How Did Indian PR Experts Observe The Evolution Of Digital PR In 2015

Experts from the Indian PR industry believe that Digital PR has played a significant role in 2015 but still has some time to go before it gets adopted by all

“Digital and social PR is now the biggest source of growth for the PR business in India and this trend will continue through 2016,” informed Paarul Chand, Editor at PRmoment India.

In an email conversation with Lighthouse Insights, she writes that Digital PR has now firmly moved from being an optional service that PR offers –mostly outsourced - to a must have part of value added services for clients. Most PR agencies now offer a digital PR vertical which can range from providing content to crisis management to online CRM management.

2015 has been the uprising year of Digital PR with brands and celebrities endorsing online platforms from communication to promotions. However, like digital this field is yet to get mass acceptance but surely one can’t commit the mistake of missing it.

To understand better about how Digital PR has evolved in 2015 and what it means to the industry, Lighthouse Insights spoke with a few interesting minds of the industry. Listed here are the edited excerpts from the email conversation:

Paarul Chand, Editor, PRmoment India

If you look at digital activities, there are three clear business activities. Evolving a business, promoting a business and protecting a business. The first two activities of ‘evolve’ and ‘promote’ have competition from other players. For example, Deloitte is building its own digital capacities to provide better advice for evolving businesses and CMOs are now mostly in charge of online promotion.

It’s the ‘protect’ area of digital PR that PR has a special strength and limited competition from other players and in 2015 PR agencies are beginning to make the switch to this. They are shifting their focus to being consultants that manage the environment for a company which includes a strong component of digital PR.

This will only strengthen in 2016 as PR professionals realize they are better off buying the best technology (as opposed to developing their own tech IPs, which was something which has plagued the western PR market) for digital PR and concentrating on strategy. However, they must also watch out and not become a last minute, emergency response center during a crisis.

Radhika Nihalani, Co-Founder/CEO, Think Ink Communications

Public relations is going through a fundamental shift with an increased integration of digital PR with the traditional forms. With technology having driven change at an accelerated rate in the last year, our life is more online than ever before.

Digital PR saw a massive surge in 2015 with majority brands using the online platform to make the biggest announcements and break the most engaging news. Case in point being YRF’s announcement of Aditya Chopra’s next Befikre, where every announcement pertinent to the film was made on the digital platform and its virality ensured that the message reached out to the same (or more) amount of people that it would have if done via the traditional PR mode.

Dilip Cherian, Image Guru, Perfect Relations

Digital PR has grown in unprecedented ways over the last few years and 2015 was no exception. 2015 was the year when companies spent most of their marketing and communication budgets on social and digital media, with marketing teams reducing their advertising budgets towards content creation for digital media.

Digital PR has now become an extremely niche and specialized field, it is a must have as a part of business and marcom strategy and in the next few years will be adopted by 100% of brands.

Amith Prabhu, Founding Dean, SCoRe

Digital has become the mainstay of brand communications. Companies that had not embraced digital were forced to use it in 2015. The classic example will be Nestle’s Maggi and how it used digital when the unexpected crisis hit them.

However, digital is still largely social and to some extent search and display. Brands still focus heavily on traditional outlets including print and tv, both for paid and earned media.