The second phase of proper Public Relations in India started after independence when in 1958 the Public Relations Society of India (PRSI) was established in Bombay. Soon after, in 1960, the first conference of PRSI was held in Calcutta and the Public Relations Society of India, Kolkata chapter was established. But in spite of all these conferences taking place in different parts of India, people were not at all clear about the job role of a PR person. Rather, people started talking about how PR professionals were a similar breed like lobbyists and that they serve no purpose in a company. Thus, a conference was held in 1968 in New Delhi where all the concerns that different people and stakeholders had for the profession of public relations were taken into consideration and addressed. This set the tone for the next Public Relations conferences that followed in the later years.
Came the early 90s and the need for public relations were understood by people more. People started understanding the importance of not only communicating a certain message or information but also the significance of making that message effective, relevant and impactful to the consumers. Advertising and marketing firms started realizing that it’s only a matter of time before big brands and companies start asking only for PR services and maybe chuck advertising and marketing. In the 1980s, some foreign firms like Ogilvy PR set base in India. In 1993, Genesis PR, the first ever Indian PR firm was established by a lady named Prema Sagar. Not only that, but firms like Ad Factors who specialized in providing IPO services also started offering PR services along with their IPO specialization. During the same time, foreign PR firms like Edelman which was an independent firm by itself and MSL under the holding group of Publicis entered India. The 90s are known to be the golden time for Public Relations.
2002 saw the growth of specialist agencies like Blue Lotus Communications who offered specialization services in sectors like healthcare, consumer, technology etc. In 2001, all the top seven like-minded PR firms namely Genesis Burson Marsteller (now Genesis BCW), Hanmer MSL (Now MSL), Weber Shandwick, Text 100 (now Archetype), Good Relations India, Ogilvy PR, 20:20 Media (now MSL 20:20) formed the Public Relations Consultants Association of India (PRCAI).
Since then, the fortune wheel of Public Relations in India hasn’t stopped turning. Currently, it is one of the very few industries that is growing at a tremendous rate. According to Holmes Report, the PR industry was the only industry which saw a double-digit growth of 18% in the last year. This account is a rough of the chronological growth of Public Relations in India and it can be hoped the journey goes on.
Baishali Banerjee is a part of the Class of 2020 of PG Programme in PR and Corporate Communications at SCoRe, Mumbai. She completed her winter internship with Genesis BCW, Mumbai.
She is from Kolkata. She did her graduation in Media Science with a specialization in Public Relations and Advertising from NSHM Knowledge Campus, Kolkata. She has always been curious about the corporate world and how all these huge brands function and connect with their consumers on a day to day basis. She interned with Ketchum Sampark for a period of three months under the Brands & Lifestyle team. This experience made her more curious about the PR fraternity. Also, she is a person very open to learning and her interests lie in corporate, entertainment and lifestyle.
She can be reached at @baishalibanerj5 on Twitter and as Baishali Banerjee on LinkedIn