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Archives: April 2010

USC’s PR Industry Study: Recession Was Not Crushing, Expect Modest Increase for 2010


After the financial meltdown in late 2008 hit, we heard a lot of survival stories from agency heads, ranging from “down 40%,” “took care of redundancy,” “we kept our clients by reducing retainers,” to “we’re not firing anyone”.

“Flat is the new up” was the cliche and the goal.

In Part One of USC Annenberg Strategic Communication and Public Relations Center (SCPRC) Professor Jerry Swerling‘s latest Public Relations Generally Accepted Practices (GAP) Study released this week, it appears 2009 wasn’t as bad as once thought, and that 2010 will end up ok.

GAP VI” found that 42.5% of respondents reported a decrease in PR budgets, averaging 5.3 less money than the year before. While 28.8% expect increases this year, the average amount is just 1.56%, signaling widespread caution. According to Swerling, the industry should be happy that there will be increases at all, and that “from a historical perspective, it appears that we have weathered the recession far better than previous recessions.”

While not apocalyptic, GAP VI reveals the hurt on agencies. The ratio of revenue to PR spend remained nearly the same from 2007 to 2009 (.07 to .08%), and internal staff actually increased at 61.6% of companies surveyed. However, the percentage of the budget on outside agencies dropped from 30% to 20%.

The SCPRC’s Economic Impact Survey press release and findings presentation can be found here.

Mediabistro Course

Mediabistro Job Fair

Mediabistro Job FairLand your next big gig! Join us on January 27 at the Altman Building in New York City for an incredible opportunity to meet with hiring managers from the top New York media companies, network with other professionals and industry leaders, and land your next job. Register now!

Learn Crisis Comm In One Day

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Not getting invited to those closed door meetings when the sh*% hits the fan with a client? Having trouble keeping your cool when the press is on your back? Not sure how to respond to a crisis?

Sign up for mediabistro’s intensive one day course on May 6th to get the skinny from a guy whose job it is to give you a hard time. Emmy-nominated investigative producer Mark Macias will reveal the “overt and covert” of crisis communications, and teach you how to carve out your position, handle tough questions, when to respond and when to shut up, and how to deal with on-camera interviews.

Macias is a veteran of NBC, CBS, American Journal, and Inside Edition and is the author of Beat the Press: Your Guide to Managing the Media.

Clean Up That Resume


Time Out New York (TONY) seeks a Social Media and Marketing person

SKDKnickerbocker is looking for a Junior Account Exec with 1-2 years experience

A Communications and Media Specialist is needed at the Georgetown University Hospital, stat

Share Our Strength, the national organization working to make sure no child in America grows up hungry is looking for a Director of Communications to lead a team of eight

TravCorp USA is hiring a PR Writer in sunny Anaheim, CA

Edelman Upgrades Rick Murray to Chicago President


Edelman’s head of digital Rick Murray is moving up to President of the firm’s 500-person Chicago office, according to an announcement.

Murray succeeds Janet Cabot and Mark Shadle who served as co-presidents since 2008. Cabot will move over to head of Edelman’s U.S. food and nutrition practice, while Shadle will head up corporate affairs for sister agency Zeno Group.

The appointment of a new global digital practice leader is expected soon. In the meantime, it’s in the hands of preseident and COO Nancy Ruscheinski.

RELATED: Interview: Rick Murray and David Armano, Edelman Digital

The Ticker: Socnet impact on btob; BP’s image; Gordon’s gaffe; VentureBeat

IPG Q1: PR Revenues Up 6.5%


The Interpublic Group of Companies Inc. (IPG) reported first quarter results today. The holding company is still losing money — $64.6 million in Q1 — albeit slightly less than they lost last time this year — $67 million. Q1 2010 revenue was $1.34 billion, compared to $1.33 billion in Q1 of 2009.

IPG’s Constituency Management Group (CMG), which houses Golin Harris, MWW Group and Weber Shandwick, had revenues of $221.8 million, a 5.4% increase from Q1 2009.

Specifically, revenue from PR holdings within CMG were up about 6.4%, Weber Shandwick and CMG CEO Harris Diamond told PRNewser in a phone interview today.

