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Friday Five: A Spotlight on the PR Industry

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As public relations professionals, it’s necessary for us to stay updated on the various tactics and strategies that will help us provide the best services for our clients and companies. Often, this blog series does so by holding a light to superb PR work that should be emulated, or missteps that we can learn from but are to avoid.

Friday Five LogoHowever, in this week’s Friday Five – an analysis of the week’s biggest public relations and business news and commentary – we’ll focus on the public relations industry itself. Topics include growth within the global PR market, the high turnover rate among practitioners and identifying the difference between public relations and advertising are all covered. We will also discuss whether wearable technology presents an ethical conundrum for the PR industry.


World Report: Global PR Industry Growth Surges To 11% (The Holmes Report)

After years of dealing with recessions, hiring freezes and shrinking staffs, the public relations industry growth improved to 11 percent in 2013. This is the first time the industry has reported double-digit growth since 2008. The Holmes Report, in conjunction with ICCO, produced the 2014 World PR Report, which ranks the 250 largest PR agencies across the globe.

The Holmes Report publisher and CEO Paul Holmes discusses one of the key reasons for the increase: “If we had to point to a single reason for the increasing growth rate of the PR industry around the world, it would be that the firms in our survey are really coming to terms with the challenge of digital and social media. Throughout the survey, we see firms increasing their investment in digital build and production and social community management, and competing successfully for so-called ‘non-traditional’ assignments. This appears to be making a real difference to topline growth.”

Read the full article and access the report via The Holmes Report.

5 Reasons Why The Global PR Market Is Growing (In2 Insight & Innovation)

There are many reasons why the global public relations market is growing, according to The Holmes Report and ICCO’s 2014 World PR Report, and The Holmes Report’s In2 platform delved deeper into the findings. What did they find? Massive, publically-traded firms aren’t the only group driving growth.

“The independents topped the 11% industry growth rate, coming in at 12.5% and completely dominating the fastest growing agency rankings,” explained article author Aarti Shah. “Also of note is that independent PR firm fee income has almost reached parity with the big four holding groups (WPP, Omnicom, Interpublic and Publicis Group), with the former reporting $4.5 billion compared to the latter’s $4.7 billion. The world’s largest PR firm, independent Edelman, grew 12.2% to $746.7 million in 2013.”

Find out four other reasons for the global PR market growth via the article.

House of Commons debate – is wearable tech an ethical nightmare for PR industry? (The Drum)

Does a debate about wearable technology seem trivial to you? If you’ve worn a FitBit step tracker or looked through Google Glass, then you might be considered a wearable tech user; however, now that the public relations industry is finding ways to use this technology for promotional use, the ethics of using this new technology has come into question.

Stephen Waddington, president of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) in the UK believes the current ethical framework of the PR industry will continue to be satisfactory, even with the advances of wearable technology. He explains, “The public relations business has been slow to adopt new technology in the past. We were late to recognize the opportunity offered by blogs, branded forms of media, and most recently social networks. It has been an awakening for our business. I would urge practitioners tonight not to miss the huge opportunity that wearable technology offers as a force for good, and means to advance professional practice.”

View the full article on The Drum.

Why Does PR Have Such a Big Turnover Problem? (PRNewser)

If you’ve worked at a public relations or advertising agency recently or are currently employed in an agency setting, then you might consider it rare for employees to stay put for more than a few years. According to Patrick Coffee of PRNewser, the tenure of most employees is “almost shockingly brief.” In fact, a recent article in Entrepreneur stated that voluntary and involuntary turnover reached more than 55 percent over the past 12 months.

Coffee shared additional statistics from a 2007 study of public relations firms:

  • Average yearly turnover across all specialties is 20.5%
  • 49% of firms report turnover rates between 10-30%
  • 24% of firms have rates higher than 30%

Read the full article on PRNewser and share your thoughts on why the industry turnover rate is so high.

The Real Difference Between PR And Advertising (Forbes)

Robert Wynne examines the difference between the public relations profession and advertising, an age-old discussion that sometimes causes significant confusion among industry outsiders (and sadly, some insiders as well).

Wynne discusses the topic with Steve Cody of Inc. Magazine, who believes that public relations is substantially more effective than advertising. “It’s not difficult to understand why,” said Cody. “Advertising continues to embrace an antiquated, top-down, inside-out way of communicating. It reflects senior management’s view on what a consumer or business-to-business buyer should think is important. PR, on the other hand, depends upon listening to the conversation and understanding the who, what, when, where, why and how of engaging in the discussion. Public relations executives excel in storytelling and, typically, present a perceived problem (i.e. childhood obesity) and their client’s unique solution (i.e. a new type of fitness equipment designed by, and for, pre-teens).”

Do you agree with this assessment? See other opinions on the great PR versus advertising debate via Forbes.

Rosanne Mottola is public relations manager for the Public Relations Society of America.

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