Regional Public Relations: A New Frontier of Growth in India’s Public Relations Landscape
India - a land of vast cultural & linguistic diversity, where ‘word of mouth’ plays a crucial role in building brands. Public Relations have strongly emerged as an indispensable function for protecting and enhancing reputation. With 70% population of the nation living within the rural or semi-urban geographies, and nearly 34% of the same, annually migrating to urban cities in search of a better livelihood and employment, the role of regional Public Relations becomes more intrinsic to "Integrated Communications and Marketing strategies” for brands. The research paper attempts to understand the following: a) Evolution of consumer consumption and engagement through the lens of regional Public Relations in India.
b) Introduction of the concept of G-LO-RI: Global – Local-Regional.
c) Challenges faced by professionals/ agencies. The research aims to emphasize the need and importance of regional Public Relations. With the help of in-depth interviews and secondary data, the research will deduce the opportunities and scope to grow in this unorganized and untapped regional territories pan India. The research paper has considered variables - demographic factors, purchasing power, access and dissemination of information and news, effects of social channels and influencers, regional content consumption patterns, and urbanization. The qualitative study of these factors aims to share an outlook and future of regional Public Relations in India. As per existing information available at the time of drafting this research paper, there was no such material or reporting evidence in the context of the role and relevance of regional Public Relations in India. This research paper aims to highlight the current ecosystem, gaps, and key findings and showcase the importance, growth, and challenges of regional Public Relations in India. Interpretations/Implications: This study found that the Regional Public Relations industry has grown multi-folds in the past two decades. There have been many contributing factors instrumental towards this growth size, scale, and reach. This study included a mix of national public relations agency professionals and regional Public Relations agency owners/founders. They shared their journey and explained the concept, growth and evolution, agency revenue model, team size, opportunities, and challenges on the whole. The level of growth is varied region-wise, while Western, Northern, and Southern regions are hot spots of growth of regional Public Relations business, Eastern and North-East region remain a potential growth market. It was also observed that the affiliate model or the associate model of business is prevalent in the industry. The upcoming trends and practices were also discussed with the participants. The agencies have relied heavily on traditional media for a long time, but there is a gradual shift towards creating more digital content, which is data-driven. In due course of the study, it was evident that industry spending differed from one region to another. FMCG, followed by Automobile and Telecom, were the front runners in spends on regional Public Relations, Government and Education sectors have also caught up. The variation is observed due to the general demand and supply rule and socio-cultural factors, including language, customs, lifestyles & values, playing a crucial role. The researcher also came across some looming challenges that the industry currently faces, and recommendations have also been shared at the end of this paper.
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