Amith Prabhu: 5 reasons why PR in US is better than India

15 Jul,2013

By Amith Prabhu


Thanks for the encouraging feedback that has come from various readers. Prof Meenakshi Upadhyay in a tweet requested if I could share some comparison between functioning of the PR business between the world’s two diverse yet well-integrated PR consulting markets.  I have the privilege of having worked in India in the past and a clear plan of working in India in the future. I’m doing a two-year stint in Chicago of which three quarters is complete. While the basics remain the same, the approach to several aspects is different. Here, I will touch upon are Office punctuality, Client interaction, Quality talent, Physical space and Professional events.


I would start off with a comparison of day in the life and this seems to be the norm across businesses in the United States. Thanks to a great marriage between discipline and superb public transportation, staff are in the office between 8.30am and 8.45am to start off at 9am. Come 5.15pm, the offices are deserted and by 5.30 pm there is no one in the office. This cycle percolates down to the clients as well. In India there is a vicious cycle of starting late and ending late. Last-minute client requests that lengthen the day and an attitude where one feels one can come in late because one left office late the previous day and this becomes a chain.


Productivity is higher thanks to a high reliance on technology. Employees at every level are given smartphones so as to be accessible in real time. But, more importantly, this helps one stay connected with clients and other stakeholders without the need to meet face-to-face. So the number of physical client meetings is far lesser thus saving time and energy to focus on quality time strategizing and brainstorming to help the client succeed.


The quality of Public Relations is far superior as course content is in keeping with the times and access to internships with large organizations is greater which in turn gives PR firms the ability to hire from the best universities and organizations. This translates when the PR firm executive makes the switch to becoming a client, who is then well-versed with his or her role and able to manage large budgets to add value to business objectives of the organization.


The work environment also makes a big difference. Thanks to larger turnovers, companies can afford bigger office spaces where individuals get space they deserve unlike in India where thanks to our mindset the space is rationed to staff. I have had the fortune of visiting almost all the offices of the 10-12 leading PR firms across Bengaluru, Mumbai and Delhi as the placement coordinator of my batch way back in 2004 and therefore can state with confidence that the office space story is similar across organizations.


Events for professionals are plenty. There are several associations that a PR professional can become a member of and benefit from. The IABC, the PRSA, the Publicity Club are some of the prominent ones and they all organize high quality events for learning and networking through the year. Unless this trend comes to India, a professional will have limited exposure and be like a frog in the well.


There are other aspects like packaging content, presentations and the self that I will write about in a future column. These are some of the key differences and they truly stand out. But most important the humility and simplicity with which some leaders carry out their duties including travelling by public transport, not having an office despite being the head of the location and instead sitting with other employees in regular cubes are truly inspirational.


Amith Prabhu is the founder of The PRomise Foundation which organises PRAXIS – the annual summit for PR & Corp Comm professionals in India. During the day he is a full time employee at a leading Public Relations firm in their Chicago office. He spent the first eight years of his post graduation career in India and is in the US for two years of which he has completed 18 months. Views expressed here are the author’s own and don’t represent those of his past, present, future employer or of MxMIndia. You can connect with him on Twitter @amithpr


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One response to “Amith Prabhu: 5 reasons why PR in US is better than India”

  1. Himanshu Agarwal says:

    Nice piece…

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