“We have clearly seen in the first quarter a pick-up, specifically here in the U.S. Frankly, Europe is still a problem. Asia is stable. In the U.S., it was a very good quarter,” he said.

Diamond said the greatest growth came from existing clients. “It wasn’t like any one client single-handedly drove business. We saw clients expanding their relationships with us.”

The CMG Group saw a 6.5% revenue decline in Q1 2009, compared to a 14% decline in Q3 2009.

Interview: Jaime Punishill, Director, Digital Channel Strategy & Social Media, Citibank

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Do you think it’s hard to roll out social media policy and strategy to fifty employees? How about 270,000?

Jaime Punishill, Director, Digital Channel Strategy & Social Media, Citibank is part of a team doing just that. “I have a small team of five, and we’re augmenting that with folks who have the most experience,” Punishill told PRNewser today.

In this interview, Punishill reveals who Citibank has been partnering with when it comes to social and digital strategy, and what he thinks the biggest misconception about social media is.

Namely, that it’s not free. “There is nothing free about this,” he said.

PRNewser: Tell us a little bit about your background.

I’ve been in digital since 1997. I built the first online brokerage for Bank of America. The last 13 years, I’ve been living at the epicenter of the digital revolution. When Citi re-organized last summer, which is when the team I was on was established, we began developing a centralized mobile and internet strategy across North America. It’s a very natural fit for what I’ve been doing.

Read more

dna13 Acquired By CNW Group

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Exclusive: Reputation management and media monitoring company has been acquired by Canada Newswire.

The acquisition is not a complete surprise, as over the last five years CNW has been a key collaborator on the dna13 PR software platform, which they market and sell in Canada under the brand name MediaVantage.

“The integration of dna13 into CNW completely changes the basic concept of a newswire,” said CNW CEO Carolyn McGill-Davidson.

A dna13 spokesperson tells PRNewser, “Negotiations on this acquisition project began in earnest about 3 months ago.”

This acquisition will not affect the partnership between dna13 and Thomson Reuters in the U.S. market. dna13 announced the partnership in November 2009, in which dna13 became a part of Thomson Reuter’s PR software offerings.

CNW is co-owned by PR Newswire, and PRN CEO Ninan Chacko is on CNW’s Board. dna13 clients include Royal Bank of Scotland, Wachovia and the Miami Heat basketball team.

FTC: We’re Not Fining Ann Taylor Because Their Social Media Efforts Were A Failure

FTC – Ann Taylor

In recent weeks, PRNewser had heard about the FTC potentially investigating brands for violating their recently revised, “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

The guidelines read in part, “bloggers who make an endorsement must disclose the material connections they share with the seller of the product or service.”

The FTC told PRNewser in late March that they there have not been any cases brought for failure to disclose. However, the agency recently announced that it looked into a promotion from retailer Anne Taylor for a program that offered bloggers gift cards in exchange for covering an event.

What is interesting is that the FTC decided to close the case against Ann Taylor in part because the program was not a success.

In a letter to Kenneth A. Plevan, Esq., Counsel for AnnTaylor Stores Corporation, FTC associate director-advertising practices Mary K. Engle said:

Upon careful review of this matter, we have determined not to recommend enforcement action at this time. We considered a number of factors in reaching this decision. First, according to LOFT, the January 26,2010 preview was the first (and, to date, only) such preview event. Second, only a very small number of bloggers posted content about the preview, and several of those bloggers disclosed that LOFT had provided them gifts at the preview.

Tom Chernaik, Principal at Digital Communications Group, which has developed a service called to help brands and bloggers disclose endorsements online, told PRNewser, “It should be made clear that the gifts were valued between $50 to $500 and the FTC has made it clear that there is no minimum threshold to the value of a gift or payment.”

“This announcement confirms that material connections must be disclosed and that compliance and monitoring are not optional,” he said.

An FTC spokesperson again declined to comment on any additional pending investigations.

RELATED: Harvard Law Review: FTC Blogger Guidelines ‘Unconstitutional’

The Ticker: Sandra Bullock; Outsourced journalism; HuffPo’s badges; Facebook’s plug-ins