Price not a difficulty for uptake of PR services says Elan Shou, managing director, Asia Pacific, Ruder Finn

Increasingly, PR leadership with an Asian remit have told PRmoment India that there is a slow but sure move by clients in the direction of paying more for integrated and specialist PR services. Glenn Osaki, formerly head of MSL's APAC operations stated that PR fees are on the rise in India.  Earlier this month, Rikki Jones, MD, Asia Pacific at GCI Health, told PRmoment India that health communication is on an uptick in India. 

Elan Shou, managing director, Asia Pacific, Ruder Finn visits India 

Now Elan Shou, who has recently taken over as managing director for the Asia Pacific at Ruder Finn also believes that price is not a barrier for PR services on offer in India. During a visit to India in July this year, Elan spoke to PRmoment India about services being explored for the India market, the recent wins by Ruder Finn in India under new leadership and the one thing that was a pleasant surprise about the PR business in India.

Elan who was the managing director of Ruder Finn for Greater China before her Asia appointment, says that there are actually many cultural similarities between India and China, and how both cultures communicate.  

Ruder Finn has been very successful in the Greater China market, topping the list of leading international PR firms there. 

Elan says she is, "Struck by the similarities between India and China." She points out that in China prices for PR services have risen sharply saying "The gap has shrunk between China PR prices and international rates in the last two decades." Elan assesses this gap as no more than 20% now.

Flowing from how the China market behaved, Elan believes that India too will see a rise in prices as the economy grows further. Elan also tagged off the presence of a thriving local PR market with both international and large independent homegrown firms as a sign of the maturity of India as a PR hub.

Elan also said that she was pleasantly surprised to see how bustling and how big the Indian market already is with the presence of firms such as Adfactors PR.

Ruder Finn India Wins

 Ruder Finn has new leadership in India under Atul Sharma since October 2018, managing director and vice president. Elan said that the firm has recently had several new wins in 2019, especially in the technology and fintech space.

Atul Sharma and Elan Shou want to fast track growth for Ruder Finn India
Atul Sharma and Elan Shou want to fast track growth for Ruder Finn India

Atul Sharma told PRmoment India that they have recently won the mandate for India’s first AI-enabled smart bike Revolt Intellicorp Pvt. Ltd., for New Zealand’s government agency for building international education called Education New Zealand, for wholesale solution LOTS wholesale Solutions, fintech enabled merchant platform Pine Labs, decision engineering company medicare and gen-next mobility solution provider 22KYMCO, mobile advertising and analytics company for app developers Mobvista and projects in the influencer and digital domain for FMCG and technology verticals."

The new accounts will be led by the Ruder Finn Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore offices. Ruder Finn has recently expanded its team in India to a strength of 50 from 25 people. This includes Radhika Mehta who has recently joined as  the consumer connect practice lead and branch head- New Delhi as well as  Shipra Singh, branch head, Mumbai and the technology practice lead for Ruder Finn. 

Atul also said that policy engagement is emerging as a strategic PR service in India. Adding to Atul's comments, Elan said that Ruder Finn is exploring the Indian market for opportunities for their services in luxury, pharma and healthcare, crisis management, travel and tourism, technology and auto.

Sharing her views on the expanding EV market in India back by a strong policy push, Elan said that China too has gone through a similar conversation about petrol and electric vehicles. Elan feels that based on her observations and experiences in China regarding the EV market, its the quality of technology on offer that shapes the future direction of the market.

Concluding on a personal note Elan shares that her personal mantra for young PR professionals is to have fun and to always look at the details of the idea. Elan who moved from a business analytics background to the, perhaps, less imprecise science of PR, signs off saying, " Look up for the big idea and look down for the details."

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