ITL # 336 Peru: on the road to Public Relations maturity
The peruvian public relations sector is considerably smaller than many other South American markets, but the strong economic growth and professionalism are the firm foundations for future development. By Luis Avellaneda Ulloa.
Our country is no stranger to the global trend that indicates a preference for better quality information. The media, which in the 1990s was posed economic and social challenges, articulate and develop new variables that reconfigure its work: free access, and content availability.
Nowadays, if it is not accessible, the information does not exist! The life of traditional printed formats is being challenged.
The multiplicity of communication channels marks a need to find new ways of informing and influencing public opinion. Today, companies demand comprehensive services that can meet the information needs of their audiences. Here is where big communications companies can present competitive advantages and opportunities, in comparison to those that only offer a tool or those that do not have a great range of services.
Creating bonds of trust
Business life in our country has been plagued by the corruption of certain powerful groups. Many authors point out that personal and institutional corruption is a heavy chain that has dragged our country since independence almost 200 years ago.
Regrettably, this is a popular phenomenon in Latin America. The present context demands a better level of communications that raises the levels of transparency pertaining to business behavior beyond any doubt, regardless of sector and company size. The practice of communications requires forms that generate credibility to forge bonds of trust.
This requires us to have a new professionalization of communication. And we are on that road.
We can define three characteristics of Peruvian PR companies: 1) generalists with a lack of specialization in a traditional, inflexible praxis that does not risk niche work; 2) those focused on the incidence rather than on the process of building reputation, looking at the short term and oriented to effectiveness; and 3) those with the need for more and better talent, so that they can have professional development that raises knowledge and, from a communication point of view, adds value in the diverse areas of enterprise management.
I should emphasize that we are already living a transition from a traditional PR to a transformational one. That coexists with voracious technology that demands order. That seeks to manage changing environments and levels of uncertainty to maintain high levels of information on the behavior of what happens today and what could happen tomorrow. It demands better qualitative work that gives meaning to the analytical metrics provided by Information Technologies and social networks.
The challenge of centralist development.
Lima concentrates and manages almost 60% of the country’s economy. The Peruvian centralist management represents a difference within the spectrum of Latin America since this is a unique case and it is worth analyzing.
It is a pending agenda that requires greater attention and dynamism in the development of the economies of the companies in the country. This will lead to the development of better communications offers for regional products and services, giving exposure to their value proposition. We will see the deployment of more efficient and better balanced PR strategies that will support the continuing decentralization processes in Peru.
Peru is a very young country, with 45% of the population between 13 and 39 years old. This panorama shows real opportunities that could contribute to the maturity of the communications sector.
Perú es un país muy joven, con un 45% de la población entre 13 y 39 años. Este panorama muestra oportunidades reales que podrían contribuir a la madurez del sector de las comunicaciones.
Media ownership concentration.
Media is concentrated in the hands of a few business groups. The Comercio El Grupo holds almost 80% of the country’s total written press, maintains participation in the main open television channels, and in the main cable news channel.
In that sense, the three media companies that together dominate 84% of the Peruvian market are El Comercio Group, ATV and Latina. The first has more than 60% of the estimated revenue from the media market according to the Public Eye Observatory. This is a situation mirrored in different countries of Latin America. The challenge of objectivity, transparency, and an impact on public opinion are practices that deserve to be better exercised, despite professional journalistic independence.
The DIRCOM role, the Board of Directors, the value of reputation are professional dimensions of PR where initial changes have been generated, both in the offer of services of communication companies and in the way Peruvian organizations think. Nonetheless, the ethical and corruption problems that our country still faces have a long way to go in judicial processes and judgments, as well as a series of revelations and findings that are about to come.
Efficient results for communication companies should be based on the following plans: A) a comprehensive offer based on market demand and communication needs; B) generation of content as a genuine mechanism to innovate information that gives value to public opinion; C) full transparency in their ethical behavior both in their being and in their doing.
The path of maturity is inevitable. According to diverse sources, PR companies collectively did not reach billings of US $70 million 2018. And the leading 15 communication agencies must account for 50% of this amount, in a market that does not extend to 50 formal companies.
The difference is notorious when compared to the offer of similar companies in Chile, Mexico, Colombia or Brazil. Clearly, we still have a long way to go and much to build.
Luis Avellaneda Ulloa has been Managing Director of Realidades S.A.C. since 2003 and has over 25 years’ experience in the communications sector nationally and internationally. A professor in various postgraduate programs at the Universidad de Piura, he has been a consultant for the Pan American Health Organization, UNESCO, the Andean Community, the World Tourism Organization, USAID-PRODES, among other institutions. Luis is a Member of the Board of Worldcom Public Relations Group, representing Latin America.