The age of the ‘PR passivity’ is over; firms need to be constantly vigilant on behalf of their clients and poised to action their insights increasingly in real time.
We believe that a PR firm’s primary responsibility – particularly in an international context – is to deliver actionable insight from its market(s). What do developments mean for the brand, do they represent a risk or an opportunity, how can they be mitigated or exploited?
Our experience confirms that brands are increasingly dependent on local sentiment, awareness and reputation; none of these qualities are predictable or, even, entirely rational. The PR firm’s role should be to ‘decrypt’ these shifts and – not merely propose a course of action – but, wherever possible, initiate steps towards the same.
The reality is that most in-house environments have become so intense that they are becoming increasingly dependent on agencies’ to decrypt and interpret the World for them. Such an environment is hardly conducive to ‘outside in’ thinking, putting the World first and assessing its potential impact on the brand. The potential threat or opportunity of a new consumer trend is always going to be subordinate to an incorrect Pantone colour or an oversized logo (real corporate concerns, for many in-house teams, I assure you) when it comes to people’s attention.
What is it with velvet ?
This is why agencies’ are (or should be) so crucial to corporates; what does the Fidget Spinner craze reveal about people’s desire for physical experiences? Is the current celebrity obsession with ripped jeans a retro reference to the ‘80s, or an ironic take on modernity? What is it with velvet? Is there a type of Game-of-Thrones effect, or are we really searching for Camelot in the high street? And the B2B world is no exception; first, it was ‘Software-as-Service’, then ‘On-demand’, and now ‘Cloud’. What do these corporate catchphrases mean, particularly those which have become mainstream? Do they signify threats or opportunities, to brand? How should they react? Should they associate with the same? What is it with velvet . . . ?
agencies’ vital role
Agencies’ can and should provide a vital role in observing the world so that they can help clients interpret it on a daily basis. And this means actually living in the aforementioned world; reading books, watching movies, visiting restaurants, experiencing new trends, absorbing the media (yes, beyond clippings reports!), and participating in social media.
This role is one of the most vital an agency can play for a client; but all too often it is neglected and services are limited to responding client requests or briefs.