Euro students: 'PR thinking' to dominate marcomms

NEW YORK: European marketing students said in a survey released by the MediaSchool Group on Tuesday that "PR thinking" will come to dominate marketing in the next decade.

NEW YORK: European marketing students said in a survey released by the MediaSchool Group on Tuesday that “PR thinking” will come to dominate marketing in the next decade.

They also identified Ogilvy Public Relations as the PR agency they most admire.

The “Next Generation of Marcoms” report surveyed more than 2,000 students between the ages of 20 and 25 who are studying advertising, marketing, communications, PR, design, and events in the UK, France, Spain, and Belgium.

Seven in 10 students said they believe in a decade's time, marcomms will be dominated by “PR thinking,” with word-of-mouth and trust dominating how agencies respond to issues.

More than three in ten respondents picked WPP Group-owned Ogilvy as their most admired agency, followed by Edelman (15%), and Hill+Knowlton Strategies (13%).

More than half of respondents (54%) said Publicis Groupe was the international holding company they admire most, followed by Omnicom Group (11%), WPP (10%), and Interpublic Group (2%).

Red Bull's “Stratos” content marketing initiative was named the best creative and branding campaign of the past year by 44% of the students. It was followed by Nike's “My Time is Now” effort (20%) and the opening ceremonies of the London Olympic Games (19%).

The report also found that Apple is the most desired company to work for in-house, according to 44% of respondents.

Pascal Beucler, SVP and chief strategy officer at MSLGroup, said the survey is “gratifying” for the PR industry because it shows the future generation of marcomms leaders believe “the time has come for PR.”

“Our industry has worked hard to change the perception of our business, which is going help us move higher in the value chain in terms of defining what we stand for and how we help clients,” he said, adding that the landscape is different than five years ago when PR was perceived as a “tool in the box.”

“Now agencies are starting to show clients that PR is no longer public relations but people relations,” he added. 

Content marketing was also identified by the vast majority of students (81%) as something that would be an essential part of their marketing strategy. More than 80% believe that standalone social media agencies and digital firms will disappear within the next 10 years. The vast majority of the students (90%) surveyed do not see social media as a standalone discipline, but rather a channel that all marketers should use.

Despite this, seven in 10 members of this “next generation” of marketers do not consider themselves digital natives. They believe the generation 10 years behind are the “true digital natives,” according to the report.

The study also explored students' attitudes towards social good, ethics, and sustainability.

Doing social good is considered as important as creating profits for 86% of the students surveyed. Just less than eight in 10 students (78%) believe that the marcomms industry enjoys an “unfair subsidy” from this generation, compared to the previous one, in the form of unpaid internships.

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