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Diverse viewpoints, or misunderstanding? The importance of double checking the perspective.

I’m not a lover of Scrabble. Or word games. I find them quite tedious.

Wordle is a great lockdown phenomenon and it’s become quite a thing for my family and their friends.

During our recent San Francisco holiday I assiduously avoided playing, leaving them to it, as I had plenty of other distractions.

The second week of my trip (which had turned into work) and finding myself on my own with long nights in hotel rooms, uninclined to sit in restaurants on my own I gave it a go. It was a good distraction. I even worked out how to do the previous, daily versions of it, I was that bored. So, I was chuffed at achieving 26 solutions in a few days and soon reached a reasonable average guess number.

On the last morning of my trip, 8 hours behind the daily UK release, I saw in the family chat that my husband had solved a particularly difficult word. Having failed that day, the kids wanted hints, so he shared the answer.

My chance to score a ‘solved it in 1’ I thought. So, I got straight to it, dropping in the word of the day, Vivid. Boom!

But no. Even using his other words, I didn’t manage to solve it, so I again resorted to my own devices.

I later shared my screen shot complaining, thinking it must have been down to US spelling. But no. It turned out I’d downloaded an app that did the same thing, with a similar name (Wordly), but I was playing with a completely different set of words.

It turns out our regular family conversations, deliberately avoiding the details, the specifics, the spoilers meant that we were on completely different platforms. We felt we were on the same wavelength, doing things together, but we were miles away (and not just literately).

I am not up to speed on everything that was covered in the five South by Southwest conference themes, but I did see there was ‘The Power of Inclusivity’ track setup to deal with tackling the difficulty in incorporating diverse viewpoints. It made me wonder how often such issues are caused by not clarifying each party’s understanding of their start point or double checking the tools they’re using before running off in different directions, just like I did with Wordle.

The importance of sharing the same alignments and definition of industry terms with clients (or colleagues) shouldn’t be underestimated when trying to comprehend diverse viewpoints.

Understanding diverse perspectives, experiences and audiences are a constant fascination for us. I’ll be interested to hear what methods attendees of the SXSW track learn too.

Author

Jane Hales is the co-founder of the award-winning Sapio Research. Sapio Research is a full-service, quantitative and qualitative market research company supporting Agencies and Brands to make confident decisions or achieve extraordinary headlines. They do this through their ABC process: Audience, Brand and Content Research.

Lessons in Transformational Leadership; An Interview w/ Dr. Vivien Chiong

Dr Chiong’s team at NTU Singapore (seen here at a campus roadshow for its augmented reality-enhanced student magazine) has been honoured in every major area of its work with more than 90 awards, including nine international team of the year awards since 2015.

Chief Communications Officer, Dr. Vivien Chiong has been pivotal in Nanyang Technological University, Singapore’s (NTU) transition to its position as one of the world’s leading educational institutions.

Dr. Chiong started out as a journalist due to her love for writing. In time, and following an impressive professional path through media and communications roles in a number of organizations, she joined NTU in 2010.

Since then, the NTU in-house team has received more than 90 awards. Dr. Chiong has also personally won 9 awards, including the 2022 ICCO Global Award for PR Leader of the Year. Amongst innumerable transformational communications strategies, she spearheaded NTU’s transition to increased use of digital tools in communication, including the creation of an augmented reality magazine to reinforce NTU’s “smart campus” branding.

Dr. Chiong also contributes nationally as the Chair of the Science and Technology Branding Taskforce, appointed by the National Research Foundation at the Singapore’s Prime Minister’s Office.

ICCO: You have had an incredible journey from starting as a journalist in Singapore, to leading the communications team at one of the world’s highest ranked universities. Can you tell us what initially attracted you to media and communications and how your views may have changed over your career?

Dr. Chiong: Media and communications is an all-absorbing career and I’m fortunate to be in a job where I truly enjoy the work I do. I started out in journalism because of my love for writing. Initially, it seemed like going into corporate communication was a natural development of my passion for conveying ideas through words, visuals and sound.

After embarking on my postgraduate studies, I became interested in integrating my knowledge of the different aspects of media and communication and to marry theory with practice, and in the strategic use of communication.

I have been in several different industries such as cable television, water and the environment, before moving into the higher education sector. These diverse experiences have helped shape my thinking as a communicator.

