PR predictions for 2003

Harvey Greisman, VP of communications, IBM Global Services

Harvey Greisman, VP of communications, IBM Global Services

What will be the greatest challenge for the PR industry in 2003? On the counseling side, advising management how to navigate the waters of increased public scrutiny in a way that furthers both the company's objectives as well as the public's. In terms of how we manage our discipline, I think the challenge will be in the realization that the effects of the economic downturn will be long-lasting. That is, even when business recovers, it will likely keep staff functions as lean and efficient as possible and will desire a flexible infrastructure that can power up quickly on an "on demand" basis. That's something both agencies and the client side will have to focus on. Will PR increase its relevance to the C-suite in 2003? It absolutely should. Momentum is in our favor in several important respects: The recognition that the public impact of what is said and decided in the C-suite is more important than ever; the growing realization that fewer dollars spent on public relations can be more productive than larger sums spent on advertising (with serious books on the subject such as the one by Al Ries supporting this premise); and the increasing number of talented PR execs who have already earned a seat at the table. What will be the big media trend of 2003? I hope it will be coverage of the economic recovery, and will explore in-depth the strategies that companies use to regenerate growth - which will hopefully be based on fundamental changes in business models and not just the cheap exploitation of a brief uptick in the marketplace. "Transparency" was the defining business term of 2002. What will be the defining term for 2003? "Transparency" was the defining business term of 2002. What will be the defining term for 2003? - I don't think "transparency" is going away very soon, nor its close relative, "integrity" - and that's a good thing for the investing public and for business, long term. But it seems increasingly clear that the impact of Sept. 11 and the prolonged economic downturn will affect many companies' business models in a very fundamental way. They will be more focused on building in "resiliency and responsiveness" to handle anything from outside threats to spikes in customer demand; on more "flexible and variable" cost structures; and on the increasing tendency to "focus on core competencies" - with greater reliance on outsourcers and partnerships to provide ancillary functions. Click on any of the names below to see their 2003 PR predictions: Reed Byrum, president and CEO, PRSA Steve Cody, managing partner, PepperCom Andy Cunningham, CEO, Citigate Cunningham Ofield Dukes, president, Ofield Dukes & Associates Peter Gardiner, partner & chief media officer, Deutsch Inc. Harvey Greisman, VP of communications, IBM Global Services Fred Haberman, president, Haberman & Associates Andy Lark, VP, global communications & marketing, Sun Microsystems Bill Margaritis, VP of worldwide corporate communications, FedEx Helen Ostrowski, CEO, Porter Novelli Doug Pinkham, president, Public Affairs Council Harlan Teller, chief client officer and president, worldwide corporate practice, Hill & Knowlton Mark Weiner, CEO, Delahaye Medialink

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