labels: industry - general, marketing - general
India PR summit 2004 news
Our Corporate Bureau
10 June 2004

Mumbai: The Indian PR industry needs to align itself with client's vision and business goals, and not just focus on initiative-based PR objectives; PR must identify itself as an integral part of the marketing communication mix were some issues that were shared at the Public Relations Consultant's Association of India (PRCAI's) India Summit 2004 held in Mumbai.

The summit was addressed by some of India's leading communication experts like Piyush Pandey (O&M), Sam Balsara (Madison), Jayant Murthy (Intel), and Nicole McMahon (British Gas). The summit focused on 'Bringing global standards of PR to India' and 'Enhancing PR value within the communication mix'.

Some the speakers noted that, for PR to play a more significant role in the overall communications mix, all PR agencies must have a better understanding of the clients business objectives. Clients too — national and multinationals alike, in their effort to extract maximum bang for the buck and move towards 360º communications, must simultaneously brief all their agencies — creative, media and PR, so that all three key elements of communication, are aligned towards one common business goal.

At the panel discussion on 'Enhancing PR Value within the Communication Mix', Sam Balsara' (Madison) noted that the PR industry was rapidly changing and that PR professionals should 'increase their understanding of business' and 'do more PR for the PR industry'. He also reiterated that creativity is as essential in PR campaigns as it is in advertising and as a counter to complaints of non-IIM level remuneration stated that, as in consumer goods such as a bar of Cadbury at Rs5, the onus is on the seller (PR agency) to set the price.

Sunil Gautam (Hanmer & Partners) summed up the value of the industry through a comparison with the medical profession where he said that other forms of communication were a quick fix, akin to allopathy, but did not offer long-term positive health for a company or brand that PR can provide, just like homeopathy. Interestingly, both homeopathy and PR were traced to be inexpensive, non-abrasive, building up the immunity and resulting in positive long-term benefits.

Piyush Pandey (O&M) highlighted the benefits of advertising and PR agencies working together on all campaigns and more so in crisis situations. Aditya Puri (Cadbury), offering the client's perspective, agreed that the value perception of PR was low among clients. He urged agencies to move up their value proposition and show measurable delivery that would definitely change perception from client's marketing personnel.

At an earlier session on bringing global PR standards to India Jayant Murthy (director, marketing, Intel) opined that the PR Industry has a few highly experienced people and a large number of very inexperienced people. The PR industry needs to step up its efforts on increased learning and training, towards attracting quality resources. Tarun Deo (president, PRCAI and vice president, Asia Pacific, Text 100) said, "PR agencies need to invest a lot more in their people and systems."

Some of the other speakers included Prema Sagar (past president, PRCAI and founder, Genesis), Veena Gidwani (secretary, PRCAI and CEO, Madison Public Relations), Nicole McMahon (director policy and corporate affairs, British Gas), Ajay Kakar (vice president, PRCAI and president, Ogilvy PR), Sunil Gautam (Hanmer & Partners), Piyush Pandey (chairman and national creative director, Ogilvy & Mather), Sam Balsara (CMD - Madison Communications), Aditya Atri (VP & GM Result McCann), Bharat Puri (CEO - Cadbury).

The PRCAI, mooted by a group of seven leading public relations firms, represents the over Rs1 billion industry, which employs 8,000 professionals. The PRCAI is affiliated to the International Communications Consultancies Organisation (ICCO), the umbrella body for all country public relations consultancy organization.

The PRCAI is promoting quality and standards in the PR Industry including the introduction of consultancy management standards for PR firms. This 'quality certification' is based on the international quality rating systems (IQRS) and delivered in partnership with DNV India, the global certifying body for quality delivery systems for the PR Industry.

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India PR summit 2004