For example, working with colleagues at Disney and Cartoon Network in the earlier years of my career, I learnt invaluable lessons about characterisation. Later when I joined Singapore’s national water agency, I created a mascot called Water Wally – as a strategic communication tool for water messages. Today, even after 15 years, Water Wally remains one of the most endearing national mascots in Singapore.

 

ICCO: Can you tell us about a mentor or someone that inspired you in the early stages of your career?

Dr. Chiong: I have been blessed with good bosses throughout my career, who have always been willing to put their faith in me and are open to my counsel on communication matters. Whilst they may not have been experts in the intricacies of communication, their clear expectations of how they wanted it to help fulfil specific objectives have driven my team and I to stretch ourselves and come up with creative solutions to meet these objectives.

 

ICCO: Part of your growing legacy is your creative use of digital technology. In a continuously and rapidly evolving technological landscape, how do you identify developments that are going to be impactful in your work?

Scan the magazine cover to see the rest of the room: As a “smart magazine” that combines print with augmented reality, NTU’s magazine HEY! uses video, 3D models and 3D animations to engage its young target audiences. The augmented reality features are produced in-house and creatively applied across the magazine to make the pages “come alive”.

Dr. Chiong: I am fascinated by technology and what it can do. In the past, many in corporate communication focused on media publicity but the landscape has changed dramatically with digital technologies like mobile applications and social media. I’m especially excited by augmented reality and virtual reality because they bring new dimensions to storytelling.

At NTU, we revamped our print magazine HEY! into an augmented reality (AR) title to reinforce NTU’s Smart Campus branding. All photos in the magazine are taken using smartphones including the cover. Here’s an example of how we use AR. On a HEY! cover showing an NTU dorm, when scanned with the HEY! AR app, the photo seamlessly transitions into a video showing other parts of the room, giving the illusion of a 360-degree photo.

To create such communication effects requires a change in the editorial process. The creative director needs to decide on the cover photo on the spot – instead of poring over hundreds of photos back in the office – so that the video producer can ensure the video flows seamlessly from the chosen photo.

We also experiment with 3D models of objects that readers can scan and then bring into their immediate environment and interact with. Besides videos and 3D models, we also experiment with animation, sound and space. We have been very energised by all these new possibilities to better tell a story.

One of the best things about working in a university is that we are big on exploring the unknown. I have been very motivated to experiment with new ways of communication.

 

ICCO: Can you speak to an underlying strategy that you have applied across your work over the years that you are personally proud of and tell us why you think it is so successful?

Dr. Chiong: When I first joined NTU in 2010, my strategy was to integrate three existing pillars of communication – media publicity, content marketing, marketing communication — and to introduce social media as part of the university’s communication strategy. Later, I read in communication literature that there was a new term coined for this called PESO which stands for paid, earned, shared and owned media.

The PESO model of communication has served NTU well, given its diverse target audiences. It has also helped us to be smarter in the use of our modest resources. Most valuable to me is that the integrated approach ensures team members are not siloed in their area of work and learn to work collaboratively. I always confidently tell new staff joining us that here, you will get to broaden your skills to cover the full spectrum of communication work. This will lay their foundations to become a communication leader one day.

To help us in planning, scheduling and content sharing, we designed a bespoke system on Airtable which enables us to track more than 1200 communication activities a year. When we shifted to remote working during the COVID-19 pandemic, it had no impact on our productivity and teamwork which continued to be high.

 

ICCO: As ICCO’s PR Leader of the Year, can you tell us what the most important attributes are for a successful leader, particularly in communications?

Dr. Chiong: All leaders need to have a vision and be able to show the way to achieve the vision.

A communication leader needs to combine strategic insight and creativity with their vision and leadership to help fulfil the organisation’s mission and objectives. He/she sets clear goals, manages complexities and upholds high ethical standards.

In my experience having led several in-house communication teams, all communicators, no matter how junior, want to know how their work can help in achieving their organisation’s goals.

As a manager, it is important to motivate the team to work towards the organisation’s broad objectives. So I value qualities like teamwork, creativity and out-of-the-box thinking.

