A piece of great PR for the PR industry

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As Bournemouth University holds its first international conference on the history of PR, can we finally say that the PR industry is shaking off its fluffy, ‘Ab Fab’ image and being taken more seriously?

As a small cog in the wheel of a truly professional agency, I think it’s great that PR is being recognised as a valuable investment to businesses and an exciting sector to work in. So much so, there are now 262 public relations degree courses on offer to this year’s influx of university applicants.

Conference organiser Tom Watson says the subject is a “healthy youngster with plenty of potential for growth”; a fair statement considering the success of PR as a sector. According to the Chartered Institute of Public Relations, the industry has an impressive turnover of £6.5bn and employs 48,000 people in the UK.

A survey earlier this month by Reed.co.uk revealed that as every other job market slumps, job opportunities in PR and marketing are actually on the increase. Hopefully this shows that businesses are viewing PR as a necessity that significantly boosts revenue, rather than as a luxury.

In our modern world of choice, the reputation of a company is everything. It’s the difference between consumers taking your product off the shelf and not that of your competitors. Thanks to the internet – a place where it’s easy to be anonymous and it is difficult to censor – one miniscule blunder from a company can spread like wildfire, potentially causing irreparable damage to a business.

In a matter of hours a household name can become a worldwide shame. You only have to look at Nestlé, Toyota and Tiger Woods to see the damage bad publicity can cause.

As more and more businesses realise the benefit of having a razor-sharp team of PR consultants behind them, the industry can only continue to thrive.