Worldcom PR Group reflects on global communications and industry trends

Close up of a school girl holding a globeThe Worldcom Public Relations Group, the world’s largest global PR partnership, finds the global PR business on track and ready to face exciting challenges from new frontiers the world over, notwithstanding the recent monumental economic challenges which had clients and budgets across most industries racked by financial woes.

Since December there’s been a general euphoria among Worldcom partners, about where the industry is going, according to a survey which reported a general uptick in new clients and new engagements.

From a trend perspective, Worldcom PR Group partners report that clients are looking to their firms to deliver immediate impact while creating sustainable value through programs that communicate more effectively in their markets.

Recently, Worldcom added five new partner firms in North America, Europe and Asia.  One of the most telling trends about the future of the global communications market is notable growth in the Middle East, added offices in Beirut, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Istanbul and Cairo.

These new markets are maturing before our eyes. As communications barriers break down, there’s a greater need to communicate and educate markets.

Asia also remains a particular source of interest. Recently, we convened as partners for a global meeting in Shanghai where we discussed the maturity of the Asian market and outlined plans on how to continue successful ventures in the region. As Chinese and Asian manufacturers build brands and take those brands abroad into the world, we are seeing that evolutionary process growing in greater numbers.

Worldcom also recently surveyed its global partners about the growth of firm service offerings. The findings project a rise in social media and research and a decline in media relations and advertising services over the next three years.   More than 70 of Worldcom’s 104 partner offices responded to the survey.

The survey results demonstrate that PR has indeed moved to multi-channel. According to the survey, the services Worldcom partners expect to decrease include: media relations (19%), advertising (17%), and direct mail and marketing (11%). In general, the majority of partners are optimistic about business increasing in the next three to five years.

The increase in multichannel services is an indicator that firms are moving beyond media relations as a major source of revenue. More than half of the partners expect social media, interactive/web development and search engine optimization services to increase – 93%, 73% and 61%, respectively.

In addition, one-third of the Worldcom PR Group partners in the European, Middle Eastern and African (EMEA) region, as well as the Asia Pacific region, expect the percentage of work from their home countries to decrease. Additional key findings regarding other significant areas of revenue included investor relations and influencer/stakeholder relations. The Americas region also cited specific cultural demographics (37%) and, among that, the most commonly cited was Latino/Hispanic, at 10%.

About the Author

Stefan Pollack is chair of the Worldcom PR Group’s Americas Region and president of Los Angeles-based, The Pollack PR Marketing Group.

Worldcom can be viewed as a barometer for the global PR industry. In its 22nd year, Worldcom has 104 partner offices in 91 cities, in 46 countries on 5 continents with partner firms that employ nearly 1,860 professionals. Additionally, Worldcom’s global practice groups position partners within in areas of specialization and include: Consumer, Crisis and Issues Management, Business-to-Business, Health Care, Investor Relations, Public Affairs, Energy and Environment, Technology and Travel and Tourism. Worldcom partner firms have combined total revenues of nearly $214 million.

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