Welcome to PR Week’s 2011 Top 150 PR Consultancies Web Site
‘PR is the new advertising.’ It is a phrase that I hear often these days, albeit with little firm justification.
The theory is that two current marketing trends play into the hands of PR specialists rather than the ad men.
The first is the proliferation of social media, which has increased marketers’ interest in influencing online conversations, something that plays to PR’s strengths as a ‘conversational’ rather than a ‘broadcast’ discipline. The second is that tough economic times make clients favour PR’s traditionally lower-cost, higher return-on-investment model.
Unfortunately it is very difficult to prove that client spend is shifting from advertising to PR, because advertising media spend is officially registered, while comms investment is not.
What we do know, however, from recent Advertising Association figures, is that ad spend from 2009-10 grew by 6.9 per cent. And yet PRWeek’s Top 150 PR Consultancies report, published today, reveals that PR spend over the same period grew, on average, by 9.24 per cent.
To be fair we are not comparing like-with-like. Our report does not measure all PR spend, just that through the industry’s biggest agencies. It is nevertheless an extremely good barometer. And more than half of the agencies featured here grew by more than ten per cent in 2010.
Double-digit growth last year – albeit on a difficult 2009 – is no mean feat and suggests PR has so far survived the downturn well.
PR is not yet the new advertising. Indeed it does not have to be. But it remains a growth discipline, and a very healthy one at that.
Danny Rogers, editor-in-chief, Brand Media