NET FEES OF $3.14 BILLION were attained by independent PR firms ranked by O‚Dwyer's, and reasons for growth are outlined in the May issue by leaders of top firms.
Aiming for more helps to produce more. Edelman CEO Richard Edelman says a key to outperforming the big agency networks is refusing to accept single digit growth as the "new normal."
Creating wider offering of what is possible is cited as a growth producer by W20‚s Bob Pearson. His call is for PR to "deliver what is required, not what is available."
Washington PR powerhouse APCO's president Evan Kraus suggests an important place for PR to focus is at the top, "helping C-suite leaders deal with disruption and world leaders make their global mark."
Peter Finn, head of the startlingly successful Finn Partners, suggests that independents have been outperforming the holding companies because of a "cultural divide" between independents and shops owned by conglomerates.
"Watch your assets" are not the words but the wisdom of the mighty ICR firm that grew an impressive 13.9% last year. "The mishandling of stakeholder communications," says ICR CEO Thomas Ryan in the May O'Dwyer's, increasingly "results in reputational and valuation damage."
Unusual facts create unusual opportunities. Financial PR firm Prosek Partners chief Jen Prosek attributed the firm‚s 33.2% growth in part to growth in the agency's special situations, crisis and transactions business.
At Padilla, which came out ahead despite turnover of a major client last year, CEO Lynn Casey sees reasons for future PR growth. She says a continued erosion of trust and a media environment rife with fake news would produce increased reliance on communications firms as trusted advisors.
To showcase qualities as a "challenger brand" and because more non-tech companies are realizing the value of innovation brands, Hotwire North America president Heather Kernahan does "innovation positioning," helping clients increase their valuations.
An old idea that keeps producing new successes is hard work plus emphasis on media, "influencers," CSR and expansion in marketing American-made products, reports Coyne Public Relations CEO Thomas Coyne.
A key to future PR success, says 5WPR CEO Ronn Torossian, is integration, storytelling--through earned, owned and paid channels--that connects with the consumer and evokes emotion.
The May O'Dwyer's, like all issues of O'Dwyer's, also has articles from exceptionally successful PR leaders on what's new, what's working and in some cases what's working best.