MOSCOW — A new survey on Russia's PR industry has revealed that clients feel PR specialists in agencies lack knowledge of their client's products. They also reported a lack of expertise in the sphere of integrated communications as well as analytical skills and creativity. 

The fourth annual survey by Buman Media, in partnership with Russian online recruitment company HeadHunter, polled 147 in-house PR professionals across various departments including IT, retail, finance and baking. The survey aimed to explore the structure of Russian PR departments, their relationship with agencies and their wavering budgets. 

The report found that 46% of respondents reported having a PR budget for the current year. Just 8% reported having an annual budget of over $122k allocated to PR issues within their company, down from 20% with the same budget in 2016. Meanwhile 14% reported PR budgets ranging from $35k to $122k, and 24% of companies spend less than $35k annually on PR issues.

Respondents stated that the majority of their PR budgets are spent on industry events such as conferences, forums and exhibitions. Special projects with media came in second, while in-house PR came in third. The top five most expensive issues include blogger and KOL relations, along with gifts for clients and journalists. 

Bucelnikova pointed out that PR specialists face the challenge of reaching maximum efficiency using various technology and channels, amidst limited budgets. 

Socia media remains a key objective for Russian PR and marketing departments, along with promoting brands to the top of the number of mentions. Anti-crisis PR and changing companies' positions are a close second. 

In light of wavering brand agency relationships, the number of in-house PR specialists are increasing in Russia. 41% of those surveyed reported that the number of PR specialists in their company hadn't changed since 2016, while 27% said the number had increased. However, in 2016 26% of companies surveyed had reduced their PR staff. Meanwhile, 10% reported not having any PR staff in their company.

Unsurprisingly, Facebook was named the most effect platform for brand promotion, followed by VKontakte, Russia's largest social network, in second place and Instagram in third. The survey saw an increase of companies in the field of real estate development, engineering design and in the public sector utilizing social media.