Recently, Campaign India caught up with Aedhmar Hynes, global CEO, Text 100 to know more about Text 100's India plans, her opinion on the challenges for PR in a market like India and more. Excerpts:
What are your plans in India? How critical is the India office for Text 100, globally?
Text 100 has a considerable footprint in India. We have four offices under the Text 100 brand including offices in Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Chennai. We also operate as Vox PR which is a fully owned subsidiary in three cities including Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore. In total we employ 125 staff across these markets. We have invested heavily in India and will continue to do so in the years to come – Why? Because we believe in the power of the Indian marketplace.
When we appointed our new managing director for India, Amit Chaudhery, we also announced changes to the leadership team. Our investment in our people has paid off and we have a strong and very experienced group of managers directing the Indian business. These people have focused on expanding our client base while at the same time growing existing clients to enable us to be in a position that survived the global economic downturn remarkably well.
A certain focus for us will continue to be our leadership in social media and India is a market where we have very strong talent to deliver these services to our clients. With clients such as Nokia, Virgin Mobile, BMW and Lenovo we also have a strong digital lifestyle team.
What are the growth prospects of markets like India and China with respect to PR?
India and China are certainly growth markets for Text 100. So are Malaysia and Japan in APAC. The unique benefit of India is that we can produce the same high quality of work at a much lower cost to company.
We launched GRO (Global Resource Optimization) in India in 2007. This is a unique PR services offering clients access to experienced, high quality writers and PR administrators at a lower hourly rate. GRO offers clients an opportunity to tap into round-the-clock PR services while lowering the cost of delivery. As we rebound globally out of the economic downturn, we will be looking towards India to lead the way.
Moving forward, where do you see growth coming from in the PR industry in terms of services?
There are several areas that Text 100 will focus on in the coming year and beyond.
Social media is a service which Text 100 has enjoyed a leadership position on ever since we became the first PR agency to open a virtual office in Second Life. We have continued to dominate this space and have our own global social media guru, Jeremy Woolf, based in APAC. We are seeing increased demand from clients for social media projects, from training sessions to crisis preparedness and competitive monitoring and measurement.
We are also moving our clients away from pure media-relations based PR work, towards more stakeholder and influencer relations. This is due to the increasing understanding and sophistication of the communications role across organizations.
At Text 100, particularly in India, we have a strong digital lifestyle and consumer technology offering; as well as a leading position in our core business of technology IT and telecommunications.
What are the challenges for the PR industry in a market like India?
The great thing about India is its diversity, including its people, cultures, religions and landscapes. This builds the colour and freshness of what we love about India. However, this can also produce its own unique set of challenges for any PR campaign. When developing campaigns for our clients we need to consider the differences between first tier and second tier cities compared to the rural areas, the vast differences in education levels, all the way through to connectivity and technology savviness. What this does do, is to provide the opportunity for us to develop a complete PR program not just focusing on media relations, but including grassroots elements, social media, influencer and stakeholder relations.
What are the opportunities that PR has as a tool to build technology?
The role of PR in the technology industry is very often to build understanding and awareness about what the technology is and how it benefits the audience it is intended to impact. Once a baseline appreciation for a technology has been built, then PR can play a role in helping to create user demand and also build particular brand preference for the technology. This can be achieved through creating and placing opinion pieces and product reviews in traditional media channels like newspapers, magazines and television. But increasingly the role of social media channels such as blogs and online user forums are a powerful way for technology companies to communication directly with their end users. The effectiveness of social media channels also provides users with the opportunities to communicate with each other about tech products and services, which if managed correctly can have a significant impact on a user’s perception and experience.