Siddhartha Mukherjee: It is time for India PRinciples!

21 May,2015

By Siddhartha Mukherjee


Our fixation with ‘Phoren Maal – Videshi Samaan’ continues even now. It took our PM Narendra Modi to convince us to “Make in India”. India Inc’s marketing and communications machinery has, very successfully, convinced us Indians that definition of words like lifestyle and  aspirations by and large only end with aping the west. Short and simple, Reference = West, copy-paste the West, listen to the West. However, many ground checks are emerging to prove that it is finally those who think local and act global who are emerging as the Dark Horse!


Let’s talk about our own home turf – the Indian Public Relations Industry. The majority part of our industry has come under the influence of “International” or “Western” ideologies and principles. While the entry and successful establishment of multinational PR firms and associated services in India has been one of the constructive aspects of our industry, my personal view, however, is that the template that we have been applying to plan, execute and measure needs to reflect the personality of India! Western thoughts and principles just do not apply and match up to India! It is a wastage of time for the service provider and wastage of money for the client. It is time for locally customised and centrally localised India PRinciples.


More so, it is time for the world to know about and learn from India PRinciples. The Indian market, its ground realities, challenges and unique cultural personality makes every stakeholder of the Indian PR/Earned Media Industry – PR firms, evaluation and measurement services and clients – uniquely placed to profess and share learnings with the marketing and brand building community of the world.  It is time we project ourselves inward out. It is time we take centrestage of the world can learn from Indian industry, its adept professionals and the market. It is time India is on the stage…not ‘phoren’ personalities!


Before I get into some quick thoughts on how we could look at taking this forward, I wanted to share a key reason towards why India should take centrestage in the global arena…Why India principles should be the base of drafting marketing and brand communication syllabus for the western world. A very simple yet key reason is that for decades, the western market enjoyed the advantages of being a homogenous market. Marketing challenges – controllable and uncontrollable, Media Mix and Planning, Targeting, Evaluation etc have been far more smoother and homogenous. Compared to the complex web of heterogeneity of Indian markets, those in the west have been a marketers’ bliss.


However, now, the same markets have started developing the genetics of heterogeneity. Marketing and communications dynamics have started to convolute. Psychographics and demographics have started to twist and turn. Media and its revolution has been a key trigger towards this change.


Which is precisely why, our Indian communications industry should start projecting itself as the partner!


Some quick thoughts on this:

a. First up, is the belief that India’s PR Industry can take on the world. It can teach and spread its prophecies. While we have had self-created occasions to feel low or belittled, I see no reason as to why we can’t bounce back in the global arena of corporate brand communication and reputation management.


b. The PR Industry Body (PRCAI) can consider taking up the ownership of authoring the India PRinciples and representing India in the Global arena


c. Creating India’s PRinciples should include creation of a charter and assigning a character to India’s PR Industry!


d. The India PRinciples should certainly constitute of principles across key blocks of PR Communication Planning, Execution and Measurement/Evaluation.


e. While the PR Firms/Consultancies should lead this, it should have healthy representation of Users (Clients) and a Neutral & Holistic Measurement & Audit mechanism.


f. Communicate (Do PR for) India’s PR capabilities as a Thought Leader in the Global Arena.


g. Add science of measurement and data authentication to corroborate that why India is one of the benchmark/reference markets to learn from and convert those into Case Studies for Global reference.


h. Maintain and retain the end objective of INDIA on the Stage, World in the Audience.


Not just as an Indian, but going by the work PR Firms based in India are doing along with their clients, delivering tangible results despite the ground challenges India offers, I firmly believe that we should not leave any stones unturned to position ourselves in the driver’s seat and on the global stage. It will be a matter of pride and milestone if India and her PRinciples are on stage and the world in the audience.


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