One only needs to ask the comms directors of British Airways or the BBC – Julia Simpson and Ed Williams respectively – for evidence of how quickly the public mood now shifts.
Equally the comms strategists for the two main political parties for most of this year – Stephen Carter (Labour) and Andy Coulson (Conservative) – will testify to the schizophrenia of popular consensus.
Tumultuous stories such as the collapse of Lehman Brothers, the privatisation of high street banks and the sickening death of Baby P in Haringey, mean that the media are on high alert, looking for their next scapegoat.
Thanks to an equally pressurised corporate world, the consultancy arena is no less stressful.
In recent weeks we have seen major reviews of the BA, Philips, Nestlé and Microsoft accounts, which will continue to have repercussions for major UK agencies over the Christmas period.
A difficult economic climate, which in turn has raised the political stakes, means that reputations can be forged or destroyed in days. The longer-term trend of globalised internet chatter only accelerates this phenomenon.
The good news – we always try to find positives – is that the PR profession is equally mobilised to help manage these reputation issues.
While some firms are quick to cut their promotional budgets in such an environment, most realise they would be mad to neglect their issues management. For this reason alone, one is optimistic about the industry for 2009.
It has been a stimulating year in which to report on PR, politics and the media. A year in which PRWeek has been at the forefront of the national news agenda and received acclaim for its success.
For this reason the team here would like to thank our readers, customers and partners for all your support – and to wish you a happy Christmas and a successful New Year. The next issue of PRWeek will be published on 9 January.