I place emphasis on the professional development of my team members. I may not work directly with each one of them on a daily basis but I observe and assess their individual skills, aptitude, interests and attitude. Working closely with my deputies, we expose them to a range of assignments and experiences that will stretch them and build their competencies. This also helps to prevent them from getting bored or stuck in a rut, or suffering from burnout.

I’m proud that in the last three years, three of my junior staff have been recognised with Newcomer of the Year awards. At NTU, we have also won nine international Team of the Year Awards since 2015 – the biggest being the 2020 ICCO In-house Digital Team of the Year Award – so thank you, ICCO!

I’m very grateful to award organisers and judges for all their hard work as the international peer recognition goes a long way towards motivating staff to continue to strive for excellence in communication.

 

ICCO: Having developed an NTU in-house team of at least 30 members representing multiple ethnicities and age groups, can you explain the benefits of such diversity, and how do you ensure all voices and perspectives can be heard?

Dr. Chiong: NTU is a cosmopolitan university competing globally and Singapore is a multicultural society. Operating in such a richly diverse environment coupled with NTU’s wide-ranging set of stakeholders, our communication can only benefit from having a diverse team of different age groups and ethnicities working on it. Because we work collaboratively and not in a linear fashion, many pairs of eyes will go through a piece of work. The idea is not for one person doing the assignment to send it through to his/her immediate supervisor for approval. They engage different team members and other internal stakeholders who bring different sensibilities and talents to improve the final product.

 

ICCO: The Global Women in PR annual index found that in 2021 73% of women “would be more likely to choose a job that offered flexible working over one that did not”. What is your experience of this within your team, and has NTU adapted to accommodate this growing need?

Dr. Chiong: Covid-19 has shown us that flexible and remote working doesn’t have to affect the quality of the work we do, particularly in communication.

A hybrid work arrangement could become standard in the future. Long term remote-only working will affect team bonding as Zoom sessions cannot replicate real life social interactions – those corridor and pantry chats that are good for camaraderie and the sparking of serendipitous ideas.

But equally, a change in environment can spark creative ideas. Clocking fixed hours at the same office desk may not be that good for creativity. If a hybrid arrangement is going to thrive in the workplace, it will need all staff to demonstrate the self-discipline and ability to deliver on their assignments.

My team has been operating on a hybrid work arrangement and we recently had a team bonding event where internal awards for the last year were presented. The nominees presented the challenges they faced and how they overcame them, so it was a wonderful sharing session for everyone to feast on some best practices and lessons learnt. The winner in each of the five categories was chosen by their peers. We had not brought every team member together in person for a long time, and I could see that everyone was delighted to be able to finally be in the same room.

 

ICCO: Retaining talent is the top priority issue for PR right now. What advice do you have for junior and mid-level communication professionals, who want to stay in the industry for the long haul, particularly younger women? And what can leaders do to improve talent retention?

Dr. Chiong: I think the age-old proverb “a rolling stone gathers no moss” offers a caution for junior communicators. It takes time to learn about a new industry, to roll out your communication programmes, and show your results. If you keep hopping around, you will never stay long enough to show any results that are truly your own.

Many junior and mid-level communicators get into the field because they love the creative aspects of the work. But a passion for words and an aesthetic eye are not enough. A full-fledged communicator must also learn to conduct formative and post- campaign research, have a keen interest in analytics and in new emerging digital technologies.

As for talent retention, I think communicators will stay in a job where they feel their work is strategic and valued by the organisation, where there are opportunities to experiment and grow, and where their professionalism is recognised.

Sapio Research Join ICCO as New Partner for 2022

Sapio Research is an award-winning, international full-service market research consultancy and has joined ICCO as Research Partners for 2022. Sapio offers quantitative and qualitative research, welcoming complex, challenging briefs. They can help to formulate the approach, to create the scope and design the process. This is done through ABC: Audience understanding, Brand research and Content research.

Jane Hales, Co-Founder and Director, Sapio Research said:

“I am delighted Sapio has become ICCO’s new exclusive research partner, this is an endorsement of our excellent relationship with the PR industry and ability to deliver Audience, Brand and Content Research. We look forward to working with ICCO and their member agencies around the world to deliver valuable work in 2022, including the World PR Report later in the year”.

