Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Gazing into PR's crystall ball



This weeks PR Week ran an article on the views of 25 leading UK based PR professionals regarding what are going to be the big issues for 2008. Amongst the selection of concerns over skills retention and CSR there was a flurry of comments about PR proving its benefit – particularly if the economy grows chilly.

Lis Lewis-Jones, President of the CIPR said if conditions tighten consultancies need to place a greater emphasis on proving value. She indicates that if this is combined with enhanced professional conduct and ethics then the result will have to push PR up the agenda. Stephen Waddington from Rainier PR, and prolific blogger, said PR is still recovering from the rout following the dotcom crash – something he thinks we need desperately to avoid again.

Alex Aiken, Home Counties local authorities PR supremo, echos the need for value for money, something which a more PR savy top management will need to see demonstrated beyond the ‘thud factor’ (‘look have many cuttings we got!’).

But my favourite is Colin Byrne, CEO of Weber Shandwick: ‘clients will stop being fascinated by social media and start investing in it-but expect real measurable results’. Will they be disappointed? Possibly by the amount of time involved in creating an effective online presence and with the difficulties in seeing its impact. Quite a few books have recently been written or are in the process of being written on the measurement of social media (before we get to the conferences…) and I would just caution against getting stuck in without professional counsel.
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