PR predictions for 2003

Andy Cunningham, CEO, Citigate Cunningham

Andy Cunningham, CEO, Citigate Cunningham

What will be the greatest challenge for the PR industry in 2003? The biggest challenge for the PR industry will be about making money and getting clients to pay for the value that their receiving. The client has all the power and the clout right now. This is a far cry from the "bubble" just three years ago, when agencies could pick and choose clients and projects. The pendulum has now swung the other way. Companies want sales. Because of this, PR has taken a backseat. Our challenge is to mold ourselves to what the market needs now, remain a viable business, with good margins, to keep the best talent employed. Will PR increase its relevance to the C-suite in 2003? Most of the challenges and problems faced by the C-suite today are not PR problems - they are business problems. PR people need to understand that now, more than ever, is the time CEO's and their teams truly need strategic communication counsel - similar to the kind of counsel they need from their lawyers, accountants and other professional service firms. A few CEO's will understand the importance of this type of guidance and their companies will be the true winners. Unfortunately, with the immediate concerns of shrinking shareholder value and deteriorating economic stability, not to mention corporate governance and CEO reputations, corporate America is myopic about long-term public relations and positioning. It is our job to counsel executives to think beyond today's headlines and incorporate strategic communication into both their short-term crisis management and their long-term business planning. What will be the big media trend of 2003? Uncovering the scandal and exposing corrupt CEOs was the big media trend this year. For 2003, business news won't have the same amount of prominence. The media will focus on our economy, civil liberties and international conflicts. Many executives will rely on us to avoid being under fire. As many have learned in 2002, communications can be a strategic weapon during difficult times. "Transparency" was the defining business term of 2002. What will be the defining term for 2003? The big subjects will be authenticity and accountability. The marketplace won't tolerate slapdash management. The days of CEO prima donnas are gone. Boards are not going to allow them to be "rock stars" anymore. It's all about getting back to reliable leadership. Today's business world requires a CEO that has the company's best interest at heart rather than his or her own. 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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