Rob Morbin, Deputy Chief Executive, ICCO said

“Adding Sapio Research to ICCO’s roster of recommended partners will support our members around the world by offering quality, precise research with an international outlook. Facts and evidence are the cornerstone of good communication and quality research allows our members to develop storylines and decisions with confidence”

To find out more please contact Jane Hales, Co-Founder and Director, jane.hales@sapioresearch.com

Almost a third of PR leaders ‘Open to 4-day week’

London, 21st February, 2022

 

23% of global communications leaders are interested in trialling a four-day working week with no reduction in pay and a further 9% have already adopted the model, according to new research published by the ICCO and PRCA.

The study – conducted by Question & Retain – follows a recent PRCA MENA study revealing UAE professionals believe they work more efficiently under the new four and a half day working week adopted in UAE.

128 CEOs, Directors, and Department Heads took part in the latest ICCO and PRCA  quarterly Confidence Tracker, which assesses market confidence in the global public relations industry.

Market confidence boost

The study reveals impressive levels of confidence amongst PR and communications leaders. The research shows more than two-thirds (72%) of PR agencies and in-house teams globally are hiring and almost nine out of 10 (87%) respondents are ‘confident’ or ‘very confident’ about the future of their organisation – this is a three percentage point rise since the last Confidence Tracker in October 2021.

Download the ICCO results here and the PRCA results here.

 

ICCO Chief Executive and PRCA Director General and  Francis Ingham MPRCA said:

“The data from our latest Global Confidence Tracker is very encouraging. Market confidence around the world is now higher than at any point since the beginning of the pandemic and the growing confidence is reflected in the number of organisations hiring. The four-day working week is an interesting proposition for agencies and in-house teams, many of whom are looking for creative ways to attract and retain the most talented professionals. The model won’t work for everyone but there are clear benefits for those willing to embrace change.”

Executive Summary – World PR Report 2016

Article by Francis Ingham, Chief Executive of ICCO

The ICCO & PRWeek World PR Report is the definitive analysis of where the global PR and comms industry stands today; how it has been performing over the past year; and what it predicts will happen in the next few. Drawing on the breadth and depth of ICCO’s membership – 37 national associations, operating in 48 countries, and representing more than 2,500 agencies – it is a vital tool in understanding our industry.

What are the headlines?

Agency heads are optimistic. On a scale of 1-10, there is a global average of exactly 7. The most optimistic markets are the UK (8.1), and the Middle East (8.0); the least are Latin America (5.9), and Africa (6.0).

And they are expecting an increase in profitability, with a score of 6.2. Leading the pack is North America (7.2), followed by the UK at precisely 7. At the other end, we have Latin America again (5.2), and Western Europe (5.7).

Both of those findings deserve celebration, given the at times tempestuous and uncertain state of the world economy. What is driving this performance? I would highlight three factors, which we have seen for the past few years now, and which are remarkably constant region-by-region.

The first is chief executives taking corporate reputation seriously. Quite simply, the business community around the world is more aware than ever before of the fact that their most important asset is their reputation.

The second is that marketers are taking their spend away from other disciplines, and diverting it into more effective mediums of PR and comms. And the third is that clients are increasingly asking public relations firms to provide non-traditional services.

Those last two points amount to one incontrovertible trend – in an increasingly integrated marketing world, PR’s nimbleness, insight, and creativity is beating the competition.

What have been the main practice areas of growth?

Four stand out head and shoulders above the rest – digital comms; corporate reputation; marcomms; and public affairs. And when agency heads are asked to predict which sectors will drive growth over the coming years, they name exactly those four again.

Obviously, there are variations by region, reflecting different local priorities, and different levels of market maturity. But the message is clear – those areas have driven growth in the past, and are set to do so again in the future. Looked at by sector, we again see four key areas of growth now and in the future – technology; consumer; healthcare; and financial and professional services. And underpinning all of this behaviour is the crucial role PR and comms agencies now play in social media and community management, and in creating content across the whole range of media – areas where wise agencies are making significant investment. So far, so encouraging.

But what of the challenges faced by the industry?

It will come as no surprise that two perennial ones are right up there – meeting profit margins, and handling general economic conditions. The first is a symptom of PR’s inability to charge appropriately for the value it delivers – former ICCO chairman Richard Houghton’s regular lament that ‘Fridays are free’; the second is something over which we have no control.

