Media perceptions about India are changing around the world. India is seen as embracing globalization and shedding off its isolationist and self-sufficiency mindset. However, there is an indication to take India beyond the ‘outsourcing’ label with planned and sustained communications.
The study has been conducted by Edelman, the world’s largest independent public relations firm, and its India partner R&PMC, a communication consultancy. Journalists across major cities in the US, Europe and Asia indicate that India enjoys a very good reputation in the media. China (46%) has a 3-1 advantage over India (14%) in “ share of voice’’ (SOV) in the US media. The contrast with China gets even more striking as an analysis of content shows that one out of every four stories on India is about outsourcing, whereas only one out of every 16 stories on China is about outsourcing.
A key finding of the study is that India’s five-year-plus prospects are seen stronger than that of other emerging markets like Brazil, Russia, Poland and Mexico. While Poland and Mexico are way behind, Russia’s economy is still weak and its government autocratic, while Brazil is perceived as just beginning its economic reforms.
India is perceived as excelling in high tech (96% of those interviewed), software (44%), textiles (40%), pharmaceuticals (32%), call centres (17%), automotive (16%) and consumer products (16%).
The findings of the study will be presented in India this week to the American Chamber of Commerce (AMCHAM), the International Advertising Association and to select CEOs by Richard Edelman, President and CEO of Edelman Worldwide.
According to the survey, India needs to emphasize its strong management expertise, transparency, corporate governance and leadership role in corporate social responsibility. Media perceptions show that emerging markets are closing in on India’s BPO dominance as countries like Philippines are posing a threat with a lower cost structure.
India’s downsides are perceived in infrastructure (35% of those surveyed), transportation (35%), financial services (30%), pharmaceuticals (20%), manufacturing (20%), automobiles (15%), heavy industry (15%) and its poverty (14%).
Among India’s advantages are its English-speaking, educated, young workforce, and a business-friendly and democratic government. The low cost structure and an eager and savvy consumer market with a growing buying potential is also a big advantage.
Edelman said the findings were significant as they indicated “a continuity in the reforms process even with the change of government in the world’s largest democracy.” He added that Indian companies “have a strategic imperative to reach out to all critical stakeholders to ensure the market is seen in the appropriate mode of sustainable growth.”
Sector-wise, both international and Indian media agreed that IT is a strength (over 80% across countries). Media in Asia (69%), EU (73%) and the US (50%) believe India is strong in pharma in contrast to the Indian media (30%). In the auto sector, 60% of Indian media felt that India is strong, whereas international media held exactly the opposite view, with the lowest opinion held by Asian media (7%) followed by EU (18%) and the U.S. (20%). Therefore, there is a difference of opinion on India’s prowess in the pharmaceutical and auto sectors.