Firms look to social, brand marketing for growth: ICCO

NEW YORK: US PR consultancies have the highest growth potential this year in digital and social media, consumer and brand marketing, and crisis communications, according to the International Communications Consultancy Organization's World Report 2012.

NEW YORK: US PR consultancies have the highest growth potential this year in digital and social media, consumer and brand marketing, and crisis communications, according to the International Communications Consultancy Organization's World Report 2012.  

However, US consultancies have the least opportunity for growth in internal communications and public affairs, according to the report. Increased consumer activity led to a demand in social and digital media, corporate communications, and crisis and issues management for companies in 2011.

Based on findings from The Council of Public Relations Firms' benchmark study, ICCO reported that PR agency revenue increased 10% in the US on average in the last year with strong growth in the consumer and social media sectors. It predicted the US communications market will see revenue growth of 5% to 10% in 2012. The study incorporated data from national PR associations in 23 countries from April to June 2012.

By industry, US consultancies have significant revenue potential in consumer goods, finance, energy, and healthcare, but little chance for growth in industrial products, not-for-profit, and real estate. 

ICCO president Jean-Léopold Schuybroek said PR revenue has increased on a global basis, and countries are rebounding from the recession and the financial crisis of 2008 and 2009.

While the worldwide economy grew by 3.8% last year, compared with 2010, the “big four” holding companies – WPP, Omnicom, Publicis, and Interpublic – all saw year-over-year revenue increases in the range of 6% to 11%. 

Schuybroek credited social media for playing a large role in PR's success in 2011.

“It's not just selling a message and paying for a message, it's about dialogue and trying to get the message across to the media,” said Schuybroek.

Russia showed the largest PR revenue increase last year by country, growing 23% compared with 2010, while Australian PR revenue increased 21% year-over-year. Brazil's PR revenue increased 20% and India's went up 15% to 20%, compared with the previous year. 

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