Click here for the 2011 EMEA Consultancy Report Cards

Feature: Public Relations Values Perfect Fit For Social Media Age

2011 European Consultancies of the Year 

Editorial by Paul Holmes

The global economic crisis hit Europe harder than any other region, and the upturn seems to have started later here than it did in other parts of the world, so public relations firms can be forgiven for regarding any recovery as fragile.
On a macro-economic level, Europe has been forced to offer bailouts to the particularly troubled economies of Greece and Ireland, and continue to view several other significant markets with concern. In the U.K., the government’s austerity programme has had a direct impact on many firms—budgets for public sector PR and marketing campaigns have been slashed—and may still have an indirect impact as public employee layoffs swell the ranks of the unemployed and dampen consumer spending.
Meanwhile, research undertaken in conjunction with our global ranking of public relations firms found that PR consultancy principals in the EMEA region were concerned about several issues, including client understanding of the benefits of public relations; competition from other marketing services business; and the ability to attract top talent to the profession. No surprise then that they were less likely than their peers in the US or Asia to describe themselves as optimistic about the future of the business.
But there are reasons to believe that the gloom will lift over the next 12 months. For one thing, the standard of public relations work in the region remains high, as the volume and quality of entries to our annual SABRE Awards competition continues to demonstrate. We have seen terrific campaigns from established markets such as the U.K., France and Sweden, and from emerging economies ranging from Romania and Russia to Kenya and Dubai.
For another thing, there are top performing firms—many of them included in this magazine—in every market, finding ways to grow their business and make themselves more valuable at a more strategic level to their clients. These firms are blazing a trail that others can follow.
And finally, the digital and social media revolution—which has had a very positive impact on the PR business in the US—is coming to Europe, and holds out promise for plenty of growth in the coming months.

Click below to download the PDF of the EMEA 2011 Report Card