Welcome to the first issue of PRWeek, a new weekly publication for corporate communication and PR agency professionals. In the last months, there have been many responses to the impending launch. We are pleased to say that easily the most popular reaction expressed so far is: 'And about time too.'
We at PRWeek share that sentiment. We believe that public relations is one of the most valuable vehicles in the marketing mix. And we believe that an industry of such size, sophistication and fundamental importance - to government, to the economy, to the entire social fabric - deserves a vibrant weekly magazine that it can call its own.
But we also believe that PR is not given the credit it deserves. Peter Georgescu, chairman and chief executive at Young & Rubicam, puts it as well as any when he says on p16: 'PR is one of the most underrated, underutilized brand techniques. And the crime of it is that it's very cost-effective.'
The aim of PRWeek, then - and as the slogan for our advertising and promotion materials says - is 'to put PR on the map.' To give the industry a greater voice, a stronger platform and a uniting, confidence-inspiring environment for discussion of best practice.
PRWeek will champion the cause of PR, because PRWeek believes in PR.
We believe it is not just publicity for publicity's sake, but an essential management discipline. We believe it is there not just to convey the message, but to help shape it too, by advising at the highest level.
And in a world where PR people too often act as the scapegoats for the failures of government or management, PRWeek will champion the cause and the skills of the professional communicator.
But it seems that our arrival is timely in more ways than one. For whether it's by luck of judgement, there are already some encouraging signs that the industry's reputation is starting to change for the better. As our exclusive survey reveals, the value of PR has never been higher, with 76% of respondents believing that PR is more important to their business than five-years-ago.
Meanwhile, marketing services conglomerates, like Y&R, Omnicom, WPP and most recently Interpublic, are snapping up PR companies in recognition of not just their profit margins but also their strategic thinking.
Even the appointments of senior executives within these conglomerates confirms the growing estimation of PR to the marketing services industry.
With Tom Bell now chairman and CEO of Y&R, it sends out a further positive message to this industry: that PR, far from being a poor relation to the advertising industry, can actually teach ad agencies a thing or two about brand development.
Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to the age of public relations.