India's PRCAI Clashes With MSLGroup Over Agency Ranking Report
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India's PRCAI Clashes With MSLGroup Over Agency Ranking Report

India’s Public Relations Consultancies Association has demanded that MSLGroup retract its estimates of fee income at the country’s leading PR firms.

Arun Sudhaman

NEW DELHI--India’s Public Relations Consultancies Association (PRCAI) has urged MSLGroup to retract its estimates of fee income at the country’s leading PR firms. 

PRCAI president Sharif Rangnekar has written to MSLGroup global CEO Olivier Fleurot to express the organisation’s “views and concerns”, after the MSLGroup report was released last month. The study ranked MSLGroup India as the country’s second-biggest PR firm.

In a blogpost last month, the Holmes Report forecast that MSLGroup’s estimates could prove controversial, given the relatively low fee income attributed to such firms as Genesis Burson-Marsteller, Perfect Relations and Edelman India.

Rangnekar told the Holmes Report that MSL’s claims “are without any verification and not exactly an act that is ethical or fair.” The PRCAI has asked the firm to retract the relevant section of the report.

“Reports such as these misrepresent facts and misleads people,” added Rangnekar, who also heads PR firm Integral. “We are surprised that an organization such as MSL would issue such a report into the public domain. I am not certain this is what MSL would do in all markets as a norm.”

MSLGroup has countered with a statement that defends the report, contending that “most, if not all, of the information within the report is common knowledge within the India market, but seldom discussed openly due to the challenging realities the industry faces.”

The agency also says that its work “draws upon information, perspectives and ideas from a third party research study and conversations with PR professionals across more than 15 agencies and dozens of media, clients and additional industry stakeholders.”

“It is our desire that this report generates significant attention, discussion and debate amongst PR agencies, clients, media and industry groups in order to advance the pace of development for a profession that should be more respected and that is of critical importance to Indian and global organizations today,” adds the MSLGroup statement.

While the bulk of the report deals with Indian PR industry issues and trends, a number of agency heads are understood to be displeased with the final section, which ranks agencies based on MSLGroup’s fee estimates.

“If such an act is considered permissible for our industry, we could have a dozen further claims and counter claims on size, revenues and rankings,” said Rangnekar. “I think this is best left to independent organizations or even media entities.”

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