2015 Review: Top 10 Longreads
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Holmes Report

2015 Review: Top 10 Longreads

From gender inequality to parental leave, Huntsworth's struggles, Edelman's reinvention and disruption at MSLGroup, it was another dramatic year for the PR industry, as our 2015 review explores.

Arun Sudhaman

2015 Review: Top 10 Longreads

We kick off our annual review by breaking down our most-read longreads of the year. As ever, we disqualify awards stories as they always skew the rankings. Beyond that, it is worth noting that our longreads always get the most traction, even ahead of most of our top news articles, which we will rank next week. And please do bear in mind that, of course, newer posts naturally deliver less traffic compared to older ones.

More from our 2015 Review:
Top 10 Longreads
Top 5 Podcasts
Top 10 News Stories

For now, enjoy our most popular analysis and features from another dramatic year for the PR industry:

1. Why Aren't There More Female CEOs In PR?
An absolute tour de force from Aarti Shah, this feature was not only our top longread, but our most-read article overall, underscoring the critical importance of gender inequality during a year when the issue finally got the attention it deserved. Not only did Aarti's analysis make for uncomfortable reading about gender disparity at the top of the PR industry, but it also sparked considerable conversation and, even more importantly, change — with several PR firms reviewing their policies as a result.

2. Weber Shandwick And Trigger Top 2015 Global Creative Index
The fourth edition of our 2015 Global Creative Index, which benchmarks creative excellence in PR, proved the most popular yet — with our analysis also determining that Always #LikeAGirl was the most awarded PR campaign in the world in 2015.

3. 2015 PR Trend Forecast: 15 People To Watch

We stuck our neck out at the start of this year and picked 15 marketing and communications people who we thought were the ones to watch this year. For some (Fraser Hardie, Marc Mathieu, Melissa Waggener, Jim Wilkinson), we clearly got it right. For the others...well, you can't win them all.

4. 5 Lessons For PR From Cannes 2015
Paul Holmes finally makes his debut on this list with his own list from Cannes, written after our 'post-match' discussion with Ogilvy PR and other leading industry executives. Typically eloquent and unsurprisingly digressive, Paul calls on the PR industry to stop sounding defensive and wonders how smaller firms can get more involved. And he suggests that the focus on numbers — how many PR firms won how many awards — is skewing the debate.

5. Will H+K Strategies Push The PR Industry To Improve Paid Parental Leave?

Another important analysis from Aarti shone a light on the inadequate parental leave policies that continue to plague most US PR firms. H+K Strategies made itself a welcome exception this year, but the jury remains out on whether other firms will follow suit.

6. Analysis: Edelman Closes In On Agency Restructuring And $1bn Target

At the time of writing, this post had been live for less than 48 hours, but had already risen to take sixth spot on this list, proving once again that stories about the world's biggest PR firm are especially intriguing. Particularly, perhaps, when they involve a wholesale reorganisation of agency roles, for a business that is poised to become the first $1bn PR firm.

7. Data, Content And Creativity: Martin Sorrell On How PR Firms Become More 'Relevant'
Martin Sorrell is about as box office as it gets in the marketing communications world, and our annual Cannes sit-down found the WPP chief in fine form, calling on PR firms to relax about "being treated as second-class citizens", because "what they do is extremely important and becoming more relevant." In addition, Sorrell discussed gender inequality and answered whether, from an agency perspective, he really does like to eat his children.

8. Why Huntsworth Called On Paul Taaffe To Revive Growth
It has been another tough year for Huntsworth, which finally bit the bullet after an exhaustive search and installed a successor to Lord Chadlington as Huntsworth CEO. Unsurprisingly, the early returns from Taaffe are hardly discouraging, even if Huntsworth continues to find growth elusive.

9. MSLGroup: How Much Disruption Is Too Much?
In which we discuss the continuing, seemingly neverending, change at MSLGroup, which this year included three global CEOs in two months and a similar level of turnover at its critical North American operation. The analysis also proved surprisingly prescient; within two months Publicis Groupe had restructured operations, aligning MSLGroup with its advertising and digital siblings. Agencies love to talk about disruption, but MSLGroup appears to be taking the advice to heart, in a manner that is both brave and unsettling.

10. 5 Things We Learned At The 2015 Global PR Summit
1 thing we've learned from this article: people love lists! This one took in the main themes from our fourth Global PR Summit, including a broken crisis model, creative catalysts and PR's enduring virtues. For once, I'll let someone else — in this case advertising legend Chuck Porter — have the last word: "One key for us is we have gotten closer and closer to our clients at the top. It’s difficult to sell risky ideas unless you have the relationships at the top. To do that we spend a lot of time discovering a business problem we can solve and then solving those problems."

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