Talent: the growth currency for the Public Relations business

Recent reports have indicated that the Public Relations business is slated to have a worldwide revenue of around $20 billion by 2020. In India too, PR has grown by 18% in 2017 to become a Rs. 1,315 crore business and is supposed to touch Rs. 2,000 crores by 2020. However, these numbers do not tell the complete story. The public relations business is witnessing unparalleled dynamism as is witnessed through:

Value growth: As more and more brands, corporates and leaders realise the importance of ‘Image’ and ‘Engagement’, PR has moved from periphery to center of corporate discussions. This realisation is leading to increasing investment by ‘C-Suite’ both in terms of time, energy and funding and reciprocal from the PR business by bringing alive campaigns that add value is leading to self-propelled growth.

Integration growth: As leadership at both ends realise the value and business impact public relations brings, it is being asked to take center stage and lead across channels. As ‘creator and curator’ of content in all its form, it is being asked to work across channels ranging from digital/social. However, it is going to be tough battle with global firms including advertising, consulting and even tech/social media companies reaching out to directly to get piece of business.

Apart from competition from other industry platforms for business, PR business also needs to manage, build and evolve ‘talent’ to ensure that it continues on this trajectory. When we talk about talent, it needs to be understood, managed and evolved at multiple level. For the industry to take its rightful place, we need to ensure that we work at multiple levels. This will include:

Bring in newer skill sets from various industry and get them aligned to public relations: As the PR business has the opportunity to take overall management of communications, the need for skill sets are getting deeper and diverse. These needs range from having a data scientist at one end to behaviour scientist at another end.

Get existing PR professionals to reinvent and acquire new skill sets: It is imperative from current leadership to acquire new skill sets, wherein digital/social media have emerged as core skill set and data analytics, project management through technology integrations becoming specialist skill sets. Industry associations like PRCAI along with its members and alliances need to find an innovative mechanism to deliver on this.

Make it as career of choice for millennials and Gen Z: While, bringing new skill sets and upgrading current skill sets constitute one part of equation, equally critical is to build system to bring in new blood and thinking that is represented by millennials and Gen Z and ensuring that PR is seen as career of choice. To make that happen, it is important to understand what critical drivers of these generations are and what are they looking for. Companies need to bring in change and adapt themselves to new realities as they integrate a new wave of talent and thinking.

As industry association that is committed to growth and overall evolution, we are committed to invest time, energy and other resources to make each of these happen. Over the course of the last couple of years, a systemic approach has been taken to provide necessary impetus and these will continue in coming years. PRCAI along with its partners like SCoRe has been actively undertaking college outreach program to build awareness and understanding about PR as a career option as well as partnering with institutions like Times School of Journalism to align industry leadership with future talent.

It is also our endeavor to take PR out of large cities and build engagement on pan-India basis and undertaking ‘Knowledge platforms’ in partnership with our member companies has proven to be quite successful in making it happen.

Beyond that, we continue to celebrate and recognize work being done by the industry and platforms like SABRE Awards, PRAXIS and The Fulcrum Awards, as well as our partnership with global organisations like ICCO, AMEC are reflection of the same.

We would continue to invest in PR for PR,  Research & Insights and building alliances/partnerships as part of efforts to strengthen the business and fulfill its various needs.

The views expressed here are that of the author and do not necessarily reflect that of Reputation Today.

Aman Gupta
Aman Gupta is the Managing Partner and Founder at SPAG.

A veteran in the field of communications, Aman is recognised as the harbinger of establishing interplay between the Indian communications business and the healthcare, pharmaceutical and life sciences sectors.

His core competencies include Reputation Management, Brand Architecture, Market Entry Strategies, Government Relations and Leadership Media Training.

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