Here’s an observation I want to throw out there. Myself and my peers are increasingly getting invites to events through our Facebook page from two Irish PR agencies. Creating an event page for an event that you’re running is a no brainer if it’s a free for all and to be honest more organisations should be doing this as its simple integrated communications.

A thought that ran through my mind though is that both agencies have strong relationships with a lot of people on their invite lists. It popped into my head that PR agencies could potentially win pitches in the future based on the perceived value of their network (and their ability to leverage that group) on the likes of social networks.

For example, if I’m an avid surfer and I’m well connected with this community online, then I am as a result in a better starting point to help you achieve your communications objectives if this is one of your target audiences. Sounds slightly silly, but considering agencies have won accounts on how well they are supposed to know a particular segment of the media, it doesn’t sound too far fetched.

So ultimately will PR agencies win new business based, not simply on their knowledge of communications techniques, but on how well connected they are with specific audiences?

Just to make it clear I’m not saying that all PR agencies need to be on Facebook, but I am putting the suggestion to field that PR agencies of the future will need to be and have to be able to deliver on those relationships in the future – the Internet could help them leverage their existing relationships on a bigger scale.

10 Responses to “The Future of PR – Who You Are Connected To?”  

  1. 1 Damien Mulley

    You’re on fire lately with insightful blog posts, nice one. It’s a very good observation I must say. One of those things I noticed but didn’t notice til you pointed it out, if you know what I mean.

    I wonder if the connections aspect though would take power from the agency and give more to the employees as Facebook (for example) doesn’t care who you work for. If you move, you’re still connected left right and centre. I’m sure the future-thinking PR companies are fine with that, maybe not so the traditional ones? (I don’t know, I’m thinking out loud here.) For example, do PR companies share their contact lists?

    Is a future PR company, a loose company that comprises of very talented people who are hyper-connected? Could you have PR coops instead? Are there any now actually?

  2. 2 Piaras

    PR companies wouldn’t traditionally share their contact lists, but I think you’re right about the focus shifting from the agency to the individual as we start to use different tools to connect with audiences. Even from my own perspective, I’ve found it interesting as I scan through people’s connections on LinkedIn while researching potential speakers for the Science Week Lecture Series this year. No PR coops now, but something which I could see eventually emerging due to societal changes and industry developments.

  3. 3 conor

    Nice post Piaras and particularly interesting to my blog.

    Hope to chat to you soon about it, maybe see you at the PR awards?

    Be good

  4. 4 Piaras

    Yeah should be at them on Thursday. Like the site, handy resource from a networking perspective. Another PR networking event on Friday in City Hall being run by irish Academy, nothing up on their site about it though

  5. 5 Tom

    Piaras, I’d imagine that accounts won on the basis of networks of people that one is a member would be, at the moment, be on a very small scale in budget terms. Of course, the value for the client on reaching such a well defined target audience is much greater than a wider, more expensive, PR campaign. I’m not sure if the market online in Ireland contains enough large niche markets to support a new business model but it’s an interesting idea.

    On a wider note, PR has always been about who you are connected to. Whether it’s access to the right people in the media, local and national government or any other relevant agencies, a large part of the value of the PR has been in the ability to leverage and maximise contacts on behalf of the client.

    Sure, Facebook etc., has the potential to let all people see who you are connected to, but until the day that senior reporters and editors all have a page or a blog, until senior politicians, civil servants and local politicians are all your online friends and until senior business people judge agency ability on how many friends an individual employee, then Facebook et al will not provide an accurate picture of the network that a PR agency has at its disposal. It’ll be a help, and may draw a companies attention to the an agency, but I don’t see it being a determinant factor for a number of years.

  6. 6 Piaras

    Long time, no comment Tom. Good to hear from you.

    Definitely agree with you on the time scale Tom. Think it’s more geared towards consumer accounts, seen a couple of launches being activated on Facebook in terms of getting a crowd there recently. We just did one for a book launch recently and all seems to have gone well (wasn’t involved myself.)

    On the corporate front, think personal relationships will always dominate. Perhaps not so much your network that would win pitches, but what you’re involved or active in to demonstrate those ties. One the media front, I wouldn’t entirely agree. Relationships with journalists are often overplayed IMO. As long as you have a good story and an understanding of what individual journalists are looking for, you should be able to place something. On the PA front like you say it has always been about connections.

  1. 1 Damien Mulley » Blog Archive » Is it the job of a PR company to make their clients more “connected”?
  2. 2» Blog Archive » Irish PR connectors
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  4. 4 Thoughts on Communications in Ireland » Blog Archive » What is your online reputation number?

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