Agency Heads Assess Year Ahead

Five agency heads are both bullish and realistic about PR prospects in 2011, according to Steve Barrett’s article in the January print edition of PR Week

Everyone in the profession is hopeful that Steve’s opening paragraph holds true:  “Armed with confidence, bigger budgets, and the social-media savvy to ascend the marketing ladder, the PR industry — led by some noteworthy brands, firms, and people — is poised for one of its most exciting, fruitful years ever.”  

The following major agency heads pretty much support Steve’s premise, while posing some cautionary tones about the year ahead:

Andy Polansky, President, Weber Shandwick:  “There’s vibrancy in the market, with a lot of new business pitches and increasing spend among existing clients, but there are still mixed signs about economic recovery.”

Ray Kotcher, CEO, Ketchum:  “The PR market is really robust, and social media is the fuel driving a lot of PR’s overall growth.  Social media and digital now impact all the different C-suite functions, not just marketing.  This is a huge opportunity for PR to move beyond marketing.” 

Jim Tsokanos, President of the Americas, MSL Group:  “Storytelling is a big part of what PR does and we are uniquely qualified.  But we need the skill, scale, and different talents and we must think differently to navigate earned, paid, and owned spaces.”

Gary Stockman, CEO, Porter Novelli:  “Clients are not sure where to go.  They’re putting briefs out to multiple disciplines.  Ad firms are adding earned media specialists.  PR must be able to articulate its USP (unique selling point).”

Richard Edelman, President and CEO, Edelman Worldwide:  “There will be big issues around the ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots': 20% of people with high school diplomas are unemployed {compared to} 5% of those with college diplomas.”

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