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First ICCO quarterly trends survey shows consultancy heads expect growth in 2011 – Digital leading growth, energy and environment sectors increasing PR agency spend

The public relations consultancy sector will grow in 2011. This is the overwhelming conclusion of consultancy heads and directors across 19 countries responding to the International Communications Consultancy Organisation’s (ICCO) first Quarterly Trends Barometer survey.
83% of respondents expect the PR consultancy business to grow in 2011 compared to the previous year. The remaining 17% expect stable conditions, with no respondents believing the business will shrink this year.
Disciplines

90% of those surveyed see digital communications as a key area for expansion. Other disciplines cited for growth include: corporate/strategy and crisis & issues management (both at 49%), as well as public affairs (46%) and consumer/brand marketing (44%).
Event management shows the least potential for growth, with a score of just 10%.

Sectors

In terms of specific industries, 86% of respondents internationally expect organisations in the energy and environment sectors to increase their PR budgets this year. 54% view the health and wellness industry as a strong candidate for growth, while a further 50% expect bigger budgets from internet and telecommunications companies. The food & nutrition and IT/technology industries also score highly, at 46% and 45% respectively.
By contrast, very few respondents expect to see growth in PR budgets from more traditional sectors such as real estate, manufacturing or retail – all of which score below 15%.

Challenges

Respondents felt the biggest challenge for PR consultancy in 2011 is pricing and profitability. 45% view this as the single biggest issue for the success of their business this year.

Publications

Survey participants were also asked to indicate what they consider to be the most influential PR trade publication today. UK-based PRWeek received the most mentions, followed by The Holmes Report.

Methodology

The 2011 Q1 Trends Barometer survey was distributed to ICCO board representatives and national trade association board members in January 2011. Responses were received from 19 countries: Australia, Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark (including Greenland), Germany, Greece, India, Italy, Norway, Portugal, Russia, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, the UK and the USA.
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SAVE THE DATES! The ICCO Summit 2011 will take place September 29-30 at the Penha Longa Hotel Spa & Golf Resort in Sintra (Lisbon), Portugal.

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 1,400 PR firms.