The Holmes Global Report lists five PR Trends that are expected in 2015 and beyond.
Most of these trends have been building gradually over the last couple of years and are as follows:
Rising Trend of Micro-NetworksMicro-networks are one step less than forming a partnership. It is an agreement formed between smaller firms to be able to offer global clients the full-spectrum of services without having to open an office in several countries. These arrangements allow firms to work together while still respecting the client’s primary PR firm relationship. The work can be about location or about specialty practice areas done by a firm. The rate of such associations is rising and is finding a greater success than the large multinational firms in many cases.
Partnership Over AcquisitionPrevailing wisdom favors forming partnerships between boutique firms, allowing each existing firm to continue with their area of specialization. This involves having the backup of a partner (or several of them) available for work outside their particular area of expertise. This can also include the differences needed in other countries or cultures. So rather than a large firm going into a new area and starting from scratch, they are forming alliances with existing firms. Partnership still requires effort, but many are finding it a better option.
The Asian FactorSeveral Asian companies have gone through large growth spurts and are requiring more communications, PR, and advertising services. Home-grown PR companies in these areas are still small but are pushing forward. Once they figure out ways to build a talented personnel pool, they could easily become a major world factor.
Combining and Expanding ServicesFor PR agencies to thrive, they will need to expand the services they offer. Many have already begun this process. PR agencies will expand to include advertising as part of the services they offer, which is a fairly easy transition. But they will also need to add in the analytics and big data efforts to support their clients and to make sure the funds spent are getting a maximum impact. This transition means finding the people who can do the work, but also in managing the transition from being primarily a communications firm to being a digital tech and marketing firm. If the firm manages this well, they will prosper. If not, their prospects are not good.
The Big Money Market Locales Remain the SameThe majority of the work will continue to be done in the US, Asia-Pacific, Middle East and the UK. The tougher markets remain in Russia and Western Europe. However, there is some question about how long the Middle East will continue strong. If oil prices keep falling, these markets may slow drastically.
Along with the five trends listed, expect technology to continue as a strong factor. Since technology improves efficiency, even in markets with declining income, tech is a valuable investment for the PR firms and their clients. Funds previously allocated to other areas will be budgeted to tech simply because tech often replaces the need for those services