Every year, the PRCA gathers tips from some of the UK PR industry's luminaries (forgive me, horrid term). Last week, it held an event to debate them, and invited me onto a panel to share my thoughts.
The list is an interesting one (some of them are great, some are bobbins - but that's always the way with long lists), but first we were asked about the one we thought was most pertinent to 2017.
I guess I feel most strongly about the opportunity for ‘PR automation’, but to highlight something that we’re investing heavily in this year seemed to be an abuse of stage position!
So for me it’s a two-way shoot-out between ‘Overseas budgets going further’ and ‘Filling the skills gap’.
The continuing devaluation of the pound utterly sucks when you visit other countries as a holiday-maker, but in my view the trend is very pertinent to 2017 and is good news for us - 65% of our clients are U.S. HQd. Budgets increased by almost a fifth in real terms immediately after Brexit – we encouraged some clients to park funds with us to take advantage.
The skills gap is a major trend – but I think it’s going to be as pertinent in 2017 as it was in 14, 15 and 16, and will be in 18, 19 and 20. The one major difference – and the reason why I think this is the most pertinent trend for 2017 – is the launch of the PRCA’s Continuous Professional Development scheme. It's very difficult to establish a ‘continually learning’ culture in a busy PR agency without micro-managing, and since launching the CPD internally earlier this month I’m already seeing people proactively developing their skills base – which is critical for agency differentiation.