Danny Rogers: The industry needs injection of confidence

The quarterly Bellwether Report, released this week, simply confirmed what many of us suspected.

Danny Rogers
Danny Rogers

Recovery in the marketing services business at the end of Q3 was looking sluggish at best. A 0.5 per cent upward revision, on average, of budgets across all services was hardly cause for ordering in the Krug and finally whisking the staff off to St Moritz.

The 'all other' category, under which PR unfortunately falls - I have long complained to Bellwether that PR deserves its own category - actually saw a downward revision on average of 3.6 per cent. But, as one could often argue, 'all other' may be dragged down by the events element of the category.

Anecdotally, the sluggish recovery rings true. While most comms budgets are not being slashed, there is little appetite for risk across the marcoms world. Core programmes are carrying on, but clients are wary of committing to many innovative projects. It is not necessarily that profitability is falling in the corporate world - indeed the FTSE 100 was edging towards 6,000 points at the time of writing - but there is little robust confidence, either in the markets or around the boardroom table.

At the time of writing, the Comprehensive Spending Review had yet to be revealed, but the sheer anticipation of this has been depressing confidence. With cuts dominating the media narrative and job security a worry for many, genuine enterprise is understandably thin on the ground.

This climate adversely affects a PR industry characterised by enterprising small businesses and departments that thrive on experimentation and creativity.

Although many PR professionals are quite rightly improving their measurement and justification of budgets, the marketing element of comms requires a certain amount of innovation and risk-taking.

It is ironic that a Government from which the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister have spent time as comms professionals is doing so little to encourage the comms profession.

This not only affects public sector comms workers who see their departments being savaged, but private sector professionals who need to believe in sustained business growth.

Let's hope that with the CSR announcement out of the way, we will now hear more vision and optimism emanating from Downing Street. The UK's valuable creative industries not only require tangible support and investment, they require a sense of confidence in the future.

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus

Latest Articles

John Lewis to tell brand story with "tasteful" 150th anniversary celebrations

John Lewis to tell brand story with "tasteful" 150th anniversary celebrations

Department store John Lewis is to use its 150th anniversary this year to talk about its history, which "not enough people know about", according to director of communications Peter Cross.

Labour hires Obama election strategist David Axelrod to fight General Election

Labour hires Obama election strategist David Axelrod to fight General Election

The man who helped Barack Obama win the 2008 and 2012 US presidential elections is to work for Labour along with members of his team.

Sky adds Fever PR to its roster after splitting with Cake

Sky adds Fever PR to its roster after splitting with Cake

Pay-TV giant Sky has added Fever PR to its agency line-up for a wide-ranging brief covering products and services.

Max Clifford trial jury to continue deliberations after Easter break

Max Clifford trial jury to continue deliberations after Easter break

The jury in the trial of celebrity publicist Max Clifford has been sent home for Easter and will reconvene on Tuesday for further deliberations about its verdicts on 11 charges of indecent assault.

Home Office brings in Munro & Forster to campaign against FGM

Home Office brings in Munro & Forster to campaign against FGM

The Home Office has tasked Munro & Forster (M&F) with supporting its campaign to eradicate female genital mutilation (FGM) as part of a wider retained brief.