The hottest sectors for PR across the globe

If you are looking for the next big spenders on PR, it is a good idea to look east, according to findings from Business information company Pearlfinders. The Pearlfinders Index aggregates opinion from interviews held with communications directors across the UK, US and Asia throughout 2013, and highlights which sectors are looking to spend the most on PR.

Global PR by sector:

On the domestic front, Anthony Cooper, managing director of Pearlfinders, says that in the UK the FMCG food sector is the most consistent in terms of ongoing and planned-for investment in PR activity. Cooper adds: “there are pockets of significant opportunity for agencies, as communications decision makers seek to drive impulse purchases by re-establishing their brands’ personalities rather than simply pushing price promotions.”

As well as consumer-goods businesses, agencies seeking new clients should concentrate on the apparel industry, as Cooper points out that both are showing a 5 per cent increase in investment compared to 2012.

Describing what is happening in the US, Cooper says: “Retail and entertainment brands are the most committed to reputation building, while the casual-dining sector is the one with the greatest number of projects based around implementation, as brands seek assistance with the ‘heavy lifting’ in terms of online PR and social media."

Cooper says that the West has a different attitude towards marketing from Asia, where there are clearly certain sectors that are more comfortable using PR and social to communicate with stakeholders. He says: “The apparel, food and leisure industries are the most obvious areas for B2C specialists to focus on, but the business ambitions driving PR investments are varied. Domestic communications programmes continue to be channelled online, however for brands seeking international exposure there remains a need for specialist shops within different territories.”

Global demand for marketing services:

Looking at China specifically, as Chinese brands across the industrial/manufacturing sector look to strengthen their international reputations, they are beginning to outspend their western counterparts on corporate PR. Cooper points out that here there is a shift towards quality and brand building as opposed to historical price and volume messaging, with an accompanying increase in demand for international agencies to support these efforts. “While linguistic and cultural differences naturally pose obstacles here, agencies with a global vision and a bit of tenacity should not hesitate to put themselves in the frame.”

“We’re seeing a similar trend across the financial services, automotive and travel sectors. Global comms expertise is central to a burgeoning number of brands across Asia looking to strengthen their top-level reputations, although PR is yet to establish itself as a favoured marcoms channel for influencing domestic audiences.”


Pearlfinders speaks to more than 6,000 PR decision-makers each year across Europe, Asia and the US, spanning all industries to uncover areas of opportunity for every marketing services discipline. The Pearlfinders Index collects and analyses data from these interviews, allowing it to monitor key characteristics of the marketing services sector.

From each interview, Pearlfinders is able to record which agency disciplines are currently being reviewed, scheduled or seeing increased investment. From the 3,150 conversations with marketing and PR decision-makers in Q3, 2013, 548 were considering their consumer PR arrangements (17.5%).

Creative Moment Awards 2020