As PRWeek reaches its 15th anniversary in the US, it is fascinating to reflect on the massive changes that have occurred in not only PR and communications, but also marketing and the wider media in that time.
It is staggering to note that Google was only founded in 1998, the same year as us. Whatever happened to them, I wonder? It was a time before broadband Internet access, social media, widespread cellphone usage, and smartphones.
Our inaugural front-page splash back in November 1998 bore the headline “Company CEOs rate PR over advertising.” The research on which the story was based referred to PR's impact on reputation. It noted that 92% of CEOs rated reputation as crucial to success; with 82% saying it was a top management or board-level discipline.
The survey also warned that 85% of respondents said they spend more on advertising than PR, with 54% saying that discrepancy would increase in the next five years.
So, in many ways, looking back through 15 years of momentous change, it could actually be said that “plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.”
But there is no doubt our industry has matured and evolved significantly and now plays a much more pivotal role in managing reputation and marketing brands and corporations.
We will be marking our 15th birthday with a celebratory dinner in New York on December 2, at which we will launch the PRWeek Hall of Fame to recognize those who have made outstanding contributions to the communications industry and PR profession.
I hope to see many of you there and anticipate another period of time that promises to be even more revolutionary and groundbreaking than the last 15 years.