Oskar Yasar: We are stronger after the storm

If there is one thing we are going to learn as an industry from this recession, it is that communications and PR should never be seen as a 'nice to have' rather than a business necessity.

Oskar Yasar

Earlier this year, VMA Search urged companies to maintain their commitment to comms programmes if they wanted to survive the market downturn. On the back of our State of the Market Survey in January, which polled a significant number of comms directors and senior professionals from the PR agency arena, the outcome was not surprising - that PR and comms professionals were now firmly established at a senior level. Business leaders understand the importance of communications and how a strategic programme can positively affect the bottom line of a business.

Even the most negative commentators could not have predicted the extent of the fallout financially and politically for businesses and consumers. However, one industry that has come out of the turmoil fitter, more vibrant and kicking and screaming is the communications industry.

VMA Search initiated a follow-up State of the Market Survey, showing a significant uplift in business sentiment, not just from the in-house arena but also from agencies. Nearly 70 per cent of consultancies have seen an increase in business over the past three months and nearly 65 per cent of financial services companies register similar confidence.

A significant proportion of respondents, both in-house and from agencies, stressed their role had been seen to be more important during the economic downturn - a considerable achievement for our industry. In addition, nearly half of in-house respondents said they would be looking to hire more people, demonstrating the resurgent growth of the sector.

We have all fought through this perfect storm in our own way, but we have come out the other end stronger, fitter and more eager. We know that companies who do not have communications and PR as core to their central business strategy now do so at their peril.

- Oskar Yasar is MD of VMA Search, an executive search consultancy dedicated to corporate comms and PR

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