Top 150: A brighter future but challenges still to face

It would be hard to imagine a neater encapsulation of how PR is booming again than this league table.

PRCA chief: Francis Ingham
PRCA chief: Francis Ingham

If one word defines the Top 150 table it would be ‘growth’. There’s growth inside of London and outside of London. There’s growth in City agencies, public affairs ones, tech ones, digital ones, b2bs and every other specialism too. There’s growth for the giants at the top of the table, and for the mid-range too; and there’s a whole army of new entrants, bringing extra vibrancy and innovation to an already vibrant and innovative industry.

The amounts charged by PR firms are increasing, and the number of staff they’re employing is increasing too. Given our industry weathered the recession well, growth is now strong and has been sustained for quite a while. From the intelligence I pick up from PRCA members around the country, I know that fees are growing; that clients are increasingly confident about investment; that people are moving jobs again; and that agencies are hiring once more. So we can be highly positive for our industry’s future.

What’s driving that growth?

• First, CEOs increasing take corporate reputation seriously.
• Second, clients are turning to PR agencies for non-PR services, including of course new digital and social ones.
• Third, marketers are moving their money towards PR and away from other disciplines.

If those are the opportunities, what do PRCA members tell us are the challenges?

The first is evaluation. The second is recruiting and retaining skilful staff.

On evaluation, we are working ever more closely with AMEC to embed evaluation as a key part of the PR process. AMEC, the PRCA and ICCO published common, unified guidelines on evaluation last summer in Amsterdam. We intend going even further –watch this space.

And on talent, our role as an industry body is to attract the very best to PR, regardless of background. And that’s something I think we’ve been rather good at recently, and will become even better at.

But my overwhelming impression is an optimistic one. PR is a growing industry. Increasingly well-paid and respected. Increasingly confident. There has never been a better time to work in it. The future is certainly bright.

Francis Ingham, director general, PRCA


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