Now in its 4th year, the Agency Report has become an established
part of the PR Week annual cycle and an important companion piece to the
Top 150, providing as it does a qualitative analysis of some of the
country’s leading players to supplement information that PR Week
publishes regarding their financial performance.
However, some subtle but significant changes have been made to the 1999
Agency Report, making the survey more exacting. This doesn’t signify an
unwillingness by PR Week to reward excellence. Rather, it is a
recognition that the industry is becoming more conscious of the need to
be accountable and to invest in its future - and that in order for this
trend to continue, it is necessary to set more ambitious benchmarks.
This reworking of the Agency Report, however, doesn’t just consist of
moving the goalposts in terms of marks. There has also been a
re-evaluation of the factors that go to make up a quality business and
service. As investment in technological infrastructure becomes the norm,
the number of marks allocated for investing in ’essentials’ such as
e-mail and internet access have been significantly reduced, with far
greater emphasis placed on the all important issue of research and
evaluation. And for the first time this year, agencies have been rated
on how far their research and evaluation programmes meet the guidelines
laid out in the Research and Evaluation Toolkit.
At the same time, the number of marks allocated to business performance
have been reduced, with greater emphasis on the crucial issue of staff
retention and development. And recent profitability and business
performance have now been counterbalanced by attention to an agency’s
long term business planning.
The emphasis of the Agency Report is now is even less on short term gain
and even more on the ability of a company to stay the course and prove
its ability to deliver long term quality of service.