PR Companies have become an indispensable part of organizations. They act as links between brands, organizations, and the public. PR is responsible for managing the image of a company. The emergence of PR in India can be traced to the pre-independence era. The evolution of international PR can be classified into four stages.
- PR: The Beginning
The seeds of the PR industry in India were sown during British rule. The proliferation of print newspapers enabled nationalist leaders to disseminate their ideologies. On the other hand, British rulers were trying to recruit Indian soldiers to win World War I. To mobilize the support of the Indian masses, they tried to build their image in the public eye. The result was the establishment of the Central Publicity Board.
After the War, the Central Publicity Board was taken over by the Bureau of Information in 1921. The bureau acted as a mediator between the media and the government. It scrutinized the portrayal of the government by the media and surveyed public opinion.
Some argue that the roots of PR can be found in the philanthropist undertakings of industrialists. From its inception, TISCO was involved in community welfare programs like providing free education, electricity, and housing for its workers. Tata was the first private company to open its Public Relations department in 1943.
After gaining Independence, the Government of India set up the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, chiefly to propagate information on welfare programs. It was criticized for brandishing the achievements of the party in power. However, the Indian media successfully kept the government in check by its investigative journalism.
- The Dawn of Globalization
The advent of globalization gave the PR industry a distinct shape. The deregulation of industries in the 1990s attracted MNCs to India. The international companies were trying to access new markets amidst stiff competition. They wanted to create a friendly business atmosphere. Thus, they sought professional PR assistance from global agencies.
- Present Status of PR in India
There has been a shift in the traditional meaning of PR in India. Public Relations has taken up a more serious role. It now encompasses brand building, crisis management, strategic media campaigns, and much more. Almost all Public Sectors and most private companies have a PR department.
- PRSI (The Public Relations Society of India) was founded to formulate and interpret PR functions. Its members are mainly from the Public Sector.
- PRCAI (Public Relations Consultants Association of India) – It represents PR consultancies. Its members are from the Private Sector.
- PR: Times Ahead
- As a Discipline: In India, Public Relations is usually studied under Mass Communication and Journalism.
- As a Career: PR is a viable career option in India, given many transnational and national job openings.
The PR industry in India has come a long way since its genesis. From central and state governments to private companies, all need to maintain their reputation. A PR Company can effectively bridge the gap between people and organizations.