Monday, July 24, 2006

Public Relations: India and outsourcing

Less than two years ago, the PR world saw many screaming headlines:

PR firms consider passage to India

...and now PR outsourcing!

Has anything significant happened since then? “Nothing substantial in terms of outsourcing!” If that is your conclusion, you might not be completely wrong! But you might not be bang on the dot either!

Driven by growing opportunities, the Indian PR industry has been witnessing fast-paced changes. More professionalism. More systems. More processes… And, of late, the entry of global PR giants.

Further accelerating change is the phenomenal growth of India’s economy and, in turn, the public relations industry. As for the PR boom, credit is due to the increasing awareness among Indian corporates about the potential of public relations.

Aware of the immense potential, many global public relations players are now looking at India, primarily to broaden their reach. WPP CEO Sir Martin Sorell is bullish about the PR industry’s growth in Asia.

“I use Indian companies for a lot of background work,” David Bell, Co-Chairman of the Interpublic Group, has said in a recent interview. “ For instance, if a new pet food is to be launched, I commission Indian companies to scour the Internet for high quality, background checks and research on pet foods, which doesn’t cost as much. But if you are referring to classic outsourcing, where I just pick up the phone and ask India to come up with a creative commercial for Microsoft, well, that certainly will not happen, in a long time to come!”

In other words, India’s cost advantage has been gnawing at resistance to outsourcing low-end work. To borrow Oscar Wilde’s words, the only way to get rid of the outsourcing temptation is to yield to it. Sooner or later!

Will this happen at the 2006 ICCO (International Communications Consultancy Organisation) Global Summit, to be held in just a couple of months in New Delhi? Difficult to find an answer! However, the fact that the annual ICCO Summit is being organised for the first time in Asia speaks volumes of the continent’s growing importance.

Equally important is the list of Summit speakers. Among those who would address the Summit include Burson-Marsteller Founder Chairman Harold Burson, Weber Shandwick CEO Harris Diamond, Porter Novelli CEO Helen Ostrowski and Text 100 CEO Aedhmar Hynes.

In case these speakers encounter the media, they will definitely face the Indian journalists’ probing questions on outsourcing!

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