When people ask me to forecast prospects for the PR industry, I don’t know how to respond. On one hand, we have never had it better. The Indian client base has increased manifold over the last few years, complexity of businesses have grown demanding more than traditional media relations, newer sectors are opening up, and “controlling media” is now a thing of the past. Exciting, I am tempted to say.
Yet, I always hold back and answer the question cautiously.

Corruption is the buzzword in India. I call it a buzzword despite it being an uncomfortable reality; the hysteria around this malaise with little solution in sight, makes me believe that this too shall pass. Bleak as the environment may seem, the positive is that we are all becoming conscious and beginning to gradually acknowledge that while “ethics” is an oft used term, never before has the full impact of its meaning been more stark.

And as custodians of reputation, the PR industry in India has to button up and think hard about how they will upscale their ethics framework and live it.

The Industry’s protagonists– media, clients, PR professionals, employers must pause and take a hard look at themselves. True, it is perhaps the most exciting time we’ve seen in the last few decades, but it is also the most turbulent.

Professionals must realize that chequered careers with more jobs than skills dominating their resumes will jeopardize their interests and that of the Industry’s in the long run. PR firms must realize that undercutting rates and poaching talent will only help create mirages of success. Client must realize that bargaining and seeking best deals is not necessarily a prudent way of identifying a PR partner. The sooner media acknowledges that credibility of its key product, ie NEWS is at an all time low, and they need to inform more than revel in their misplaced role as judge, jury and prosecutor, the better it is for society at large."

Nandita Lakshmanan is CEO of The PRactice