March 02, 2017
The start-up bridge has fallen down: Impact on PR industry
Over the past few years, Indian start-up industry has received a shot in the arm as investor confidence rising exponentially with increment in funds, alongside continuous support from the government. This has urged the entire industry to proceed with aggressive expansion plans, viable business models and problem-solving attitudes at a godspeed manner. However, today it seems that their luck soon ran short owing to general sense of unwarranted overconfidence, without much thought going into the futuristic road-map.
Promising start-ups such as LazyLad piped down from B2B from B2C, and PepperTap initially shut down operations in six cities followed by becoming a ‘full stack ecommerce logistics company’ and shutting down hyper local entirely. Grofers, too, shut down operations in nine cities, while Stayzilla halted its operations in hopes of a revamp. In-short, the Indian start-up bubble is set to burst at any moment, with dire consequences on not only the start-up community but also Indian economy, in general. While mergers and acquisitions have been the saviour in need, a enormous deal of layoffs was a result of this slump, leading to a great dearth in the workforce system.
This endemic has seeped from the ranks of start-ups to well established organizations, with serious consequences in the business arena. Ecommerce unicorn Snapdeal has been constantly bogged with cost-cutting measures in a last-ditch bid to attain profitability, while its arch nemesis Flipkart is on the path of recovery from serial devaluation by its investors. Even a hot-shot global player such as Amazon has reportedly incurred losses worth $487 Mn in its international business, while trying to sustain its prime position in the Indian ecommerce space. The writing is clearly on the wall; if you snooze, you lose.
Currently, in such a fraught environment, only organizations with a fool-proof backup plan are crawling out of the rubble of destruction. To make sense ought of this chaotic predicament is left to those of robust veins and heart of steel- the PR industry. At one hand, while this bust has been a cause of worry for other sectors, the PR industry in general has been viewing this in a positive light. Infact, a silver lining has been seen in this cloud, with the dissolve being seen as a game-changer in terms of consolidation and stabilizations, alongside the redundancy of fragmentation
Lately, the industry was facing an acute case of disorientation, with fledgling-freelancers bagging big accounts on the accord of their ingenuity and street-smarts to do the uncharted. In the battle of this David and Goliath, it was apparent that David was stealing livelihood and reputation away from the fabled Goliath. With this start-up defunct, these small agencies are scrambling helter-skelter to take shade under the well-established shade of the prominent PR firms. Hence, a lot of merger and acquisition is to be foreseen, alongside a greater rise in job profile for the erstwhile niche industry.
Market consolidation is another aspect that is said to emerge from these difficult times. Owing to the tightening of job for freelancers in metro city, a revamp in the way PR functions is set to take precedence. Operations would be segmented further-freelancers would be returning back to their roots, in terms of rejoining their previous organizations. Further credibility would be leveraged in terms of market size and streamlining of job opportunity. With this start-up burst, the workflow is starting to have acquired a middle ground as freelancers are being taken under the wings of larger PR honchos, leading to equivocal revenue flowing into the firms, not to mention a streamlined work allocation, internally.
The article is contributed by Mr.Udit Pathak, Director and Co-founder Media Mantra