Danny Rogers on PR: Chill winds fail to take heat out of Britain
With just weeks until the winter solstice, dark rumours came like icy gusts. There is isolated talk of chill winds blowing through the PR industry.
It began with disappointing results from Huntsworth, the biggest UK-based PR group. Overall revenue growth was just above flat for the third quarter but, more worryingly, the group's financial PR division, Citigate, saw a 17 per cent slump in revenue. Another big name generalist PR consultancy also expressed worries to i, with bosses concerned about revenues post-Olympics. It has told staff to immediately tighten belts.
This should be a concern to us all. The British PR industry has increased overall spending for the past eight years and, excluding 2009, at near double-digit revenue growth per annum. This makes it a sector of the economy now worth more than £8bn, employing more than 60,000 professionals. But before we start envisaging the next ice age, we should recognise a complex outlook.
Certainly 2013 could be tougher than 2012, not least because next year will feature no Olympics, no World Cup and no major political election campaign – all of which boosted PR and marketing spend this year. And financial PR is indeed difficult for many. Derivatives trading is down by 20 per cent this year, domestic mergers and acquisitions activity down by a third.
But this is balanced by some warmer winds of change. An industry survey to be published this week will confirm continued growth in spend over the past 12 months. The big PR agencies have also increased their profit margins. This is driven by corporate demand for strong advice to enhance and protect reputations; and by brands that are turning away from traditional advertising and implementing the sort of conversational and peer-to-peer marketing campaigns at which PR excels.
And while some of the bigger consultancies are struggling, there are many exciting small agencies – from Pagefield on the corporate space, to Brooklyn Brothers in integrated PR/marketing – that are showing confidence and stellar growth figures.
The forecast is unsettled but, until evidence shows otherwise, British PR remains a growth business. Moreover it is the envy of the rest of the world.
Danny Rogers is editor of PR Week
- 1 Autistic teenager beaten up by bullies makes them watch 20-minute video about autism
- 2 Greece debt crisis explained: A history of just how the country landed itself in such a mess
- 3 People all over the world are getting semicolon tattoos to draw attention to mental health
- 4 Greek debt crisis: Yanis Varoufakis's funniest (and most memorable) quotes
- 5 Swedish minister gives strongest case yet on why EU should stop turning away asylum seekers
Autistic teenager beaten up by bullies makes them watch 20-minute video about autism
Greece debt crisis explained: A history of just how the country landed itself in such a mess
German conservatives are destroying Europe with austerity, says economist Thomas Piketty
Man dies instantly after shooting firework from top of his head
Isis schoolgirl Amira Abase who fled London to join terrorists in Syria mocks victims of Tunisia massacre
More Britons believe that multiculturalism makes the country worse - not better, says poll
Osborne to cap family benefits at £23,000 – announced ahead of his post-election Budget
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture
iJobs Money & Business
competitive: SThree: Are you passionate about sales?Do you have a keen interes...
£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£15000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company offers a range of ...
£15000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisors are r...