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115 Work style in a PR firm: India – USA comparision…

December 4, 2011

It is still early days to comment on what could become a bit sticky but many friends back in India have been asking and so have a few colleagues here in the US  – about the difference in the way PR firms function in the two countries. I will write a better piece some more months down the line when I have had more exposure but here are a few first impressions. This maybe an apples and oranges comparison because I have not worked with Edelman in India (The firms I worked with in India between 2004 and 2009 are Genesis Burson Marsteller and APCO Worldwide).

Chicago and neighboring cities are home offices to professional PR firms and this is the region where 7 out of 10 global firms are headquartered, so PR has evolved here over five to six decades – In India PR firms are a phenomenon of the ‘90s and have done well thanks to early alignments with global networks besides some solid people being at the helm of these firms since their inception. The first big difference is the way new joiners are inducted into the firm: Edelman has a 4 4 4 onboarding format which covers the first 4 hours, the first 4 weeks and the first 4 months. This brings so much meaning into the profession; PR firms back in India which do not follow a robust induction process would do well in creating one.

The next big difference is how practices are structured. There are specialist groups within the larger practice and clients can choose the service they want to pay for or engage with. Eg. In India the Corporate practice team would do everything for a client including a CSR program, media relations, crisis and issues management and the main stakeholder outreach program. Here within the large Consumer Marketing and Corporate Communications practice there are sub groups for Technology clients, non-Technology clients and sub groups that offer Employee Engagement, Change & Internal communications, Issues & Crisis Counsel and CSR programs – this helps people super specialize and bring greater focus and knowledge to the mandate.

PS – I’m choosing American spelling to a large extent for the blogs on purpose

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