10 Global Public Relations Trends: Why Local Public Relations Executives Should Care

Aaron Blank / November 12, 2015

The Public Relations Global Network (PRGN) recently met in Dubai, where nearly 30 agencies from the network attended the PRGN twice-yearly international conference. More than 15 countries and seven states in the U.S. were represented. While many of our PRGN members questioned the visit to Dubai, what we realized on the ground is that Dubai is certainly quite safe and is becoming a global player. It is extremely modernized. And it gave us the opportunity to compare notes about the state of public relations with totally fresh eyes. There’s nothing like being in a very-foreign-to-you country to enhance your perspective.

Here are the top 10 trends that we identified in the global communications marketplace:

  1. Visual communications is almost as common as written content. More agencies are becoming full-service boutique firms and have added new communications resources to accommodate the growing needs of clients, such as video, photography, design, web, and SEO.
  2. PR partners are sharing clients. As technology grows, and it is becoming that much easier to do business in multiple cities throughout the world, more firms are continuing to partner in various cities, making the localization of PR (and the PRGN concept) a true competitive advantage in business.
  3. In-person meetings are important. Meeting in Dubai re-affirmed this for us at PRGN – there’s nothing like sitting down together to not only conduct business, but to get to know each other on a deeper level that helps to inform the discussion. We left feeling smarter, more connected and even more ready to tackle global business together.
  4. Finding good talent at the junior level is a challenge. Most firms who are hiring are having a hard time finding professionals with two to four years of public relations experience. Anyone searching for a job in any of PRGN’s markets should reach out to PRGN’s leadership via social media channels such as Twitter.
  5. Emerging markets: There are a number of key emerging markets around the world, like Cape Town, South Africa, where PRGN’s local knowledge sets it apart. We have the ability to leverage global resources on a moment’s notice.
  6. 24-hour coverage is a growing opportunity. Given PRGN’s worldwide reach, when one agency is asleep during the night, another agency on the opposite end of the world is working away. In an age where a global company may need 24-hour support, the PRGN 24/7 operations is an opportunity for companies who have 24/7 communication needs.
  7. Global economy is stretched thin. The world’s economy is suffering in some places but not everywhere. While the U.S. economy remains strong, the impact of Syria’s refugees on European countries is making it extremely challenging for Europe. For example, Hungary recently posted a fence around its borders. Austria ships refugees to Germany. And Germany welcomes 10,000 refugees a day. Regardless of the economy, most PRGN firms are optimistic about a good end to 2015, and a strong opening in 2016.
  8. Dubai is doing its best to become a global mecca. Dubai’s leadership is working hard to invest in the future. With cranes and new construction everywhere, Ferraris as police vehicles and a rapidly increasing tourism industry, doing business within Dubai is something all businesses should consider.
  9. Enjoying each other is a priority. PRGN is together twice a year in various cities around the globe. The time we spend together is essential to the real-life working scenario – it fosters good business acumen, team sharing and client success stories. ROI is important, but getting there together is even more important.
  10. Local relationships are key: Personal relationships remain a pivotal component of media, social and business relations in each market. The PRGN’s local presence remains a key resource that we deliver to clients who need to reach target audiences around the world.
PRGN leaders Michael Diegelmann (Cometis/Germany), Aaron Blank (Seattle, Wash., USA, The Fearey Group), Owen Cullen (Ireland), Gabor Jelinek, (Hungary/Goodwill Communications), Henryk Deter (Comets/Germany)
After touring the desert, PRGN leaders take off for a photo. From Left to Right: Michael Diegelmann (Cometis/Germany), Aaron Blank (The Fearey Group/Seattle, Wash., USA), Owen Cullen (Cullen Communications/Ireland), Gabor Jelinek, (Goodwill Communications/Hungary), Henryk Deter (Cometis/Germany)
Aaron Blank, Puget Sound Business Journal's 40 under 40 recipient - 2015

Aaron Blank

President and CEO

Aaron has been engaged in the conversation since the late 1990s, where he discovered his love of media while working at local radio stations. After five years as a radio reporter, anchor, producer and promoter in New York and Connecticut, he and his wife, Lacey, ventured west to begin his career in PR. Soon he caught the attention of industry legend Pat Fearey and the rest is history. Two decades later, as President and CEO of The Fearey Group, Aaron leads with tireless enthusiasm and contagious drive. He takes his breakfast at 4:30 AM and never eats lunch alone. You can find him working to connect the next business with tomorrow’s leader.

Personal philosophy: do something amazing every day!