NEW YORK: Independent PR firms are optimistic about 2012 after many saw a surge of business at the end of last year, according to a study by the Worldcom Public Relations Group, an alliance of communications agencies.
More than 64% of surveyed firms saw a notable increase in new business at the end of 2011, and 67% said they started 2012 in better financial shape than last year, according to the survey.
More than three in four (76%) respondents said they have recently hired staff to support new business or intend to hire in the first quarter.
“I was actually somewhat surprised overall at the optimism,” said Matt Kucharski, chair of Worldcom Public Relations Group and EVP at Padilla Speer Beardsley, referring to new business activity. “I expected the numbers to be in the 50s, not 60s.”
Firms said they expect much of their new business growth in the technology, consumer, healthcare, professional, and financial services sectors, according to the survey. Steady growth in travel and leisure, transportation, energy, and government markets are also anticipated.
More than 100 agencies based in the Americas and the Asia-Pacific and EMEA regions participated in the survey.
Kucharski said he expects most business growth to come from clients in a state of transformation, who are trying to rebrand or change their market position. He added that companies are moving away from using a silo service model and going to one firm for creative and others for advertising and social media. Instead, clients are now expecting one shop to oversee all areas.
“The days of a PR agency being able to survive by solely offering media relations and special services are over,” Kucharski said. “Today, contemporary firms need to provide multichannel communications services to build a reputation.”