Digital media to be the hottest vertical in 2013 : MSLGroup India report

internetNew Delhi: MSLGroup India, Publicis Groupe’s flagship strategic communications and engagement company and the largest public relations and social media network in India, today announced the launch of its latest executive report, ‘Public Relations in India: Inside the Industry’s Mind and the 2013 Outlook’.

A year ago, MSLGroup India released its first industry outlook report, highlighting such critical issues as the talent crunch, the comparatively low level of PR fees, the need for strategic and integrated communications, and the core issues hidden by the misperception of the industry’s size. The report sparked widespread interest and provoked much needed dialogue.

“For the report’s second edition, MSLGroup India commissioned a third-party India-wide survey of PR professionals. The objective was to understand how they view a potentially tough year for business and the trends that will define the industry, as well as to provide a platform for their views about the challenges they face. In an industry where such studies are rare, MSLGROUP India commissioned the survey across the executive hierarchy to ensure that the newest entrants have their say alongside the most hardened veterans,” a release said.

There are challenges facing the industry too. One of the most serious is the mismatch between client and agency expectations. While it’s a tough marriage intended to produce measurable results, there is very little literature on how to ensure the relationship is mutually fruitful. The report analyses the hurdles to such a relationship – the fee-service value gap, re-pitching and business assurance norms, for instance – and offers solutions.

The report would have been incomplete without a survey of the way the media – a key stakeholder – perceives the PR industry. A qualitative survey of mediapersons conducted by MSLGroup India offered a variety of suggestions – ranging from customised press releases to a better understanding of deadlines – for a mutually beneficial relationship with PR professionals.

Jaideep Shergill, CEO, MSLGroup India, said: “The PR industry in India is witnessing a transformation. The industry is making an extra effort to be viewed as a strategic partner, and clients are acknowledging its value. With this study, we wanted to give the industry a voice. Having spoken to all stakeholders, from PR professionals to media to clients, I can say with certainty that a unified industry approach is the way ahead.”

From growth prospects to the way new business is being generated to the hottest new trends, the study offers an exhaustive look at the industry. The results are heartening as well as revealing:

•51% of the respondents were bullish, asserting that the industry would grow more than 20% over the next 12 months.

•63% of the respondents said their clients’ PR budgets are intact, while 33% said the budgets have in fact increased – the bedrock of the respondents’ confidence.

•48% of respondents identified digital media as the hottest vertical for 2013, followed by lifestyle and technology.

•The talent crunch remained a top-of-mind issue for PR professionals. A stringent selection process, followed by high investment in training, was the respondents’ top suggestion for dealing with this challenge. Higher salaries was last out of four preferred solutions.

•Knowledge-based PR emerged as a trend with 41% of respondents stressing the need for thought-leadership initiatives.

In the report, MSLGroup India also offered its own predictions of the hottest practices for the year:

•Brand journalism: In 2013, more organisations will recognise the need to marry marketing with reputation management. Engagement has always been a key component of the PR business, but in the Conversation Age of today communicators are moving from monologue to dialogue. The cornerstone of this engagement is content, according to the report.

•Businesses with purpose: Successful brands will be the ones that work collaboratively with communities, governments, customers and organisations to co-create solutions to the world’s toughest problems. Businesses will move from corporate social responsibility to collaborative social innovation in 2013.

•Healthcare: The Indian healthcare industry is valued at roughly $40 billion and 80% of healthcare spending is in the private sector. This is a huge opportunity for PR firms.

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