It’s been a stormy few years for agencies with huge waves of change sending many companies into the rocks. It’s not going to be smooth sailing anytime soon, but this period of rapid change and reinvention also creates opportunities for agencies that are nimble, innovative and willing to continually dream up new ways of getting results and keeping their clients happy.
The constantly shifting media environment and the rise of smart online solutions means agencies can no longer simply offer a standard media relations package and expect to thrive.
Good agencies have always known each client needs slightly different care and attention, but the hyper-personalisation possible with today’s technologies and the ever-competitive agency arena means PRs need to be constantly re-imagining how to serve their clients. This covers everything from fresh proposals and smarter campaigns to customised fees, rates and retainers.
Creativity and commitment have always been essential for top-performing agencies. But they’re even more important now because you need to hang onto clients in these choppy times. And win new ones. We’re lucky at Flaunter to get to work with many of Australia’s most innovative agencies, both large and small. This means we’ve noticed a few traits agencies will need to survive and thrive…
CONTENT MAY BE KING, BUT PERSONALISATION IS THE CROWN PRINCE
The first we’ve already hinted at: deep personalisation is going to become the norm, rather than an add-on option for top or new clients. As a PR, you already know that the best coverage comes from carefully targeting your pitch to each individual journalist or influencer. Sure, an email blast can get results, but a handful of stories written by journalists genuinely excited about the pitch you’ve crafted for just them to tell is far more likely to turn into the kind of stories your beaming clients will mention and treasure for years.
The same careful, painstaking tailoring of your offering will be required for each and every client. Fortunately, agencies have never had better tools to efficiently manage their work – think Slack for team communications, Flaunter for ensuring images and products get in front of the best targets and CoverageBook for tracking performance and creating reports.
EMBRACING YOUR AGENCY’S FULL POTENTIAL
Personalisation isn’t just about acing client management. It is as fundamental as what services you offer a client. A prestige brand and a high-growth scrappy startup want very different things from their agency, which has a whole range of platforms to use to deliver value.
The most successful agencies in the future will be those who deeply understand exactly what their client wants, what’s possible and know how to deliver that while building trust with their client by letting know which channels and services are worth investing in, and which aren’t.
The options keep expanding with agencies now able to offer media relations and outreach, strategic positioning consultation, community relations, community building and social media management, crisis management, content services, stakeholder advisory and internal comms, as well as integrated marketing services. By offering targeted sets of service, agencies will hold onto clients better and for longer because you’ll be hitting exactly the targets that matter to them.
GETTING TO THE HEART OF CLIENT NEEDS
Every PR with a few years under their belt knows what a client wants and what a client actually needs are often slightly different (and occasionally, so wildly different need so much tact you flirt with the idea of going into international diplomatic relations!).
The most exciting agencies right now are those who understand the heart of personalisation is in the buzzword’s first two syllables: person. Understanding your clients as humans and working to directly connect with their emotions will be critical to winning and holding onto them.
That prestige brand? They don’t just want to drive sales from their competitors to their products or services. They also need to know they are still relevant, and that their high-quality output has a long-term future.
That scrappy startup? They need lots of coverage to demonstrate momentum to lure customers, employees and investors, but they also need to stay true to their values as they grow.
Each client is going to have different press and emotional needs. Delivering results that achieve clients goals is essential, but understanding and meeting the human needs that accompany goals is how you deliver exceptional service, and get to enjoy the loyalty and success that comes from that – no matter how much the agency industry changes.
Want to take your agency to the next level? Learn the secrets of why great company culture is the key agency success. Better yet, read all about how one of Australia’s leading PR agencies is using Flaunter to kick some serious goals!
Banner: Personalisation is key – The Fairfax Journal