The global pandemic had a major impact on the communications industry. Can it be salvaged and come out stronger?
The ICCO World PR report is an annual report that presents the most comprehensive annual analysis of the global PR industry. This year's report was published in partnership with Provoke Media and Opinium. The results from the report are based on findings from an online survey conducted between August and September 2020. 268 PR professionals were surveyed from multiple regions to provide answers to the following questions -
Is there an opportunity for growth in the coming years?
The majority of respondents are optimistic about the growth of the industry in the coming years. With the boost in digital transformation, 32% of respondents are expecting a major investment in social media community management in 2021. The trend of strategic consulting is picking up globally and 41% of respondents expect the field to grow rapidly in the coming five years. Respondents believe that IT and technology (63%) and Healthcare (53%) are the two sectors that will experience massive growth in the coming five years
How has the Covid-19 pandemic impacted your firm?
The impact of Covid-19 has been huge on the PR industry globally. 46% of respondents have reported a loss of earnings for the year due to the pandemic. Meanwhile, 62% of respondents have reported that clients have either canceled or delayed campaigns for the year. In the Middle East, 75% of respondents expect a drop in client income fees.
The impacts of the pandemic have forced many companies to shift operations to the digital space. Naturally, they also demanded communications services in the digital/social space (45%). But the majority of the respondents (56%) have cited a major increase in crisis counseling from PR firms. It's pretty evident that the hospitality and travel industry has been hit the hardest by the pandemic. But not many noticed the impact it had on the entertainment industry as well. 46% of respondents reported that the entertainment industry was also one of the hardest hit by the pandemic.
How are firms looking for talent?
Is concern about mental wellbeing in the industry finally picking up?
There's no doubt that the pandemic has had a major impact on the mental wellbeing of everybody from every profession. But this year, we've seen the PR industry taking special initiatives to address the issues around the mental health of communication professionals.
How diverse is your team?
With the question of diversity and representation coming into the spotlight this year, 60% of agencies globally report having diversity and inclusion policy in their firm.
Regional results for the Middle East
PR professionals in the region believe regional firms will increase investments in multimedia and social media platforms. This forecast is connected to the rise in demand for more digital presence for brands and companies in the region. It's also connected to the increase in social communication services from clients in the region and globally.
Professionals in the region believe that the road to recovery from the pandemic and the unwillingness of clients to commit to sufficient funds from clients will be the major challenges that will disturb business.