Agile, hyper responsive communication industry will emerge strong in 2021: Nitin Mantri, President ICCO at Spectra

Focusing on the power of positivity to harness opportunity and growth, Nitin Mantri, group CEO-Avian WE and president, ICCO kicked of Day 2 at  #RTSPECTRA, the online edition of Praxis, Asia's largest PR conference.

Mantri started off with a personal story about how solidarity and hope has come in through the tough times. A Covid-19 survivor he told the audience that he received an outpouring of empathy and support that helped to deal with the personal worry that struck him under quarantine. 

Mantri then asked a question. "Has this solidarity become global?"

Mantri certainly believes so, saying that there are enough examples to show how people have come together to push back against this, " Unfamiliar, unfathomable threat."

It has changed the dynamic of how we live and work, added Mantri.

Impact on Communication Industry  

Mantri said that the crisis has highlighted certain global trends. This includes that in future the threat to environment well being will be taken more seriously, there will be bigger health budgets and greater global risks for infections and viruses.

Commenting on the communications industry Mantri said, " The communications industry has been hit hard. But we are emerging much stronger, the communications sector has been agile and hyper responsive. Now we need to keep pace with what our clients want, build trust. It is our time to shine. Use the power of communications for positive action."

Citing the ICCO World PR Report to illustrate the hopeful forecast for the PR business in 2021, Mantri said , "Global agency heads are overwhelmingly optimistic about the growth of public relations."

According to the report, "When asked to express their levels of agreement with the statement ‘I am optimistic about the growth of the public relations market’ on a 10 point scale, PR leaders revealed a global average of 7 out 10, with levels of optimism particularly strong in North America (7.7)."

The buoyancy of global PR is further evidenced by data on expectations for profitability in the coming year. Across all regions, participants scored an average of 6.7 in terms of confidence in increased profits, with market confidence prominent in Latin America (7.3) and Eastern Europe (7).

Where PR will grow in 2021 and beyond

Mantri also commented that the PR industry has had a very good year with impactful work.

He flagged off strategic consulting, corporate reputation and digital and social as areas of growth in communications.

Additionally financial services has done well.  Technology not surprisingly has also done well and was very buoyant in terms of communication spending. 

Mantri said, "Technology is the only winner and that has helped us cope."

Mantri felt that, "Virtual communications is new territory for all of us. What we need is a new game plan for online communication, raise our tech game and find the intersection between corporate stories and what the world needs."

Purpose will be the key agenda for communicators

Mantri also said that purpose will one of the key drivers for communicators. Citing the WE Brands in Motion study, Mantri said a rising number of consumers want brands to address issues such as climate change.

Covid-19 has only sharpened this expectation. Brands such as Avon have worked on the issue of rising domestic violence during Covid-19 with their #IsolatedNotAlone campaign covering 250000 women worldwide including in India.

Stay positive!

Ending on a high note Mantri said what matters now is the "Virus of Positivity." He said there is no end for opportunity for PR and communication when positivity and social understanding mix.

He concluded asking the viewers to fortify with masks and sanitisers and remember  Nelson Mandela's famous quote. "May your choices reflect your hopes and not your fears."