According to a report by the Public Relations Consultants Association of India (PRCAI), the domestic industry now accounts for 8.5% of Asia-Pacific and 1% of the global share. It further highlights that the growth rate increased to 13% in 2022, a 10% jump from the pandemic period of 2021.
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Harjiv Singh, Founder & CEO of Gutenberg, an integrated digital marketing and PR agency, says PR specialists play a crucial role in shaping public perceptions and maintaining clients’ online reputation, especially in a fast-evolving landscape characterised by digital interactions, where they have the ability to harness the power of AI-driven technologies to drive strategic communications.
In the age of social media
But with social media already available as a publishing tool for every business, how is the profession progressing today?Singh says the role of PR stands strong even though social media has become an easily accessible publishing tool. PR specialists operate as strategic partners and specialise in understanding the intricate nuances of their client’s objectives and their audiences’ preferences amid the evolving media landscape. Besides, they leverage this expertise to create integrated marketing campaigns that resonate with the target audience, foster meaningful connections and build a brand’s reputation.
Areas to specialise in
There is undoubtedly more to a PR specialist’s role than just handling communication across multiple channels. As a result, each area of PR requires an expert with the right set of skills to mitigate a risk, deal with unforeseen circumstances or to simply ensure consistent growth of a brand. According to Singh, PR personnel can specialise in several areas that offer a pool of growth opportunities, including digital PR, data analytics, influencer relations, crisis communication, content creation, sustainability & CSR communications, AI & automation, metaverse, and virtual reality (VR) & augmented reality (AR).
Talking about the industries that are registering a high demand for this role, he says that at Gutenberg, they have witnessed a substantial increase in demand for PR specialists across various industries, particularly in IT and new technologies such as AI, cloud computing, robotics, blockchain and metaverse, as well as in life sciences, healthcare, development & sustainability.
Skill requirement, eligibility criteria, and more
In Singh’s opinion, though aspiring candidates come with a wealth of enthusiasm, an innovative mindset and a strong digital skill set, there are a few areas where they can enhance their skills to become well-rounded PR practitioners.
He emphasises on gaining a deep understanding of PR practices such as building strong relationships with journalists, crafting compelling narratives and navigating complex stakeholder landscapes. “It’s important for PR professionals to comprehend the larger goals of their clients’ marketing communications strategy in the context of how PR can be an enabler to that,” adds Singh.
A strong educational foundation in communication, public relations or related fields can be beneficial. He says the most important skill to be successful in PR is a problem-solving mindset coupled with a can-do attitude. These skills can reward you with fantastic learning and professional growth at any firm.
Walls PR must learn to scale
While managing relations, communication and meeting diverse brand requirements, a PR specialist can encounter a handful of challenges. However, Singh considers these challenging situations as opportunities to continuously learn, adapt and grow.
“The PR industry presents opportunities for professionals to engage in constant learning and adaptation due to the rapid evolution of digital technology and the changing media landscape. Professionals must adapt quickly to emerging trends and platforms while maintaining a solid foundation in core marketing and PR principles. This dynamic environment encourages continuous learning and staying updated with the latest tools and strategies, enabling professionals to thrive and deliver effective results,” he says.
In the current age of instant communication, Singh says it is of utmost importance for professionals to acquire proficiency in real-time responsiveness. They must strike a delicate balance between agility and accuracy, ensuring prompt and accurate responses to news, crises and client needs. Such an environment fosters the drive for improvement and the development of efficient processes and tools that can enable professionals to provide timely and effective communication, he adds.