Friday, October 08, 2004

Elizabeth Albrycht talks outsourcing and PR in India

Elizabeth Albrycht talks about public relations in India. She has mentioned this blog too, saying that I seem to think that the state of PR in India is pretty pathetic.

That's true, more or less. Mostly it can be blamed on the Indian communicators and industries - the communicators are comfortable with what they have been doing so far and do not see any reason to change. After all, their clients are not demanding more, are they?

The problem seems to be that PR seems to be looked at by companies as a way to get cheap ad space in newspapers and magazines. On TV too. As a result, PR often becomes just media relations and media management. The account manager is as good as the thickness of his folder of press clippings. Event management, seminars etc are definitely not ignored, but largely the focus is on column inches in the newspapers.

Elizabeth Albrycht writes that she has wondered about whether PR can be outsourced. In this post, Should You Be Worried about Outsourcing? she examines an e-newsletter which argues that it is not possible. Essentially, she argues that there is nothing in PR that cannot be grasped by someone abroad, especially with the help of 'floating' and 'pissed off' experts and senior people. She concludes by saying that if you are working in the communications field, you should be damn scared about outsourcing.

I believe that she is right. Nothing works like the scent of money, and if the Indian PR industry sees an opportunity, you can be damn well sure they will grab it, and transform themselves if necessary. In fact, there are a few US and UK-based PR agencies in India already. Their Indian operations currently only look after the communication needs of their Indian clients, but will not be too difficult to learn and expand into outsourcing. These companies already have Americans and Europeans working with them; that will make it easier. One is Good Relations India and another, Text 100 India has been recently awarded a CMS certification. Weber Shandwick is also present in India already. Same for Text 100 India (which I personally feel is one of the most professional here), which handles PR for Microsoft in India.

But if all of them are here, why haven't they tried outsourcing so far? Hmm.. more research is needed.


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