering content - driven integrated campaigns which can engage and captivate varied audiences will be crucial to the survival of brands in the near future.

The sources of revenue in the industry have diversified beyond public relations and public affairs. New services such as digital and social media communications, along with crisis and CSR management, have enabled strong growth of the industry which is expected to double in size by 2020 and be worth over Rs. 2,100 crores.

Constant innovation and smart adaptation to the changing landscape are indispensable for PR firms today.

PR practitioners are also waking to the huge potential, majority of which is still untapped, that lies in the fast growing rural markets. Despite limited retail access, consumer demand is booming in these markets, being fueled by mobile transactions."

Commenting on the findings of the report, Deepak. H, Head Emerging Sectors BU, Feedback Consulting said, "Owing to the growth in the PR industry, there has been significant increase in the number of boutique firms, while consolidation is happening at the top of the pyramid. PR companies are positive about the future outlook of the industry and estimate a 15 - 16 percent year on year growth in the next four years.

Start-ups, Sports & Entertainment are seen as emerging business segment, while the industry is largely driven by the Services & Manufacturing Segment. The biggest and common challenge in the industry is acquiring the right set of talent and retaining them.

The talent gap is seen across the skill areas required in the PR industry. Research and Innovative lead individuals with marketing and Business Development ability are highly desired skills as indicated by companies during the survey."

While the core services - public relations and public affairs - continue to be biggest source of revenue for PR consultancies, together generating over 70 percent of the total revenue, the rapid growth seen at the digital and social media front is indicative of the changing dynamics of the PR industry. Brands are also fortifying themselves against possible negative consumer sentiment in the future by investing more towards crisis and risk management and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) management.

Clients today are slowly shifting towards a project based relationship with the firm over the retainer based model. While today 74% of the total revenue comes from retainer businesses and 26 percent from project businesses,this dynamic is expected to change in the near future. The increasingly competitive agency landscape and mushrooming of freelancers has increased the options for the brands.

PR consultancies have been pushing for more investment towards training and skill development to bridge the talent gap that the industry currently faces. Attracting, acquiring and retaining the right talent is a major challenge for the industry in the country and the firms have already spent over Rs. 10crore this year towards talent development to combat the issue.

Over 75 percent of the professionals in the coming years will be hired to cater to new and growing services such as digital and social media communications, risk and crisis management and CSR management. The industry currently employs over 7,750 professionals and 5-10% of this figure is added to the workforce every year. Most of this workforce is employed in Delhi and Mumbai, both of which continue to be the industry hubs in the country. (ANI-Newsvoir)