NEW YORK--Weber Shandwick and GolinHarris parent Interpublic Group (IPG) has reported earnings growth of 10 percent in 2011.

The group’s PR business, which also includes such firms as DeVries, Powell Tate and Current Lifestyle marketing, experienced a particularly strong fourth quarter of 2011, growing by 13 percent.

Harris Diamond, CEO of both Weber Shandwick and the IPG CMG division in which PR sits, attributed the growth to increasing business from such areas as content creation and social media.

“It’s the perfect time for PR,” said Diamond. “You have the ability to do content creation, you have social media and engagement becoming additive to the current business, and the traditional businesses doing very well.”

Diamond pointed to consumer marketing as being the biggest growth driver. “It continues to expand, and is still the greatest opportunity, with respect to social media, engagement and content creation. Part of that is we are getting into spaces with the marketing disciplines where we weren’t in the past.”

Geographic growth included all regions, including continental Europe, which Diamond called “rare.” He also noted that while lobbying income in DC was “hurting as one would expect”, public affairs and government relations business is performing strongly.

“We’ve had two years in a recession where we’ve had double-digit growth in the PR sector,” he noted. “We are concerned about Europe by definition. The US is in a good place and Asia is in a pretty good place.”

Diamond added that he is expecting expansion in Latin America, following the acquisition of Brazilian PR firm S2Publicom last year. “Brazil is going to be a very strong contributor.” 

That deal has been followed by further buys in Germany and the UK, after a number of years of inactivity in terms of agency acquisition.