Posted on Monday, October 15, 2012
Public Relations, as it is practiced in India today, is a part of a global set of communications best practices that include elements of marketing, brand building and corporate image building.
It is not just the corporates, but individuals and social organisations using the subtle yet effective art to communicate their messages with their target audiences. It’s really about how brands earn their reputation, political establishments, their credibility, their voice and bargaining chips.
In the modern world where public perception is the single most important factor that dictates and influences the way businesses and governments are run, PR is perhaps the single most important communication tool that helps the corporate world, the civil society, government organisations and personalities alike, create, nurture and maintain a desired public image.
As PR becomes more and more a subject of specialisation, there is a pronounced demand for trained professionals. The Public Relations business faces an acute shortage of trained manpower due to the increasing pace of growth. This is reflected in the 30-35% hike in top-level salaries, which the sector has seen in the last one year.
According to ASSOCHAM’s recent study, it was found that in spite of attrition rate being as high as 40%, corporates are increasingly relying on PR to supplement advertising to help clients form an effective communication strategy.
The market currently has more than 100 agencies – big ones with 10-15 branches across the country; medium sized with four-five branches and smaller city specific agencies and of course thousands of companies including MNCs, Indian majors and mid-sized businesses.
Political PR: The traditional media, both press and TV in India are being carefully targeted and utilised to showcase success stories political stance, ideology and messages. Managing the media momentum becomes critical for political parties and pressure groups alike as the increasingly literate voter in India starts to form hardened opinions about fundamental issues such as corruption, jobs, education, etc.
Digital PR: The world is now moving towards managing the digital buzz through the ubiquitous social networks. As young voters take to more and more sophisticated gadgetry, the internet savvy politician is immediately held in a bit more higher esteem than his peers. While in India it will take a while for the internet to become a mass awareness and campaign tool, its impact is not far from being felt strongly when Tweets can lead to turmoil with serious media fallout and consequences. Managing this space of spontaneous opinions and emotions is today more important than ever before.
This is where PR as a discipline assumes a completely new dimension from a tools and technology perspective. As practitioners grapple to fathom the new media, the art of ‘messaging’ and ‘blending’ becomes more and more sophisticated.
Skill- sets required
Any good basic degree will do. Strong communications is ultimately the core skill. Knowledge of English and the ability to write well and express oneself clearly is the key. Also, it requires skills in good analysis, drafting and research with fresh angles. Besides that, inability to deal with challenges, pressure and long hours could be the biggest issue for an aspiring professional. One needs to be ready to travel extensively, love to meet new people and work under exacting deadlines.
A fresher in this industry can earn a starting salary somewhere between Rs 20,000 to 25,000 per-month.
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