The area where we certainly have the ability to make a difference is talent. In six of the nine world regions, it tops the bill as the key challenge. In fact, only in Asia does talent not rank in the top three. Although our industry continues to power ahead, its growth is being hindered by our failure to attract and then to retain the very best.

Within that challenge are two specific areas of concern: hiring senior staff, and attracting people from non-traditional background. The latter is of particular concern to ICCO. If agencies keep on recruiting the same type of person, with the same type of background, they are automatically excluding themselves from large parts of the market. The more varied teams are, the abler they are to deliver excellent services to the widest possible range of clients.

I would make two final observations: First, and it is a point made by several contributors from different regions, the industry has reached a happy place of maturity. Social media and content may be the biggest areas of growth, but there is still room for the older skills of PR and comms, such as media relations. And that place exists in established and developing markets.

There is, quite simply, a home for all branches of our profession.

Second, what a brilliant time to be in this industry. Even in difficult economic circumstances, PR and comms agencies are profitable, growing, and optimistic.

How would I sum up the future? Bright. And getting brighter.

Download a free copy of the ICCO & PRWeek World PR Report 2016 here

 

The ICCO Global Award Entries: The Quest To Demonstrate True Effectiveness

Article by Renee Wilson, president, PR Council; co-chair of ICCO Global Awards jury

Another awards program? Oh my…….but wait! – here is a chance to get some deserved recognition for your team’s stellar work, while helping educate the global marketing communications community on the power of public relations.

Our industry is going through somewhat of an identity crisis redefining who we are, and what we do, at an incredible pace.  There are many types of different discipline agencies that claim to know how to ‘earn influence’ or ‘earn media’ in a way that public relations can, with credibility and relevance.  However, our discipline is truly an art and a science, and operates in some similar ways but in a lot of unique ways too.

The ICCO Global Awards is a great opportunity for our industry to showcase the way in which public relations campaigns achieve real results, through powerful outcomes.  It is the measurement of changes in attitudes, opinions, and behavior (eg,votes, shares, sales etc.) that truly helps underscore the effectiveness of our campaigns, and what the ICCO Global Awards are all about.

The Cannes Lions Festival and Awards is very much rooted in creativity, and we love it for that, while the ICCO Global Awards punctuates the campaign “effectiveness.” That’s not to say that you don’t need a creative entry to win the ICCO Global Awards too, but proving how you help achieve your clients’ objectives with something measureable and tangible, not just opinion, is where your focus should be when entering for an ICCO Global Award.

Additionally, could this be the year we come up with the best collection of global campaign entries that demonstrate the powerful effectiveness that public relations offers?  I think it could.  Let’s challenge ourselves and our industry to do it!  Then, let’s use these ICCO Global Award winning campaign entries as calling cards to clients all over the world to better demonstrate what our discipline is capable of when it comes to effectiveness.

In my role as president of the PR Council, I talk to many leaders from CMOs and marketing clients, to communication directors, about the power of PR.  In order for them to continue to prioritize PR within their organizations with supporting resource, and in some cases, start to prioritize, we need to do a better job of explaining our effectiveness.  It’s that simple.  And, it’s that complex.

If you listen to the trade media that cover our industry and the industry pundits, some feel that we are moving too slowly in doing this.  The observation – (whether you agree or not) – is perhaps we are not retooling as quickly as other disciplines in terms of our talent, infrastructure and campaign thinking.  Let’s prove them wrong!  Let’s show the remarkable work our teams produce.  Let’s enter the ICCO Global Awards and use these entries as our industry calling cards.

For more information on the ICCO Global Awards visit: awards.iccopr.com

GWPR Global Gender Pay Gap Survey goes live

The very first international Gender Pay Gap and Work Life Balance Survey, from ICCO sector group GWPR (Global Women in Public Relations), has now gone live.

The survey asks a number of questions about working practices and seeks to provide important data on the state of play and views of those working in PR – be it in agency, in-house or as an independent consultant. The survey is designed to provide important feedback on equality and the work/life balance for both men and women working in the industry.

The survey has been facilitated by leading market research agency One Poll and is fully supported by ICCO (the International Communications Consultancy Organisation). Media partner The Holmes Report will be publicising the survey, as well as reporting the findings. The results will be published by ICCO at the Global ICCO PR Summit in Oxford, September 29th/30th.

