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2018 will be a ‘huge year for PR investment’ according to the Pearfinders Global Index

The future looks bright for PR in 2018 according to the latest Pearlfinders Index, which interviews marketing decision makers around the globe. Investment in communications is set to grow across the board, with potential for particularly rich pickings in the financial sector.

Anthony Cooper, managing director at business information and insight company Pearlfinders, says that 2018 feels like a “huge year for PR agencies”. He explains why: “The Index reveals that brands are increasing comms investment to improve everything from their messaging to female audiences (+33%) to authenticity (+28%), marcoms to younger HNWIs (+47%). Having successfully diversified into various aspects of content creation and social media consultancy, PR specialists now have an opportunity to reassert the value of some of their core services – reputation guardianship, strategic messaging and cultivating trust.“

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Looking at areas which offer greatest prospects for PR, Cooper highlights the financial sector: “From a new business perspective, I'd recommend allocating additional resources to the finance sector this year to capitalise on the huge challenges and opportunities presented by Open Banking and ongoing fintech innovation. The winners that emerge from this next mutation of the sector will not only need to be innovators, but also able to retain the trust of consumers as challengers large and small do their best to distract with shiny new products and competing narratives around topics such as data security.”

In conclusion, Cooper highlights how brands are increasingly aware of the power of their reputations, which means they are more reliant on their PR advisers than in the past: “Perhaps more than ever before, in 2018 marketers will be calculating the commercial implications of who and what they align their brands with and will be seeking confident independent counsel from trusted agency partners to pick the right path."

Top 10 sectors for planned marketing investment - Global (%)

The Pearlfinders Global Index selects which organisations to investigate by monitoring the media for a range of corporate activity that might influence marketing strategies. Those responsible for making decisions about the brand in question (around 10,000 per year) are interviewed. The research and analysis is impartial and free from any third-party influence or bias, reflecting the actual purchasing intentions of the brand at the time of interview. Each interview is “tagged” by a num­ber of criteria. The Pearlfinders Index is then formed from a statistical analysis of each dataset with commentary on the reasoning behind the conclusions drawn.

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