Opinion: Leader - Top 150 agencies can only do better

It is early days in the process the PR industry is going through of recovering both its profitability and its swagger, but the overall tone of the Top 150 is one of mixed fortunes - and against the unremittingly downbeat tone of last year's survey, this has to be an improvement.

True, the top three firms by fee income were all worse off than those the year before, with market leader Chime Communications' PR group making good the apparent growth by folding in other parts of the business into what are now called integrated management teams, previously thought of as distinct brands.

The reassuring thing about how this kind of technique is deployed is that there is no secret formula to it and everyone knows where to draw the line. For that reason, the picture provided by the Top 150 remains remarkably accurate, despite the enforced absence of some of the biggest names in the business.

For those agencies that don't bring in tens of millions each year in fees - that is, those that employ the lion's share of PR consultants - it is satisfying to note that three-quarters of the Top 150 recorded fee income growth. Next year will surely see this proportion rise further.

To the Maxwell Award winner, congrats

It was very bad luck of the three defeated finalists in the inaugural James Maxwell Award to come up against a potential PR practitioner of such high calibre as the winner, James Fryer. In a less talented field, they were all capable of landing the prize of a year's work placement at Ketchum, the agency at which Maxwell, who died last year, worked for a key stretch of his career.

Throughout the coming months, PRWeek hopes to stay in touch with the winner as he makes his way through the beginnings of what looks like a very promising career in PR. For now though, to him, and all those who entered the award in the first place, congratulations.

Maxwell would have been proud that his name was associated with the contribution being made to nurturing the industry's next generation.

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