These are the links for the UK and US questionnaires:

 

UK: http://www.research365.net/survey/private/4fa91de192883d4b180639201c6a9c111035a183

US: http://www.research365.net/survey/private/2cd71df3d660bf7c8151d4d95b110f5b6e69fe96

 

Sue Hardwick MPRCA and Angela Oakes MPRCA, co-founders of GWPR said: “In the UK, women constitute two-thirds of the overall working population in the PR industry, however there is a widely reported gender pay gap. Quite simply, men and women in the UK PR industry are not being equally rewarded. We believe that this issue is not limited to the UK, but is affecting the majority of women working in PR around the world.

ICCO Chief Executive Francis Ingham MPRCA commented: “There is a global problem with the gender pay gap in PR, and we are very pleased that GWPR is seeking to address this issue. The existence of this gap deters entrants into our industry and encourages leavers from it. With GWPR now a member of the ICCO Board, we can work closely to shine a light on this incredibly concerning problem. And having shone that light, we can then take action to solve it.”

GWPR was launched last year, as an umbrella organisation, linking WPR national networking groups, so we can address key issues like this both for women and for the PR industry worldwide.”

The ICCO organisation is facilitating the global platform for the research. ICCO comprises PR trade associations representing over 2,500 agencies, in 48 countries worldwide.

 

If you have any questions about the research, or are interested in taking part, please contact Sue Hardwick sue@globalwpr.com or Angela Oakes angela@globalwpr.com

 

World PR Report launches next month – preview

The World PR Report published by ICCO and PRWeek will be launched at the Global ICCO PR Summit in Oxford, United Kingdom on 29-30 September.

The report is the annual analysis of the international public relations industry including a breakdown of the top 100 global agencies, market analysis from regional leaders, and a report on agency growth and opportunity, investment plans and talent challenges.

Commenting on the talent challenges in the Asia Pacific market, Lynne Anne Davis, President – Asia Pacific at FleishmanHillard said:

“PR’s massive transformation as an integrated, socially-centric industry was enabled by the introduction of non-traditional roles and expertise from other industries. That must never stop in order to continuously innovate, expand influence and supple the rising demand for PR services – especially in Asia where local companies are aggressively disrupting categories, exporting brands abroad and creating new spaces.”

Colin Byrne, Weber Shandwick’s UK & EMEA CEO comments on strong growth in the market, but also the challenges ahead:

“Macro-economic issues include economic downturn in BRIC and other emerging markets, security and political issues, the uncertainties around the US election and, yes, Brexit and associated recession warnings, are challenges for us and our clients.”

Loretta Ahmed, Grayling’s CEO of Middle East Africa & Turkey analyses the developing markets of the Middle East and Africa:

“Less risk averse than many parts of the world, the Middle East is coming of age and it is good to see more and more world-class work emanating from the region and being recognised in global award schemes.”

“In Africa in particular, communications professionals are able to achieve CEO level client access at a far greater frequency than in other markets – while this comes with a far greater ability to influence decision-making it also creates the need for strategic communicators to feature heavily in the team mix – a challenge for agency heads looking to field local teams.”

Commenting on trends in the European PR industry, Pascal Beucler, Chief Strategy Officer at MSLGROUP said:

“Another trend we can see everywhere in Europe is the need for more integration, particularly for big, global clients: wasting energy, time and money because of having too many people from different networks/holdings around the table is really something they don’t want anymore. They say they want one team, as diverse as possible but belonging to the same P&L and led by one single, global manager. Such alignment allows better, faster, clearer decisions and action plans.”

Full analysis and commentary of each of the markets is available in the World PR Report, launched at the Summit, and subsequently published by PRWeek online and in hard copy.

Francis Ingham, Chief Executive of ICCO and Director General of PRCA UK & MENA will be presenting the findings at the Summit, and copies will be shared with attending delegates.

 

For more information on the Global ICCO PR Summit visit www.iccosummit.org

Innovation in creating media impact – The IPREX Blogbarometer

By Michael T. Schröder, IPREX Global President

 

In 2014 a group of nine European IPREX partners decided to study the impact of blogging on the communication industry and conducted an informal online survey among 1,360 bloggers, inviting two non-European countries to participate for comparison.

