Yeh clients maange more. PR agency honchos say in third edition of MSLGroup’s annual report

04 Feb,2014

By A Correspondent

 

PR and social engagement network MSLGroup has released the third edition of its annual PR industry report. Titled ‘Public Relations in India: The Impact of the Economic Downturn and the 2014 Outlook’, the study carries a survey of senior PR professionals – account directors and above – to understand where they believed the industry was headed in 2014.

 

What emerged was a picture of cautious optimism. Most respondents felt that growth would be strong but there were serious challenges: squeezed cash flows, clients expecting more for the same fees, and shrinking budgets in some cases. The talent shortage continues to remain a major concern, notes a communique

 

Some of the survey’s findings:

  • About 20% of the respondents said industry growth would be in the 15%-20% range in 2014. What’s interesting is that this growth would happen despite clients cutting overall communication budgets. This indicates that money is being diverted from other disciplines, such as advertising, to PR.
  • Despite the downturn, 30% of respondents said clients had increased budgets either ‘somewhat’ or ‘drastically’.
  • Most felt that the tough times would last for several months more.
  • An overwhelming majority – 90% – said clients were demanding more for the same fees.
  • Respondents identified integrated marketing communications as the best way to grow business.
  • Apart from digital, clients are demanding crisis communications, training, content and research and insights from their PR agencies.

 

Jaideep Shergill

Said Jaideep Shergill, CEO of MSLGroup in India: “This is a time of great churn for the industry. Ground realities – from the evolution of media to the increasing number of stakeholders to what clients want – are changing fast and it’s a challenge to keep up. Thankfully, the industry has shown the capacity and resilience required, and this is evident from the survey’s findings.”

 

The second section of the report examines the rise of cheap smartphones and their impact on marketing communications. As India becomes the new battleground for high-end smart phones, there is a ‘sub-revolution’ bubbling under. Given the country’s price sensitivity, several firms have unleashed a range of cheap smart phones that have become very popular. The Slideshare link of the report is: http://www.slideshare.net/mslgroup/india-pr-report-2014-mslgroup.

 

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