Despite the weakening US dollar – at the time of writing the greenback had just hit a 26-year low against Sterling – most of the big agency groups are now so diverse that they can minimise the downside.
Indeed Europe seems to be offsetting a softening US market for many of these groups.
And as we report elsewhere in this week’s magazine this is creating a shift in mindset within many US-owned agencies and clients.
There is a strong feeling that the power base in the global PR market continues to shift away from New York towards London, where double-digit revenue growth has almost become the norm.
But before we all get too smug, there is concern that the chill in the US could develop into full-blown ’flu and start affecting the equity markets. Equally with the Chinese yuan pegged to the dollar, this could jeopardise overall global growth.
The smart groups should now have spread their businesses so broadly that they can mitigate against this. But, more importantly, the agency heads are now reporting that – in the mature markets at least – they are becoming the ‘new integrators’. They argue that where once advertising agencies were getting closer to the marketing directors and chief executives of global brands, now this is just as often PR agencies.
This seems to be driven by corporate demand to come to grips with new digital and social media, where PR consultants are offering credible solutions.
That said, one of the pioneers in this area, Richard Edelman, sounds the warning note that there is little room for complacency, even here. He calls for new questions to be asked, and new approaches to be found, if PR is to stay on its upward curve. It was ever thus.