Getting into the spirit of things for the upcoming State of the Union address (I’ve already hung the red, white and blue bunting which I normally reserve for when the Yankees are in the World Series) here are a few ramblings on the State of the PR Industry for 2013…
The hottest coupling in Hollywood. The beautiful marriage of digital and entertainment — and their bountiful offspring — has spurred the growth of new consumer technology hardware, software, content, services, and just all around cool stuff. As start-ups and established companies continue to leverage new technologies and exploit opportunities, the steady demand for communications talent to spread the word will continue. The markets witnessing the most action… Silicon Beach (West LA) and Silicon Valley (you know where that is).
Demanding Talent. The PR industry should expect to see continued low unemployment and high demand. The heaviest demand will be in technology, healthcare, corporate reputation, and of course social media. The folks receiving the most wooing will be those ever popular SAE’s and Supes — especially those hanging out in top PR markets like NY, LA, SF, and Chicago.
Social Media Matters. PR and Marketing firms will continue to battle over the sexy new star of the party… Social Media. Each proclaim a better pedigree, more capabilities and superior talent in an effort to woo more budget dollars out of this new box office beauty. And when it comes to recruiting social media talent, expect to see even more sparks fly. Experienced social media strategists (i.e. people with more than two years of handling strategic social media compaigns for Fortune 250 companies) will be in high demand by Marketing and PR shops as well as by companies looking to strengthen their in-house teams. The interesting development is that the growth of social media has also made clients demand that PR and Marketing firms play in the same sandbox. Finally leading to some true intgration after 25 years of idle chatter about it.
College Catch-up. When I graduated college in 1980 there was no such thing as a public relations degree… at least not in the SUNY/SUCO system of New York State and… I’m spitballing here, but probably no where else in the country. Now a large number of schools offer PR as a major, or at the very least, communications with classes in journalism, marketing, and public relations. Colleges, with encouragement from PR professionals and industry organizations, are doing a better job, but still not a great job in offering classes relevant to today’s real world demands. One example.. it’s shocking how slow academia has been to offer classes emphasizing social media skills… today’s hottest skillset. More needs to be done and colleges need to be faster in responding to the real world demands for relevant skills in communications or there will continue to be talent shortages.
And in conclusion my fellow Americans… the industry appears poised for another year of growth — you can hang the celebratory bunting now — fueled by client demands for social media support, better integration of marketing communications services, a growing economy and pent-up consumer and business demand. The primal scream for digital skills will be especially piercing and will be heard across all talent levels.