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Continued turmoil in the Eurozone and the UK government’s commitment to austerity mean that tough economic times continued in Western Europe throughout 2012—and look likely to continue for some time in the future.
Those tough times are reflected in the continued weakness of the giant communications holding companies: Interpublic, Omnicom and WPP—which between them control eight of the top dozen or so public relations firms in Europe—reported modest single-digit growth for their PR holdings last year, suggesting that the public relations business is not quite as countercyclical as some observers once believed.
But those same observers do not have to look far for indications that smart, forward-looking, well-managed consultancies can prosper even in the most challenging economic climate. Among the
200 or so firms profiled in this publication, many achieved double-digit growth last year, and several
saw increases of 20 or 30 percent in fee income.
Some of those firms are based in the emerging markets of Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, where demand for strategic public relations counsel continues to rise, but others are based in
old, established PR markets in the UK and Western Europe. They have succeeded by innovating—
offering new services, some of them in the digital and social space, others in areas from employee
communications or event management—and by ensuring that their work makes a real impact on
their clients’ bottom lines.
The need for good public relations has never been greater—corporate reputations are more challenged than ever in the social media age, and PR is playing an increasingly central role in brandbuilding as marketers recognize the need to truly engage with their consumers—and the firms in this volume are all well-positioned to benefit, whatever the broader economic context.
Paul Holmes, Editor-In-Chief, The Holmes Report