We continue our 2016 with our top five Echo Chamber podcast episodes. Remember, you can subscribe to the show via iTunes or the direct feed. And a big thank-you to Markettiers, which produces the show, and our sponsor March.

1. Rory Sutherland

Unsurprisingly, Ogilvy & Mather vice-chairman Rory Sutherland took top spot as our most popular podcast guest this year, thanks to a digressive, fascinating conversation that explored why behavioural economics is of critical importance for companies seeking to understand why people make decisions. Sutherland also discussed the rise of Donald Trump, the Brexit campaign and why emotional arguments matter more than rational ones. 

2. Fred Cook on the future of PR talent

Golin chairman Fred Cook joined the show to discuss the first Global Communications Report, which predicted good PR agency sector growth over the next five years, but raised several questions about attracting and retaining the right talent. Capstone Hill CEO Jamie McLaughlin also joined this show to talk more about talent. 

3. M&A trends in the PR industry
Paul Holmes joined the show to discuss his analysis of M&A trends in the PR agency world, which revealed that independent firms are now out-buying their publicly-held counterparts.  In a wide-ranging discussion, Paul also explored why the big holding groups are buying fewer PR firms, and looked at the impact of private equity on agency M&A activity. Also discussed are the markets and services attracting most interest, APCO's search for a new investment partner, and whether 2016 would prove as active, in M&A terms, as 2015. 

4. Global PR industry growth & trends

Another trends discussion (do you see a pattern here?) this time with Paul Holmes upon publication of the first Global Communications Report. Paul and I also discuss the Holmes Report's 2016 Global Top 250 PR Agency Ranking which reveals that industry growth slowed to 5% last year, raising further concerns about the sector.

 5. H+K's new US CEO Beth Balsam on gender & marketing
Aarti Shah talks to H+K Strategiesnew US CEO Beth Balsam about her vision for H+K's US revival, the agency's groundbreaking parental leave policy and why female empowerment has become such a popular marketing theme.