Conclusions from the 2013 ‘World PR Report’: Optimism Dips While Industry Grows

The Holmes Report, always a reliable observer of PR’s worldwide pulse, had a big week. In addition to announcing the winners of its awards program naming the best agencies and campaigns around the globe, it also released its yearly “World PR Report” on “trends and attitudes” within the industry. Of course you should read it yourself, but here’s our best impression of a quick summary:

  • The most surprising conclusion is that, despite solid growth in the industry itself, executives on the whole seem to be a little less optimistic about PR’s future than they were a year ago: optimism levels were down from 7.7/10 to 7.5/10.
  • This dip was driven in large part by a loss of faith in Europe, where respondents have lost confidence in CEOs’ dedication to corporate reputation. (Can’t imagine this had anything to do with it…)
  • The divide is even clearer in emerging markets, where execs seem less interested in CSR and less confident in their ability to justify their clients’ expenditures. When asked whether they thought that clients were spending more on PR than marketing, Europeans gave answers ranking nearly a full point below those of their North American counterparts (5.36 to 6.25).

Seems like Asian, European and Middle Eastern firms are behind the curve on reputation concerns, service flexibility and digital offerings, because respondents in the three regions were not as sure that firms in general could provide “non-traditional services” or successfully “[address] clients’ digital needs.”

Holmes himself says that the report reveals that PR organizations, especially those operating outside North and South America, need to prove their digital capabilities and focus more intently on CSR efforts lest clients lose confidence in their ability to satisfy an evolving set of needs.

Oh, and everyone everywhere is concerned about the depth of the talent pool, so it might be time to revisit your resume.

What do we think: how accurate are these findings, and how much should we worry about their implications for the business at large?