Thursday, August 04, 2011

The case for internet mediated PR to avoid the professional diversity trap

Having identified from the PRCA/PRW survey that the PR industry needs to face up to a big productivity gap and a professional diversity trap, It is time to see what can realistically be done.

In this post, I will look at the development of internet based PR services as being an area for industry investors and why it should be an area worth a close look by the PRCA and CIPR (which are both doing quite a lot of work at the agency end of digital PR practice) and academia (which is floundering).

For every £1 the UK PR industry contributes, the rest of the economy contributes £177. If we look at these data more closely, this is an overly comfortable position and will deteriorate.

As the economy returns to 2008 levels PR's contribution, unless productivity grows fast) will drop to a ratio of about £1:£227 over perhaps five years (depending on how fast the UK can make up the massive hole the last recession made in national wealth creation). This means that the PR industry needs to act now or shrink back in the pecking order of significant sectors and, at the same time, witness the professional diversity trap becoming worse.

For an industry worth £7.5 billion we can see the contribution of the PR sector in a global context from this graph.

The PR industry in the UK has some things going for it which will stand it in good stead if it grasps the nettle.

First of all, this is a country that is used to making its way as an entrepĂ´t economy and by providing services.

So, it may be sensible to look at some of the growth areas and see how they might give the PR industry the lift it needs.

Internet mediated PR is an area of growth that might prove valuable. Getting ahead of the curve so that we can expert expertise would be good for PR productivity.

Among the top economies, the UK does not have a large number of internet users but this may mean that other countries may be valuable expert markets.

This would only be true if the UK could call on a sound base of users and expertise.

And in this case the UK is among the top three countries for Internet use per head of population.

In addition, the UK population is ahead of the curve in the fast accelerating next generation of communication. UK people are more addicted to their mobiles than any other country bar Russia.

Of course, the markets relevant to this sector of PR will need good upload and download speeds and so a measure of this capability is important.

What this UN data is telling us is that the UK is a good place for the PR industry to develop advanced Internet Mediated Public Relations practice and services and an excellent centre for the development services for other, and especially emerging markets.

In PR we are acutely aware of the human condition and so the UN Human Development Report is relevant to help identify markets where stimulation of human development is significant.

With closer analysis of the data, the UN HDI report may also give the PR industry some clue as to where the most relevant markets may be for enhanced online PR services.

There is work to be done to develop the opportunities for the PR sector.

Clearly, these data skim the surface but as part of a contribution towards improving PR productivity to mitigate the professional diversity trap facing the PR industry, I thought it might help PR industry thinking.

Sources: United Nations accessed via Google Public Data Explorer

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