After cosmopolitan cities, big-time public relations agencies are now eyeing emerging markets such as Ahmedabad, Pune and Chandigarh.
With Gujarat receiving investment proposals worth crores of rupees and many global players planning to set up units in the state, Ahmedabad is fast emerging as a preferred destination for the PR majors.
Small-time PR agencies are also thriving, forging tie-ups with bigger agencies and handling comparatively smaller accounts.
In the last one and a half years, many national-level PR agencies which managed media and public affairs of companies in Gujarat from their Mumbai offices have opened new branches in Ahmedabad.
Many more have decided to open offices in the city soon.
Some of these companies are also looking at opportunities in cities such as Pune and Chandigarh, which are also emerging as new business destinations with fresh investment proposals.
Vaishnovi Communications had opened its office in Ahmedabad in June, 2002, at a time when one of its major clients, Tata Teleservices Ltd, was gearing up to start telecom services in Gujarat.
Now Vaishnovi has a strong team of PR professionals in Ahmedabad, looking after major cities like Vadodara, Surat and Rajkot apart from Jamnagar, where its another client Tata Chemicals’ salt plant is based.
Tushar Panchal, regional director of Vaishnovi, said, “For the national level PR agencies, Gujarat is now coming up as a very important destination. The companies take into consideration the network of the PR agencies before giving them assignments. Changes in the business scenario, especially in the telecom segment where companies have increased the penetration levels very fast in recent times, have changed the outlook of the PR agencies. Now we have a strong presence in Ahmedabad.”
Panchal was earlier looking after the operations of Perfect Relations, another major player in this segment.
“Finding suitable manpower in this segment, which requires working under high stress for long hours and frequent travelling, is difficult in Gujarat. So, PR agencies are also forced to indulge in staff poaching,” a senior PR professional said.
Mumbai-based Sampark PR handles Airtel in Gujarat, the National Dairy Development Board based in Anand and other major clients such as ICICI Prudential and ICICI Lombard.
Sampark PR has so far been carrying out its operations in Gujarat through an associate. Now the company has decided to open a branch in Ahmedabad.
Bela Rajan, director of Sampark PR, said, “The companies earlier used to target metro markets and major cities near the metro cities. Now they are taking their products and services to the second- and third-level. Companies were earlier looking for quality services only. But they now demand a wider network as well. Gujarat, along with Pune and Chandigarh, has shown an impressive growth in recent times.”
Sampark PR has decided to open its offices in Ahmedabad, Pune and Chandigarh and may go for further expansion in most of the state capitals in the next two to three years.
Rediffusion DY & R, which got the Shell Hazira Pvt Ltd account early last year, opened an office in Ahmedabad to cater to the needs of the company.
Rediffusion’s another major client, Welspun, also has its plants in Bharuch and Vapi in Gujarat. However, in a quick development this week, Rediffusion reportedly lost Shell Hazira which now will be serviced by a new company, Torque Communications, which is also setting up its office in Ahmedabad soon. Rediffusion not only lost the client but also its location head to Torque.
Another agency, Adfactors, which handles the account of Arvind Mills based in Ahmedabad, also operates from a branch office here.
Hanmer & Partners, which is promoted by Sunil Gautam and handles local clients like GNFC, the State Bank of Saurashtra and Nirma Ltd, also has a very strong presence in the state.
Hanmer may go for strengthening its presence in Gujarat.