Posts Tagged ‘Devries PR’


Are PR Budgets Back?

Tuesday, March 1st, 2011

Valerie Simon

Money_EyesAt the New York City #HAPPO Hour last week, professionals representing many top public relations agencies were on the lookout for talent. Representatives from firms such as Burson Marstellar, Peppercom, MS&L, Devries PR, and Ruder Finn worked the room, looking to meet potential hires. In fact, the number of professionals in the room, who were wearing badges identifying themselves as an actively hiring employer or mentor, nearly matched the number of job seekers and students.

“In 2009 and 2010, it seemed as though many of the clients we pitched were not ready to make a decision,” commented one NYC agency pro. “Recently, however, it seems like clients are starting to move forward. Whether they pick our agency, or another, they are making a decision.” And as firms gear up to take on new business, finding employees quickly becomes a top priority.

In a recent PRNewser post, Ketchum CEO Ray Kotcher noted an increase in the number of RFPs and account wins floating around. “There’s been a bit of a lift from the economy,” Kotcher said. But he said the “lift” was the normal course of business for this time period as “clients are lining up their comms partners for the coming year. You’re also seeing PR taking on much more importance than it has in the past.”

Kotcher noted three key areas of growth for the PR industry:

  • social media, digital media, and word of mouth
  •  research, measurement, and analytics
  • continued need for corporate and crisis work (particularly in regards to B-to-B, electronics, and established tech companies

Harris Diamond, CEO of IPG’s Constituency Management Group, which houses its PR firms, including GolinHarris, Weber Shandwick, and DeVries Public Relation, also had a positive message to share with PRNewser readers, “We’re just seeing a tremendous focus with companies more and more seeing the wisdom of looking for programs the reach their constituent groups,” he shared, explaining that across all PR businesses, practices, and geographies, business has experienced and continues to experience growth. Diamond pointed out opportunities available for the industry in areas traditionally reserved for advertising specifically, “Mega events,” like the Super Bowl.

As I chatted amongst the attendees at the New York #HAPPO event, I was inspired to hear so many opportunities, but was struck by the sense of urgency. The last few years have resulted in lean staffs, struggling to provide excellence with very limited resources. Businesses have rightfully been cautious in making the investments necessary to embrace growth and opportunity. Headlines such as “Is PR dead?” questioned the very existence of our industry.

I believe the industry is emerging from these tough economic times stronger, and more necessary than ever before. Budgets are returning, but with a heightened sensitivity to the importance of efficiency and a deep understanding of the precious fragility of growth.

Growth will not be without its challenges. Is your organization preparing to hire or add additional resources for your PR efforts? How has the economic downturn impacted the way your organization is allocating resources?

Required Reading for PR Professionals

Friday, August 27th, 2010

Valerie Simon

Required Reading for PR ProfessionalsAs interns head into the office for the first time this fall, eager to make a good impression and begin a successful career, wouldn’t it be nice to be given a reading list…a list of books that hold the secrets and lessons to give you that extra advantage? I decided to ask a few leaders in the PR industry, “Is there a book you’d consider ‘required reading’? Something you wish every new hire read prior to their first day on the job?” Here are their responses:

Beyond How-to and PR 2.0
“I think better than any how-to or PR 2.0 book are business bios that inspire,(e.g., Howard Schulz, J. Dyson), books re: creativity, and Mad Men,” says Dorothy Crenshaw, CEO and creative director Crenshaw Communications. Personally, I love reading the biographies of successful business leaders; in fact, Howard Schulz’s “Pour Your Heart Into It” has a special place on my bookshelf.

Good for All Levels
Stephanie Smirnov, president, Devries PR suggests “Making News in the Digital Era” by David Henderson.

Global Clientele and Mega Trends
Alex Aizenberg , group manager, Weber Shandwick: “Hot, Flat, and Crowded” and “The World Is Flat” both by Tom Friedman.

Must Reads
Richard Laermer, founder and CEO, RLM Public Relations: “Elements of Style” by E.B. White and “On Writing Well” by Wiliam Zinsser.

Start Your Career Right
Christine Barney, CEO Rbb Public Relations: “The No Asshole Rule: Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One That Isn’t” by Robert Sutton.

The World Around You
As Stefan Pollack, president of The Pollack PR Marketing Group points out, “With today’s explosion of information, to me, required reading is to read everything one can get their hands on.  Books, eBooks, white papers, blogs, etc..Today’s entry level pro needs to up their level of intellectual curiosity and their life experiences. They need to know more about everything and as important link it to their pursuit for a career in PR.” Pollack’s recommendation: “the Book of Life, the life that is around you both near and far. By upping one’s intellectual curiosity, new hires, run the greater chance of understanding the contextual relevance of what they read when applying it to what they do. ”

As for my suggestions? Attempting to choose a single book to offer up as required reading is certainly not easy. My friends at BurrellesLuce and I frequently pass around books and a few of my favorite books, among those that have circulated, include:

But I think that if I could mandate a single book as required reading for new hires, I’d just stick to an old favorite: “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie. While Carnegie may have written the book in 1936, the simple lessons are timeless and perhaps more important today than ever before.

What book would you suggest a new employee reads before coming on board at your organization?