Marijane Funess December 1, 2014 | 06:34:00

What The PR Industry Wants This Season

Everyone wants peace on Earth and goodwill to all…and the latest smartphone, but those in the New York PR agency community have some special wishes this holiday season.

More journalists. Over the past ten years, the number of reporters decreased from 52,550 to 43,630, a 17 percent loss, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data. The number of public relations specialists during this timeframe grew by 22 percent, from 166,210 to 202,530. While we’re happy that the industry is growing, we don’t like outnumbering journalists.

Continuing upward trend in PR spending. It’s true Virginia, PR spending is up for 2014! According to a recent survey, a net balance of one percent of companies revised their PR budgets upward during the July-September period. There was also a 7.8 percent increase in event spending, nicely impacting the PR industry as well.

An increase in “disruptive” businesses. We welcome unique businesses springing up from what were once “fringe” categories. From new product entry Official Bob Marley Weed in the burgeoning legal marijuana trade, to Spotify, Uber and others in the “masscierge-driven future,” these market agitators give PR practitioners a lot to talk about.

Amazing “gaffers.” Something happens at holiday time so, like last year’s top contender Justine Sacco, Elizabeth Lauten, communications director for Rep. Stephen Fincher, R-Tenn., chose a public forum to say something lame and thoughtless. In this case Lauten took to Facebook to criticize first daughters Sasha and Malia Obama for basically, acting too much like teenagers. Although she has now resigned, she was another in a long line of PFBBs (public figures behaving badly) and providing so much fodder for PR bloggers!

More listicles and round-ups. Holiday gift lists, end-of-year “best-ofs” – these are the stuff of holiday dreams for PR pros. There is literally a category for any client and if there isn’t one for your client, create it!

Praise for PR. Whether it’s a two-word e-mail (“thank you”) or acknowledgement of PR’s role in a successful marketing or sales campaign, displays of gratitude are always appreciated. After all, PR continues to make the “most stressful jobs” lists year after year! We even received flowers earlier this year after a particularly successful event, and that kind of gift is welcome at any season.

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