Speaking at UK trade association the PRCA’s annual national conference this morning (Friday), Sorrell was interviewed by PRWeek UK editor-in-chief Danny Rogers, who asked what place PR held in his global media empire.
Sorrell told the audience: "It is, in my view, a good business. It is a business that has changed dramatically in the last two to three years for two principle reasons. The first is because data has become more and more important. The other is digital. Digital has made public relations much more important than it was because of 24/7 communications at all levels. You can gain or lose a reputation at a click."
Sorrell was asked if the PR industry still had the inferiority complex he said it had developed two years ago.
He told the audience: "I think less so because of the two things I mentioned – data and digital - have given them more exposure. The more PR and public affairs participate in these key structures, the more they get an opportunity to demonstrate the power of what they do."
Sorrell said that the rise of reputation as a critical issue had also played into the industry’s hands and that, increasingly, countries and cities were looking to create their own brands.
In a wide-ranging discussion, Sorrell also touched on transparency by companies such as Facebook, which admitted this morning that it had overstated average video times on its platform by as much as 80 per cent for the last two years.
He also discussed the pitfalls of integrated PR agencies in large hlding groups and how many of them attempted to recreate all possible services under one roof, which were then being replicated elsewhere in the wider group.
He said: "Agencies think their [individual] brands are important, clients don’t care. They just want the best people."
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