Two PR surveys point to optimistic future

NEW YORK: A pair of surveys conducted by the Council of Public Relations Firms have highlighted some positive trends in the industry.

NEW YORK: A pair of surveys conducted by the Council of Public Relations Firms have highlighted some positive trends in the industry.

The council?s quarterly Quick Survey, compiled in July with more than 50 Council members polled, found that 75% of responding firms experienced an increase in revenue for the first six months of 2004 compared with the same period in 2003.

The respondents reported an average 13% increase in revenues in the first quarter of 2004 compared with the first quarter of 2003. In other positive news, 83% of firms reported an increase in new business activity and nearly two-thirds said they were capitalizing more on these new business opportunities than in 2003.

The council also conducted its annual Business Practices Benchmarking Survey in April and May, which received 81 responses. The study found that 89% of surveyed firms expect revenues to rise in 2004, a sharp contrast to 2003?s growth expectations from only 44% of firms. Also, the average revenue per professional increased nearly 6%, with an overall average of $186,113.

?After two and a half years of dismal news, we were pleased to see things were looking up and a lot of indicators were positive,? said Kathy Cripps, president of the Council of Public Relations Firms.

Despite the heartening news, firms reported that clients are tentative in regards to budget control, continuing to employ fixed fees and retainers and continuing to hire firms on a project basis.

?There?s a conservative optimism from the firms,? Cripps said. ?It?s important that they keep converting new business and be able to hire strong account managers.?

As clients continue to examine PR budgets in the third and fourth quarters, Cripps expects they?ll continue to look for the best strategy.

?Outsourcing to agencies is a practical and popular way to look at their PR programs,? Cripps said.

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