Digital / New Media Drives PR Growth

We are heading to a recession, if we are not there already. That’s when the PR industry begins to quake and tremble and budgets are indiscriminately slashed and AEs start jumping out windows. OK, maybe it’s not that dramatic, but the PR business is no fun – for agency owners, account people, or clients – during a recession. Why should this time be different?

There is one big difference: Digital communications and new media have opened up new distribution channels for PR and require a new set of skills from savvy PR people. Clients are beginning to realize the powerful ROI possible through creative online communication programs. Online communications is redefining the PR industry. Traditionalists, bigger agencies tied to old methods and operations, will suffer greater during a recession 

WPP is trying to cash in on the PR 2.0 move. WPP is listed in Wikipedia as “one of the world’s largest communications services groups.” Among WPP’s PR holdings are Hill and Knowlton, Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide, Burson-Marsteller and Cohn & Wolfe.

Sir Martin Sorrell, CEO WPP GroupSir Martin Sorrell (left, with finger raised), CEO of WPP,  singled out the positive impact “new technologies” are having on WPP’s public relations operations, due to increased demand from clients for “editorial publicity through fast-growing new applications of new technology such as MySpace, YouTube, Facebook, Flickr and Wikipedia,” Sir Martin wrote in his year-end update for shareholders.

Huh? Editorial publicity to Wikipedia? I thought Wikipedia was supposed to be an accurate, objective source for information, not a malleable online flack catcher. 

Anyway, Sir Martin is following the money. Traditional public relations practices can be more time-consuming and less effective than digital PR that takes control of the creation, packaging and distribution of news and information. Distribution is the key. With the Internet distribution is free and only limited by your imagination. It takes time (billable hours) but there is no barrier to entry into the global info marketplace.

During a recession maximum value-added becomes becomes the prime motivator in the engagement of services – especially a service as intangible as public relations. 

Related, see: Media, Interactive Services Propel WPP Growth: Social Nets Prove A Boon For PR, Not Advertising from Online Media Daily.


  1. [...] from Mark Rose at, New Media Drives PR Growth: We are heading to a recession, if we are not there already. That’s when the PR industry begins [...]

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