Managing reputation is important for organisations and individuals alike but fundamental for large corporations and governments in particular. This is according to data collected in the PR Q4 Trends Barometer survey undertaken by the International Communications Consultancy Organisation (ICCO) in 19 countries.
The survey shows that a majority of world PR experts deemed reputation for governments and large corporations “fundamental” (66%, 53%), or “very important” (20%, 28%). A majority of respondents also believe that taking care of reputation is “important” (78%) or “very important” (72%) for non-governmental/not-for-profit organisations as well as small and medium-sized companies. Safeguarding the reputation of individuals, whilst still important, is viewed as slightly less essential compared to the other groups.
The survey showed that reputation management services are most often provided by public relations consultants. A large majority of survey respondents (83%) maintained that clients look first to public relations consultancies when seeking expertise with regards to their reputation. The next most cited suppliers of reputation management services are: Reputation specialists (51%), management consultants (44%) and digital agencies (34%). A significant number also noted marketing services firms and advertising agencies as competitors in this area.
The PR consultancy business is widely expected to remain stable or grow over the last quarter of the year. 34% of surveyed consultants predict fee income will increase, 51% say conditions will remain stable, and 15% expect income to shrink in Q4.This forecast, whilst positive, is less optimistic than for the previous quarters of 2011, over which growth predictions progressively declined. At the end of January, 83% of consultancy heads predicted growth for 2011. In April, 71% expected short-term growth in fees to continue and in July, 62% of respondents expected further growth for the quarter ahead.
The heads of member agencies of ICCO’s local associations all took part in research, including Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Great Britain, Germany, Greece, Denmark, India, Spain, Norway, Portugal, Russia, Slovenia, Turkey, Finland, France, Croatia, the Czech republic, Sweden and Switzerland.
According to Elena Fadeeva, chairwoman of АКОS, general director of Fleishman-Hillard Vanguard: «In conditions of general economic instability experts are afraid to give forecasts for the further growth of the PR market, however, as a whole, the results of the research have been positive. In various sectors of the economy PR’s value will unequivocally increase, for example in the sphere of corporate or crisis communications. It is good to know that the majority of business and state representatives trust the examination and professional approach of our companies and consultants in dealing with this subtle and very important issue».
The International Communications Consultancy Organisation (ICCO) is the voice of public relations consultancies around the world. The ICCO membership comprises national trade associations in twenty-eight countries across the globe: from Europe, Africa, Asia, the Americas and Australia. Collectively, these associations represent close to 1,500 PR firms.