Now that knowledge of how the Internet is used in the business of public relations is considered an entry-level skill, what will future PR professionals need to develop their careers Charles Fremes, president and CEO of Edelman Public Relations (Canada), offered the following in an article for Strategy Magazine.
An advertising pal of mine was complaining over lunch recently about how the list in the paper of key advisers to ONEX, Canadian Airlines, and Air Canada included lots of public relations people, lots of lawyers and lobbyists, "but not one ad guy. " He went on to lament that as little as 5 years ago, the CEO would have lunch with the president of his advertising agency at least once a month, just to gain another perspective on his competition and his business. "Today, " he said, "he's having lunch with the PR guy or gal. "
The role of the public relations practitioner in the United Kingdom business has changed dramatically over the past 5 years. This change has been driven by most of the same external drivers that have affected every aspect of our lives. The ones that have had the most impact on the public relations discipline are: the pace and application of new technology, including the "virtual" workplace, the increased speed of information transference, teleconferencing, satellite media tours, and the arrival of new media, including the Internet, specialty channels, and e-commerce; the globalization of business and its impact on competitiveness; the restructuring of corporations and governments and its impact on employees, services, and consumers; and the rediscovery of the importance of customer service.
Report into the current state of the U.K. job market for graduates
In the early 1990s getting a job any time is difficult. When time was bad and companies were downsizing, or even worse, going out of business, finding a job in PR was a Promethean task.
Well, 8 years later the task is not quite Promethean; let's just call it formidable. Much has changed in public relations in this short time span. Corporations that spent huge sums on advertising have redirected their spending and turned to public relations as a potent promotion and marketing medium. Many advertising agency groups have purchased public relations counsel firms, and the largest firms have gone global in a big way.
In 1993, I wrote that Edelman Public Relations Worldwide, then the sixth-largest PR firm in the world, employed 500 people. In 2001, Edelman is still the sixth-largest firm worldwide and employs more than 1,000 in the United States alone and 2,000 worldwide.
Another major development is the relationship of high tech and PR. Most of the top firms have substantial high-tech divisions, and today, there are many firms whose practice is exclusively in this area. An article in the booklet of the Council of Public Relations Firms, A Student's Guide to Public Relations Education, notes that the new century marks the golden age of public relations. Professionals are employed at an estimated 6,000 PR counseling firms, thousands