I love college basketball, and predict who’ll win before each game begins–and I’m often wrong. With that fact in mind, I decided to wait until we got a month into 2010 before discussing what the new year might hold for the PR profession. My view hasn’t changed. In fact, I’m more bullish on the growth prospects for PR than at any point in the past several years.
This positive view is supported by the just-published annual Communications Industry Forecast by private equity firm Veronis Suhler Stevenson (VSS). As the media landscape gets more complex, companies will spend $8 billion on PR by 2013, with more than a third going to word-of-mouth and other social media. That’s a huge 55% increase over 2008 expenditures.
According to VSS, PR has fared far better than advertising during the recession. Strength in word-of-mouth and social media budgets is driving PR growth, while traidtional PR budgets also are slightly down or holding their own at most agencies. “With the 24-hour news cycle, different outlets and formats including online, companies need more advice around PR than they did in the past,” says Jim Rutherfurd, EVP and managing director at VSS.
The report notes that the investment in PR, event marketing and other PR-related mediums has come at the cost of advertising. Ad spending has been decreased 11% in the past two years. According to VSS, traditional advertising will decline by another 3% by 2013.
I hope we’re starting to see the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. PR appears to be weathering the economic storm better than other communications functions, and propsects for further improvement in 2010 and beyond is encouraging.