‘PR’s global growth set to surge beyond 2020’ – ICCO World PR Report 2020



Global agency heads are overwhelmingly optimistic about the growth of public relations, according to figures revealed in today’s International Communications Consultancy Organisation (ICCO) World PR Report.

The report – published in partnership with Opinium – delivers a compelling snapshot of the global PR landscape, revealing the issues, trends and opportunities for agencies across seven worldwide regions.

The research uncovers impressive levels of optimism and profitability in every region. When asked to express their levels of agreement with the statement ‘I am optimistic about the growth of the public relations market’ on a 10 point scale, PR leaders revealed a global average of 7 out 10, with levels of optimism particularly strong in North America (7.7).

The buoyancy of global PR is further evidenced by data on expectations for profitability in the coming year. Across all regions, participants scored an average of 6.7 in terms of confidence in increased profits, with market confidence prominent in Latin America (7.3) and Eastern Europe (7).

The report – which also features the Holmes Report Agency Rankings – drills down into the areas of practice triggering market growth. Strategic consulting, the second largest area of growth last year, accounts for just under a third (29%) of all growth and is expected to be the largest area of practice over the next five years.

Other findings include:

  • Global AVE usage has fallen to 46% from 52% over the past year
  • LinkedIn is the most popular B2B social media platform for agencies in the Middle East and Africa, followed by Twitter and Facebook
  • Influencer marketing is the most likely area to see an increase in investment from consultancies in Asia Pacific
  • Western European leaders believe creativity skills will be the most important skills for PR professionals over the next decade
  • Agency heads cite retaining top talent as the biggest industry challenge and believe high salaries are the most significant barrier to sourcing talent from outside the industry

Commenting on the research Francis Ingham, Chief Executive of ICCO said:

As 2020 approaches, the global PR industry faces the future in fine shape. Growth, optimism and profitability have become the norm. The industry has transformed itself, embracing new skills and new methods of communicating. In short, PR stands tall.

However, we must not take our position of strength for granted. At every level of the industry and in every region of the world, we have a talent problem. We simply do not attract and retain enough of it. That is because we do not pay enough. And we do not pay enough because we charge too little. At the heart of this is our failure to adequately measure the effect of our work. The global fall in AVE usage is a welcome sign of our progress on this issue. Along with AMEC, ICCO will continue to champion professional standards on measurement so that our industry can continue its growth with renewed confidence in its value to business and society.”