Professional services are becoming less media-shy

Professional services firms are shedding their media-shy image and investing in PR, but many still fail to measure the benefits.

Professional services firms are shedding their media-shy image and

investing in PR, but many still fail to measure the benefits.



These are the findings of a survey undertaken by Specialist PR firm

Kelso Consulting and the Professional Marketing Forum, a spin-off of

Professional Marketing magazine.



The survey shows that, of the 46 firms which responded, 32 per cent

started using PR agencies for the first time from the start of 1996, and

50 per cent started between 1990 and 1995. Firms of actuaries,

engineers, surveyors, architects, accountants and lawyers, management

and IT consultants took part in the survey.



According to the survey, around 80 per cent of professional services

firms consider public relations as more important than or as equally

important as other marketing activities.



Just over half of the firms surveyed employ in-house PR staff and 76 per

cent use outside agencies.



However, only 60 per cent of firms have a formal written strategy. While

70 per cent do some evaluation, most simply look at the volume and

content of coverage and neglect to measure whether PR has enhanced their

business.



’It does make me wonder how they evaluate people’s performance,’ said

Tim Prizeman, a Kelso director. ’You can’t run your most important

profile-raising activity on an ongoing basis on gut feel.’



Prizeman claims it is the big five accounting firms who are at the more

sophisticated end of the survey. Last year’s spate of mergers and near

mergers in the sector has prompted the first blanket attempts at

brand-building.



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