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Southern India driving growth in PR: PRCAI Survey 2023

New Delhi, Wed April 5, 2023:  Public Relations (PR) professional body, Public Relations Consultants Association of India (PRCAI) brought out its annual industry report today, and affirms upward trajectory estimated at 2100 crores registering double-digit growth year-on-year despite Covid-19. Three out of four of the country’s PR firms expect 10% growth in the 2022 fiscal year.

The report was conducted by IPSOS (with 60 participants) with insights from Astrum.

The 2022-23 Study of Public Relations Insights, Nuggets and Trends [SPRINT 2022-23], found that PR consultancies in the country are making a considerable investment in strengthening their regional outreach as clients reach out to consumers in tier II and III cities. 

As per the study, southern India is driving the growth in PR in India:

South India fastest growing PR market

Atul Sharma, president of, PRCAI said, "So I think South has definitely taken a notch up the entire action . I think the only challenge and this is not in the survey, but my own perspective on this as an agency head is to cope with the demand for talent. In Bangalore, for instance, it's not easy to find talent. And that's something I think I'm hoping the market will now finally start responding to.

India's Contribution to APAC Growth 

As per the report, India’s revenue share is 15% of Asia-Pacific
and 1% of global:

India's share in global revenue

Attrition Rate is High, staff loyalty a challenge 

However, the report revealed that the high employee attrition rate in the industry at 20% is a pressing issue that may hamper the quality and ability of client service. As the professionals gain seniority they tend to move from PR firms to inhouse roles.

20% Attrition Rate is a serious challenge

C Suite and PR are working closely 

Eight out of 10 respondents said that India Inc. leadership is working closely with its corporate communications team to devise strategies for brand communication, while 80% of corporate communications head report directly to the CEOs.

Strategic Counsel

Deeptie Sethi, CEO of, PRCAI stated, "The most encouraging thing in the report is the attention of the top brass, because I think we definitely as communicators, and me with more than 2526 years into this profession, we work really hand in hand and very closely with them. So their attention and their trust really matter in our business. And it's a great strength to see how, you know, we've stood tall on that. The most challenging one, of course, is about talent, which I think nobody is giving a blind eye to everybody is cognizant of it."

Other Key Trends In SPRINT 2022-23:

  • Growing Role of Regional PR: Brands are now asking for a more focused local PR strategy for smaller cities. With consumer spending going up in tier 2 and tier 3 cities, brands want their communication to be targeted. To meet this demand, consultancies have amped up their regional presence by either opening local offices or partnering with affiliates to deliver the desired results. The report noted that over the last three years, the regional spending for consultancies has increased from 15% to 19% and is expected to increase to 25% in the next 3 years.
  • Digital First: In this hyper-digital era, nine out of 10 clients has to deal with fake news in the last year and trust and authenticity in communications have taken over visibility. 80% agree that company handles as a source of credible news will continue to be important.  While 75% feel that newspaper space is shrinking, 3 out of 5 see an increase in the share of paid news across digital media. Media Relations is losing revenue share but continues to be a significant contributor at 68%, in the next three years its significance may drop to 48%. 
  • Increasing PR off Marketing Pie: An encouraging trend qualifying integrated communications is that companies in India are now allocating a higher proportion of their marketing budget to PR services. PR share of annual marketing budgets of clients, saw 7 percentage point increase in 4 years, expanding from 10% in 2019 to 17% in 2022
  • Broadening Services Portfolios: The post-pandemic scenario points out that clients turned to PR to effectively communicate with multi-stakeholders - both external and internal where 93% ranked crisis handling as most important, followed by public affairs and advocacy at 89% and internal communications at 85%, becoming the top three sought-after services in the PR realm. Clients are now looking to build trust and reputation and seeking PR expertise across a diverse range of areas including handling disinformation, paid media, and digital and content management, thus widening PR scope.
  • The PR Measurement Efficacy: SPRINT 2022-23 revealed that 95% of respondents measure their PR efforts, with over 80% reporting that measurement metrics are finalized at the beginning of the campaign, a positive step to drive effectiveness. Even more importantly, three out of five respondents agreed that PR measurement and evaluation is shifting from AVE to other metrics, a long-overdue development that can only support the industry’s overall value. No doubt, this was validated in the study showing around three in five CFO’s or CEO’s require measurement objectives in signing off PR budgets.

Talent Shortage Is PR Industry’s Biggest Headwind

  • Talent Scarcity: The survey insights noted that the industry has been witnessing attrition of more than 20%, higher than the global standards. 74% of respondents agreed that more than attracting talent, its retention at entry and mid-levels is becoming increasingly difficult.  For the Millennials, the balance between career aspirations and better quality of life is no longer an either/or choice. Higher compensation and the need for work-life balance are reasons for frequent job shifts, besides post Covid-19 phenomenon reflective of different live goals of millennials changing careers path outside PR to opt for alternate career choices like creating music band, teaching in rural areas, and taking up entrepreneurship.
  • Newer Hunting Grounds: SPRINT study found that most staff are still recruiting from mass comm and journalism institutes, though new hunting grounds are emerging with increased hiring from graduate colleges and MBA institutes. The study highlighted that 70% respondents agreed that there is a shortage of skill sets for emerging areas and specialist needs like public policy and ESG.  Two out of five employers are hiring sector-specialized recruits to meet growing specialized needs in the PR industry.
  • Higher need to upskill people: The study shows there is under-investment in talent development and firms are spending less than 1.5% of their revenues on training, making a strong case for immediate attention to prioritizing constant investment in people that will pay dividends in the long run. PRCAI’s writing skill program and AIPR accreditation in 2022 is a step in the right direction to take this challenge head-on at an industry level.
  • Bridging Client-Agency Expectations: A bridge needs to be built between client and consultancy expectations. While clients are willing to pay for higher quality talent and expect PR professionals to come with rich experience in public advocacy, legal expertise, and other key subject matters, 83% of consultancy respondents revealed that the client budgets are not increasing at the same pace as consulting expenses.

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