Written by: Aaron Kwittken
Last week, I traveled to Milan, Italy to participate in the ICCO Global Summit to moderate a panel called, “The Talent Integration Game, Decoded.” ICCO is a gathering of some of the best and brightest in the global PR community so I was thrilled to take on the job – plus, how bad could a few days of work in Italy (and the inevitable extra pasta) be? The panel I moderated explored the implications on hiring talent for an industry that is shifting toward a more integrated and omni-channel approach. I was joined by Maxim Behar, CEO of M3 Communications Group, and Rachel Bell, CEO and founder of Shine Communications. In our discussion, we explored how the historical sentiment that PR agency talent should be “jacks of all trades” fits in with today’s omni-channel environment. Social strategy, community management, content creation, experiential and data analytics skills are all par for the course in today’s world of PR agencies. One of the major takeaways from the conversation came in the staunch agreement that PR agencies, globally, must start changing their internal culture to be more inclusive of specialist talents and non-traditional backgrounds. Agencies need to start integrating team members who understand a multi-disciplinary approach in order to form inter-disciplinary teams that are focused on building data-driven programs that are social and digital by design. There has been an increasing amount of comfort and credibility in the minds of CMOs, but we need to change the hearts and minds through procurement practices as well. Finally, we need to navigate meeting the “old-school” earned media needs of certain clients with the more “modern” demands of clients who favor an omni-channel approach and understand the value of a creating for them a broader message and brand awareness. The discussion was an important and timely one, held among influential peers in the industry and around the world by whom I was honored to be surrounded. I look forward to continuing to explore and embrace the changing agency landscape, as Kwittken continues to build our specialist talent practice areas to enhance our client offerings. And meanwhile, I will continue to decompress from over indulging in gelato.