Page 29 - AdNews April 2020
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        Monsees plans to invest in people at his PR brands. “We need to skill them up to be able and capable to lead the new norm in the future,” he says.
Globally, PR is a big earner for the holding companies.
At Omnicom, with its Porter Novelli agency named PR Agency of the Year in the US, annual revenue for PR was last reported at $US1.38 billion, about 9.2% of total billings. Organic growth had slipped by 2% (compared to overall growth for Omnicom of 2.8%) but CEO John Wren sees PR as an opportunity. He says the profitability of the PR division has been, and remains, very strong. “It’s not anything structurally to do with the business at this point,” he told analysts during a briefing.
Analysts describe the public relations industry as partly counter- cyclical, and that it has benefited from greater demand from advertising agencies and mixed consumer sentiment.
“Due to some economic uncertainty, some client companies and organisations have preferred PR activities to advertising campaigns dur- ing the past five years,” says Australian industry analysts at IBISWorld. “A growing proportion of marketing budgets has been allocated to PR rather than to traditional media advertising. This trend has also been due to media fragmentation, which has made audiences harder to reach and has
“PR-led creative ideas are winning more awards, getting people talking and creating more fame for brands.”
Tabitha Fairbairn, MD, Mango Communications
prompted marketers to pursue more targeted communication methods.” The fragmentation of media con- sumption is accelerating, says Kieran Moore, CEO of WPP AUNZ’s PR & GR. “People are consuming media on their phones and have very low engagement levels with traditional
media platforms,” she says.
The percentage of 15 to 16-year-
olds who read newspapers fell to 20% between 2009 and 2018, according to the Programme for International Student Assessment in the OECD (The Economist, December 2019).
“The future is earned-led, socially-enabled content and sto- ries built for devices, which plays well to PR’s strengths,” says Moore.
All marketing disciplines benefit when the economy does well and companies spend on marketing and reputation, but PR might have an edge.
“We would argue there is more of an elastic relationship between the economy and advertising, while PR tends to be more resil- ient,” says Moore.
Ad spend, as measured by media agency numbers, has been recording month after month of negative growth in Australia but PR keeps edging higher. IBISWorld puts recent growth at 2.3% a year with total PR industry revenue at $604.8 million across more than 400 businesses. The forecast to 2025 is 2.5% growth each year to reach $685.6 million.
The big, never-ending quest to reach customers is driving growth. “PR is growing and is being driven by the changing way people consume their media — moving to phone-based consumption through video and visuals, social media, personality and influencer-created
content,” says Moore.
PR and communication ser-
vices are experiencing a “heyday” in terms of demand and scope, according to Moore and many other industry insiders
“Brand marketing and con- sumer continues to grow and grow — with the integration of social, digital and earned campaigns coming together to drive effective and engaging work,” she says.
“One area that is particularly growing is healthcare. And we are also seeing growth in our corporate reputation work as businesses,
 a day, content that cuts though is increasingly in demand. Regardless of whether it is in written, audio or video format, the only content that has currency
in today’s market is editorial quality, speaks to an audience in an authentic voice, and has something worthwhile to say.
Skye Lambley, group managing director, Herd MSL: The type of content depends on the audience. From a B2B perspective, audiences want validation of a product or solution, research, facts, proof points, customer examples and new thinking. However, for all audiences,
they want content that’s relatable, inspirational and tailored. It needs to be snappy, engaging, digestible and convenient. We need to work smarter with clients and build depth of capabilities in integration. For instance, building social media and PR deliverables into talent contracts which traditionally focused on
ATL. Or building content shoots specifically for PR and social into the filming run for an ad. Smart brands must remain at the forefront of communications and deliver
in the formats most influential to our audiences. Regardless of the channel, content needs the right strategy and tactical excellence. | April 2020 29

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