Global growth demands increased transparency

The PR industry is growing more and more powerful and influential in the markets it serves around the world. At least, we think it is.

The PR industry is growing more and more powerful and influential in the markets it serves around the world. At least, we think it is.

Reporting on the increasingly global nature of the PR business is daunting, especially in the era of Sarbanes-Oxley-inspired restrictions on information. Most of the firms we spoke to for the features on China, Brazil, and Germany in this issue wouldn't even disclose local headcounts, in compliance with parent company mandates.

Holding company agency heads are probably tired of hashing over this issue with the trade media. No doubt, many of them would want greater transparency - particularly when the industry is doing so well.

But there is a distinct lack of urgency or perspective about the high cost of this position. A true industry picture, particularly on a global scale, becomes more remote. An accurate comparative analysis of brand presence in any country is virtually impossible, without parachuting in a team of reporters to doorstop the entire industry.

Like it or not, clients do care how significant a footprint a firm has in an overseas market. Not knowing this can hinder proper global expansion of business. Moreover, we know CEOs share information among themselves and to prospective clients. The selective disclosure makes a mockery of their public silence.

We work hard to tell the story of the industry's growth, and agency leaders need to do their part. There needs to be a constant internal dialogue going on within the holding companies on how to facilitate a more transparent reporting methodology.

If the PR firms truly are moving toward a global presence, where growth emanates from a variety of different markets, not just the Anglo-Saxon ones, we feel they can only fully do so when scale and success are evident beyond the cautious tales of success from the top.

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