UK firms prioritising corporate purpose – New research from ICCO World PR Report

Public relations professionals in the UK are seeing greater attention to corporate purpose from agency heads, according to figures revealed in the International Communications Consultancy Organisation (ICCO) World PR Report.

The report – published in partnership with PRovoke and Opinium – delivers a robust snapshot of the global PR landscape, revealing the issues, trends, and opportunities for agencies across seven worldwide regions. This year, the survey included new questions to reflect the challenges of the pandemic, as well as increased focus on diversity and racial equity.
PR with purpose is becoming more than just a shallow catchphrase in the UK. When asked to express their levels of agreement with the statement ‘Companies are paying more attention to corporate purpose’, PR leaders revealed a 6.9 out of 10, with only North America ranking higher (7.1).
The report paints a picture of resilience but also one that suggest hard times are still ahead. Participants scored an average of 4.9 in terms of expecting an increase in agency profitability this year. Only North America and Eastern Europe performed better. Although UK leaders are less optimistic about the growth of the PR market (6.1) than its global counterparts (6.4).
The good news is that the UK is not short of talent (6.9), only rivalling with North America (6.9). But there’s evidently concerns about the UK industry’s ability to identify and source talent from outside the industry. In fact, the UK is the worst performed of its global counterparts, according to survey participants. UK scored 4.3 compared to the global average of 5.0. Further, PR leaders have expressed concern that the UK industry isn’t adapting to new technologies at an appropriate pace, reflected by the score of 5.3.
Other UK findings include:
– 61% of UK firms have formal mental health and wellbeing support (trailing Asia-Pacific and North America)
– Participants scored the UK a 2.8 in regards to the industry reflecting ethnicity demographics.
– 42% expect a drop of client income fees
– Only 10% UK firms use AVEs in measurement and evaluation, which is significantly less than rest of the world (46%) Commenting on the research of PRCA Director General Francis Ingham MPRCA said:
“We’ve seen tremendous resilience, determination, and significant learnings for the UK industry this year. Once again, the report reflects on the breadth of talent and the power of PR can have on British society. The pandemic has accelerated the focus on purpose, technology, and measurement/evaluation -all very welcomed. There is optimism that we can build back better in 2021 and beyond.
“But the year has also brought a sobering reality check on our collective pursuit to achieve more inclusive and fair workplaces. ICCO’s Global Report provides a timely opportunity to self-introspect and then act.”

The full report can be downloaded here.

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