One of the great things about involvement in the ICCO community is the opportunity to indulge in curiosity about what’s going on in the wacky world of PR agencies and communications consultancies./ With any luck and just a sliver of interest from you, this may become a semi-weekly feature on the ICCO blog, featuring news and trends that strike me as interesting and potentially relevant for the member associations of ICCO and their respective agency members around the world.
So what in the world are agencies doing this week?
1. They're collaborating. Canadian-based smartphone manufacturer BlackBerry announced that they've handed their global PR brand brief to a combined team of APCO and Text 100. While it’s not unprecedented for agencies to combine forces to better serve clients, it’s not often that two from separate groups can set aside differences to match expertise with opportunity.
For what it’s worth, I think that the agencies and networks that can make themselves agile and versatile enough to morph into new shapes to match client needs are going to be a step ahead of those who cannot or will not.
2. They're reinventing themselves. FleishmanHillard announced a rebrand and expansion of its offer to become a fully-integrated communications offer. The new branding features the tagline “The Power of True” and will incorporate a suite of earned, shared and paid media services.
It’s early days for the FleishmanHillard reinvention, but I think we'll see more agencies – event giant networks like FH – recast themselves to be more competitive in a world where traditional boundaries between disciplines are quickly fading.
3. They're focusing on ‘makeable ideas’. Ok, the article below is in reference to ad agencies, but that doesn’t make the concept of makeable ideas off-limits to us in the PR world – especially those who’ve already re-invented themselves (see above)!
What’s a makeable idea? According to the author, “[Account planners] should guide the creative towards ideas that can be downloaded, worn, played, customized, broken into constituent parts, crowdfunded, gamified, or otherwise hacked. When you start thinking that way you are starting to create a “makeable idea.”
I particularly like one part of the process he suggests – focusing on platforms, rather than campaigns. The more we look at our work as an ongoing opportunity to interact with audiences rather than a set-piece of broadcasting with a beginning, middle and end, the more effective our work is like to believe.
4. They're daring to look for bold ways to be good – including being bad. I was with Ketchum colleagues from the around the world at a planning retreat in Geneva where Harvard Business School guru Frances Frei entreated us to find a few a few things to be bad at./ Not for the sake of disappointment, but to free resources and focus to be truly good at the things our clients care about most. I’m not saying whether we agreed, but it’s an interesting exercise to test assumptions about client service and an agency’s strategy to deliver.
What else are agencies doing? We'd love to share …