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India's time to shine is several emerging fields is round the corner. Professional Public Relations cannot lag behind.
Despite several PR firms celebrating two decades or more of their existence in India this year, the profession which many like to call ‘industry’ has not been able to evolve to the extent it has in many parts of the world. However, this year seems like a watershed as there has been online chatter of PR professionals getting together to create an event of their own, and there are a handful of events taking place in different corners of the country.
The question that remains unanswered is whether PR is a poor cousin of advertising or whether it is a strategic art and science that is wrongly compared to advertising. PR is much more than what it is made out to be - as it has an element of strategic thinking and function of management thrown in to manage stakeholder sentiment and reputation management of a brand or corporation. PR as a professional practice evolved more from law firms rather than from advertising agencies. And this is proven in the way PR firms charge clients – always a fee, either for a project or for a retainer and never a commission, which is how agencies charge. Therefore, we incorrectly call a PR consultancy an agency (none of the leading firms will refer to themselves as an agency on their website, because they are not) and this mindset has to change.
That brings me to the point that can tend to be controversial but someone must bell the cat. Will PR firms ever unite under one umbrella and leave rivalry aside for the sake of the next generation or always remain fragmented. We have the ABCI, the PRSI and the PRCAI among several other groupings but all of them forget that youth long to belong and none of them offer a forum for younger professionals who are natives to the profession rather than immigrants which most senior professionals who began their careers over a decade ago are because they came from other professions - most importantly journalism and other fields.
In the goal of uniting it is also important to create a network of mentors and a hall of fame that the business (note my non-usage of the word industry) truly deserves. There is no better time than now. All of the Top 10 PR firms are present in India and many others from the Top 100 have made India their home. Three Indian firms are part of the list of the Top 250 global firms. This list includes several global firms that are present in India that have grown organically or inorganically.
We not only have our Prasoon Joshis and Piyush Pandeys but we have our Ram Jethmalanis and Harish Salves. We need to showcase them to the younger professionals to inspire them to excel. The time is now. Let’s celebrate the PR professional. Let’s take the profession to the next level. Let's get together and move forward as one big family before it is too late. By Amith Prabhu
About the writer:
Amith Prabhu is a Public Relations professional from India who works with a global firm in Chicago.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, and do not reflect in any way of Adgully & author's employer