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Creativity and Innovation Vital to Success in PR

Growth in PR Consultancy to Slow in Q3

BARCELONA, 1 August 2012 – PR consultancy heads agree internationally that creativity is a key component to success in client business, particularly when it comes to strategy. Furthermore, they view innovation as a core ingredient to managing the different facets of the agency. These are the findings of the third-quarter Trends Barometer survey from ICCO.

The quarterly survey also tracks expectations of growth throughout the year. For the third quarter of 2012, the respondent group from 16 countries is divided down the middle. Close to 47% expect revenues to expand during Q3, and 49% predict stable conditions. Less than 5% of respondents foresee a decline in the business.

The importance of creativity

Fully 70% of those surveyed label creativity as either “very important” or “critical” to success in their work with clients. A further 15% say it is “important” to their PR business.

When competing to win new business, consultants consider the strategic approach to be the most significant component of a proposal: 93% cite it as either “critical” or “very important”. And 65% say that the value of creativity in strategy is high. The suggested tactics for implementing a campaign are seen as the next most important component of a proposal, while the design of the presentation ranks last. According to respondents, creativity is more highly valued in the strategic and tactical elements of the proposal than in the actual presentation (i.e. visual and verbal expression) of those ideas.

Boosting creative performance

Survey respondents believe that developing the right corporate culture and staff are key to improving the level of creativity and thus being better equipped to compete for clients. 86% feel that creating an open and flexible work environment that encourages new ideas should be a priority. 72% maintain that hiring staff with creativeness as a primary skill is one of the best ways to boost performance across the agency. Partnerships with design and production specialists or the integration of dedicated creative teams within the agency are also seen as important areas of focus, cited by 58% and 50% respectively.

Innovation in management

When asked how important innovation is to managing the different aspects of their PR consultancies, a majority of respondents categorize it as “very important” or “critical” across the board. The product/service offering ranks as the most essential area for innovative change, followed by HR (including staffing, training and compensation). These are closely trailed by the consultancy’s business model and its culture. PR heads also mention campaign measurement and project management as potential areas for innovating in their operations.

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About ICCO

The International Communications Consultancy Organisation (ICCO) is the voice of public relations consultancies around the world. The ICCO membership comprises national trade associations in twenty-eight countries across the globe: from Europe, Africa, Asia, the Americas and Australia. Collectively, these associations represent some 1,500 PR firms.

Methodology

Members of the board of national PR consultancy trade associations were surveyed online during the second half of July 2012. Respondents based in 16 different countries participated.