The second survey, in 2015/2016 had responses from 2,134 bloggers living in 13 countries, including China and Malaysia.

Here are some encouraging results showing bloggers’ attitudes to our industry:

  • 73% of bloggers said they have been approached for PR or marketing reasons,
    27% were contacted weekly and 19% daily. But there are major regional differences: in “advanced technology” countries, a much higher proportion of bloggers is targeted by companies.
  • A majority (85%) of respondents thinks positively about approaches by companies and actually wish for more (52%). Only 7% are reserved about this contact and only 2% are against.
  • Invitations to events, marketing or PR material and product samples or free products are the most commonplace approaches. Astonishingly, only 20% of bloggers received photos or other images from companies.

These are some more general findings about bloggers:

  • Three quarters of all bloggers are female. Although teens do not dominate, two-thirds of the bloggers are younger than 35 years.
  • The most popular blog themes are focused on consumer and lifestyle topics like beauty, fashion, food and travel. The main goals for blogging are sharing information and experiences, having fun and professional development.
  • The highest rated social media channels for blog promotion are Facebook and Instagram.

DBM Prague Blogbarometer 2015 summary infographic DMB Prague Blogbarometer infographic 2015 Walsh PR Ireland IPREX Blogbarometer Infographic

The Blogbarometer showed that our industry could improve its relationship with this important media channel significantly using better research, more targeted approaches and more creative engagement.

Interestingly, the Blogbarometer exemplifies one important way in which IPREX has been evolving as an organisation: rather than being a global survey from which partners took sub-sets of data for their own use, it was designed primarily to boost partners’ profiles in their own markets – with the global view emerging from the sub-set of common questions.

This mirrors a shift in our perspective from a “top-down” managed network structure to a platform on which individual partners can operate worldwide. IPREX is inside the agency, rather than the other way around – making each IPREX partner a global agency.

The Blogbarometer worked so well on both levels, generating useful information and news in each partner’s market as well as for IPREX as a whole, that we will continue to run it in a two-year cycle.

ABOUT IPREX

IPREX was founded in 1983 to help independent PR firms deliver high-quality client work in major markets worldwide, and it has evolved into a tightly knit peer group of more than 70 of the world’s most successful communication agencies.

We offer our partners’ clients seamless world-class advice and implementation – and we provide partners with the infrastructure and support they need to win and manage such assignments.

Clients choose IPREX partners for their influence in their own markets and because our management systems make the diversity, innovation and dynamism of owner-managed agencies work to their advantage.

Partners join IPREX for the assurance of high-calibre work for their clients in remote markets, and to develop their agencies in a collegial environment through best practices, new business opportunities and a common program management language.

Partners communicate frequently, review each other’s work rigorously and meet often. When they join forces they’re working with agency owners they know as partners – not strangers united by a brand name and divided by internal competition.

PRCA UK Census 2016 reveals that the PR industry is worth £12.9bn

Article by PRCA

The PR Census 2016 launched by PRCA has revealed that the UK PR industry is worth £12.9bn – over £3bn more than previous figures in 2013.

In 2016, the PR industry’s value is estimated to have grown by 34% since 2013 when it reached £9.62bn.

The PR Census 2016 has also revealed that the PR industry has grown to around 83,000 employees. This is an impressive level of growth since 2013 when it was 62,000 strong.

Launched yesterday, the PR Census 2016 is the most comprehensive and authoritative analysis of the PR industry, developed by the PRCA in conjunction with PRWeek and global research house YouGov.

Francis Ingham MPRCA, Director General, PRCA, said:

“Three things stand out for me from the PR Census 2016.

“The first is growth. Our industry is surging ahead, becoming bigger and bigger. And that growth is seen in pretty much every sector. The industry, it seems to me, has settled down to a balance between what we used to think of as its new and its traditional forms.

“The second is difference. Differences in gender balance; in pay; in expertise and duties. The industry is composed of plenty of unique hubs of PR excellence all around the country, all powering forward in slightly different manners.

“And the third is challenge. The gender pay gap is still obvious, and still troubling. We still recruit from too narrow a circle, denying ourselves access to some outstanding talent. And far too many of our industry still –remarkably- turn to AVEs when measuring their impact.

