This week our Blog team talked to Xavier Prabhu, the Founder and Chief Mentor of Businesshubs and PRHUB, partner of GlobalCom PR Network in India.*
1. Which industries/markets are booming at the moment in India?
Education, healthcare, hospitality and tourism, banking, financial services and insurance (BFSI) and IT are some of the industries doing well in India right now. Education and healthcare are growing simply because the sector is increasingly getting privatized and with rising incomes people are seeking better and higher quality in services in these areas which the public sector cannot deliver.
Education is also aspirational and Indian families have typically invested heavily in this area irrespective of their income levels often spending beyond their means. This also explains the increasing flow of students from India to other countries and also growth in number of private players in education. In healthcare, all segments are growing as urban India inches closer to global standards in living and semi-urban areas open up to the possibility of better services.
Tourism is growing both domestically and overseas as higher incomes and changing lifestyles (including emergence of nuclear families) mean people are holidaying more and in destinations abroad which no longer outside the reach of their budgets. Hotels and restaurants are booming as more and more people eat out in urban areas and this trend spilling over to semi-urban areas as well.
In the hotel industry, the biggest growth is in the business and budget sector besides boutique as business travel leapfrogs and number of rooms available are not adequate to meet that demand. After a slack period IT is back with a bang with top Indian IT companies posting healthy growth and aggressively hiring. Banking is growing as well with technology aiding better reach and penetration.
One must note here that industries doing well is relative since growth rates of single digits is considered low growth in India while most of the world is used to lower single digits also as decent growth. Considering that every sector is growing in India.
2. What makes India currently so interesting for these industries?
The internal reasons for the industries growth has been covered in my answer above. But from the point of view of companies from outside of India, the reasons why the Indian market is interesting across these industries and many more is simple. There is simply no market of such size across the world available and with such an opportunity for growth.
Beyond the potential, there is also innovation that is happening which is attractive as the scale of the issues here or their nature is so different that the experience of western markets are not relevant. Therefore there is basic need for different thinking, approach and solutions.
In fact, for many companies it is a testing lab, outcomes of which then can be marketed worldwide. Be it low budget cars or wind turbines or BPO.
3. Why should companies from these industries start doing Public Relations in India?
The reason why any of these companies need to look at PR not just tactically but even strategically is the complexity, competition and clutter in the marketplace. The factors they need to manage and keep their image/reputation intact are higher and they need professional help and guidance to navigate this well. The regulatory environment is getting tough and activism (vested or otherwise) is growing across the country.
There is also the need to be seen as different and away from the clutter since every brand worth its salt is here and also investing heavily.
Lastly, Indian employees in many sectors are in demand and they are asking for higher levels of engagement which is leading to growth in internal communication as a practice. One will see PR maturing in India and also becoming more strategic. But the price sensitivity and media relations orientation simply will not go away in the near future.
*The series is based on phone or face-to-face interviews and written input, therefore please excuse language mistakes which might reflect foreign language influences.