In 2006, Ketchum partnered with the University of Southern California Annenberg Strategic Public Relations Center to launch a survey on media usage. That first survey gave us a wealth of data about the ways consumers and communicators use information sources, ranging from newspapers delivered to their front doors to co-workers down the hall. With that data as a benchmark, we recently completed the 2007 media usage survey and now have even greater insights into where consumers turn for news, advice and other information.

We’ve titled the 2007 survey Media Myths and Realities: A Public of One because many of the findings point to the increasing role of individuals in communications. Consumers have access to more and more media sources, and they are connecting with the ones that are personally relevant to them. They also are directly participating in media as they use blogs and social networking sites to share their own views on everything from popular products to politics. The “public of one” theme also underscores a key finding that U.S. consumers have grown more skeptical of all media sources over the past year. With so many choices available to them, consumers are no longer relying on one or two sources as the final word. And the multiple sources they turn to undoubtedly reflect their own personal interests and concerns. That makes it especially important for communicators to understand how individuals from different regions of the world and various demographic groups view media outlets today. Knowing this information ultimately will help communicators reach individuals through the channels that matter most to them.

In addition to the “public of one” theme, the survey results show that professional communicators are out of sync with the way consumers use media. The articles in this issue of Perspectives outline the key findings, offer suggestions to help communicators get back on track, and discuss other implications for the role of communications. Suggestions and advice from Ketchum professionals also are summarized in a separate article titled “Key Takeaways for Communicators.”

We also expanded the 2007 survey to include consumers in Brazil, Russia, India and China (BRIC)—four countries that are growing in importance to our clients no matter where they are based. Findings from BRIC consumers reveal great potential for public relations in those markets, and our roundtable discussion features insights from Ketchum and other communications professionals who live and work in those countries.

We hope you enjoy this special issue of Perspectives. As always, I welcome feedback. Please e-mail me at

Ray Kotcher
Senior Partner and Chief Executive Officer