“We intend using every bit of influence we have to address every one of those challenges.”

Danny Rogers FPRCA, Editor-in-Chief, PRWeek, said:

“As someone who has been in and around this industry for two decades – first as a graduate trainee in PR, and later as an industry editor and author – what strikes me about the PR Census, is how little the big themes actually change.

“We are still discussing the future of print, the hot growth of healthcare and tech, the difficulties of measurement and the lack of diversity. But the industry is getting most things right. Because for most of those two decades UK PR spend has been growing rapidly, and continues to do so. Another constant is PR’s adaptability – and this is more critical than ever as technology and media rapidly transform each other.”

The PR Census 2016 also revealed:

Demographics

The PR industry remains a young industry, with an average age of 28. It is a female-led industry, with 64% of its employees being women. 34% of PR people have children or dependents.

There has been little change in PR’s diversity since 2011, with 91% being white and 89% being British. However, the youngest generations in the industry represent important improvements in diversity levels.

Undergraduate degrees remain the predominant highest form of education, a fact that becomes more prevalent with each younger generation.

Opinions

51% of industry members believe that PR is a profession. 40% see it as an industry.

The Barcelona Principles 2.0 are the leading form of PR evaluation, but AVEs remain a significant measurement format.

Technology and health are the mostly hotly-tipped sectors to increase investment in PR in the coming years.

Digital, S.E.O., and online communications are seen as the tasks that have most increased in importance over the last two years, and also those that will increase most in the coming years.

Sales promotion, general media relations and writing articles, newsletters etc, are the roles thought to have most decreased in importance over the past two years.

What do we do?

Our leading duties are general media relations, media relations strategy planning, and digital and social media.

The senior members of the industry oversee communications strategy development and reputation management; while younger members handle general media relations and writing.

Technology and consumer services, media, and marketing continue to be the most prevalent sectors in which PR agencies work.

PR agencies are most likely to be made up of between 11-50 people. In-house teams are overwhelmingly made up of 2-5 people, regardless of organisational size.

Salaries, benefits and working hours

The average PR salary is £45,100, down from £53,781 in 2013.

The average agency salary is £44,805, down from £54,311 in 2013. Pay at the senior levels has fallen, but professionals who are Account Director-level or below have seen a small increase.

In-house salaries increase more uniformly, and the average salary is £43,591, down from £50,438.

The average freelancer salary is £56,789, down from £73,322 in 2013.

There is a significant pay disparity between men and women, an average of £9,111.

The highest salaries in PR agencies go to those handling central government work, alongside retail and wholesale, and food, beverages and tobacco. In-house salaries peak for those working for technology, finance, and utilities companies.

PR professionals are contracted to work, on average, 35 hours a week. However, the average amount of time they are actually working is 45 hours a week.

The leading form of flexible working in the PR industry is flexitime (core hours with flexible start and finish) which is taken up by 28% of the industry.

ENDS

The market sizing data was calculated by taking a combination of historical data from the previous PR Censuses published in 2011 and 2013, combined with PRCA benchmarking studies, and the Government’s ONS tables of industry sizing and growth.

The online survey generated 1,874 responses, and was generated by YouGov using two different sample sources:

  • Targeted sample sent to PRCA members and PRWeek subscribers
  • Public link on PRWeek and PRCA websites

The fieldwork was undertaken between 17th February – 26th April 2016.

 

About PRCA UK

Who we are: Founded in 1969, the PRCA is a UK-based PR membership body, operating in 45 countries around the world. We represent in excess of 20,000 people across the whole range of the PR industry. The PRCA promotes all aspects of public relations and internal communications work, helping teams and individuals maximise the value they deliver to clients and organisations.

What we do: The Association exists to raise standards in PR and communications, providing members with industry data, facilitating the sharing of communications best practice and creating networking opportunities.

How we do it and make a difference: All PRCA members are bound by a professional charter and codes of conduct, and benefit from exceptional training. The Association also works for the greater benefit of the industry, sharing best practice and lobbying on the industry’s behalf e.g. fighting the NLA’s digital licence.

Who we represent: The PRCA currently has more than 400 agency members; 270 in-house communications teams from multinationals, charities and leading public sector organisations; and thousands of individual members.

 

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