Holmes Report Creativity in PR Global Study – Covid Edition 2021


We wanted to know how the public relations industry was approaching creativity and whether the industry was set fair to tackle client demands and needs in a fast-changing environment.

Our findings since that first year have shown a significant gap between rhetoric and reality, between an industry that often talks about creativity, but has found it more difficult to ensure that it is paying more than lip service to the notion.

We started the study in 2012. I had left agency life after 20 years and after studying for my MSc in creativity, innovation and leadership was interested to try and initiate some research into creativity in PR industry, it’s practices, the attitude and confidence of practitioners. I teamed up with the Holmes Report to co-author the study.

Holmes Report Creativity in PR Global Study – Covid Edition 2021

This year we’ve decided to explore how Covid 19 is impacting our collective creative output and idea generation, and how agencies and in-house PR teams are navigating the pandemic. You can take part in our study here.

In 2017, I presented a summary of the findings to academics at the Euprera 2017 Congress. The slides are available below.

The background to the decision to kick off our survey back in 2012 was a decade that had steadily changed the face of day-to-day PR work. Aided and abetted by a multitude of then-new tools and the advent of social media – the PR practitioner of 2012 was quite a different PR to that of 2002, and virtually unrecognisable from a decade earlier, whose toolkit now seems quite comparatively very bare.

Since our first Holmes Report Creativity in PR study, several thousand respondents from all over the world have given us an annual snapshot of the state of creativity within the industry. Some things have changed and creativity is a fundamental element of day to day PR life, including in sectors like corporate PR. Great ideas, it seems, are simply becoming part of an expected norm.

How this will play out long-term remains to be seen: will a generation of newcomers be drawn to the industry because they feel it is the perfect place to learn about innovation and flex their creative clout? Or will it send big-thinkers to other creative industries where they expect their ideas will come with a louder ker-ching, more awards and a bit more kudos and perhaps putting creative thinking to some greater (and social) good?

As creativity increasingly becomes part of the PR industry’s genetic make-up, we certainly see that creative confidence is rising. PRs are feeling more and more capable when it comes to generating big ideas – indeed 73 per cent of clients say they are more likely to approach their agency for a big creative idea than they were a year ago. Alongside this, knowledge of creative processes is steadily improving and agencies are ever more skilled at taking a campaign from insight to ideation to testing and implementation. As a result, perhaps, two-thirds of clients polled this year said they were optimistic that their PR agencies will deliver in terms of innovation over the next five years.

The summary of the 2017 edition of the study is available below.


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