3 PR M&A Trends to Watch in 2018

It’s just a few weeks into the new year, but the media M&A field is starting to percolate already. There were two deals in early January alone. Highwire PR, one of the fastest growing tech independent firms, acquired  Inner Circle Labs and merged the two San Francisco-based agencies, while the Association of National Advertisers (ANA)…
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PR Profession Rides Some Rough Waves 

It’s not a pretty picture for the PR industry. Among a wide swath of firms, growth is down and profitability is flat.  Adding insult to injury, PR  firm owners are failing to boost their billing rates in order to compensate for increases in salaries and other expenses. Whether it’s the large holding companies or smaller…
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What Millennials Want From Non-Millennials—And Vice Versa

Madison Avenue’s fixation on youth is an old story.  It’s been the default position among brand managers for decades: Older consumers are set in their ways and couldn’t possibly be persuaded to try (and buy) new products, so better to cater entirely to younger consumers. However, a new survey splashes cold water on the theory,…
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The PR Trifecta: Growth, Profitability and Billing Rates Stalling 

In light of this solar eclipse this week, the constellations have started to align for the PR industry. But it’s not a pretty picture, with all the major financial indices down and little sign that the industry has started to make headways in order to reverse the declines. Just check out the tale of the…
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Agency M&A: Big Decision, Vital Questions

I had the privilege of speaking at the Public Relations Global Network‘s (PRGN) annual conference, which took place in Dallas, in late April. The presentation, titled “Agency Mergers and Acquisitions: What Works, What Doesn’t,” was well-received among the PR firm owners and C-level communications executives attending. During my presentation and afterward—when I had the opportunity…
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How to Integrate the Seller With the Buyer, Post-Sale

I am often asked why some mergers and/or acquisitions don’t go the way a buyer and/or seller originally thought. There are multiple reasons why a transaction may go awry, of course. For instance, the seller may have a different corporate philosophy from the buyer. Or there may be friction between the two sides regarding how…
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Valuing Your PR Firm ‘As If’ It Were Your Home

Your home has been good to you. You have invested a chunk of money into sprucing it up throughout the years and the work has paid off nicely. You are ready to sell. As you brace for a sale you remember that tiny crack in the wall near your bedroom and some chips scattering the…
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PR in the Not-Too-Distant Future

For agency owners and C-suite executives for creative services firms, it’s the best of times and the worst of times (apologies to Mr. Dickens). PR executives from both the agency and client sides are optimistic about the industry’s future and believe that within the next five years they’ll be expected to deliver more strategic communications,…
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Don’t Dress Up Your PR Firm

It’s an occupational hazard among too many PR firms: trying to shoehorn marginal agency experience into an RFP response. When the odds are naturally against your firm winning a client pitch, it’s more important to be selective and focus on your core strengths than it is to position your agency as something it’s not. When…
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3 Tips for Hiring Outside the PR Field

Hiring outside of the traditional public relations industry has proven to be an effective strategy for tapping into new business and energizing our agency’s team. In the last several years we have recruited executives from the political, investment and real estate sectors which, in turn, has helped to triple our agency revenue since 2010. To…
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Benchmarking Report Shows Firm Profitability Declining 

We’ve just released our latest industry benchmarking study, and the overall results aren’t very pretty. Most troubling: The industry’s overall profitability keeps falling, down to 15.3 percent in 2015, compared with 16.2 percent in 2014 and 15.8 percent in 2013. It was 18.8 percent in 2012. The results are based on 106 firms reporting their…
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INFOGRAPHIC: How to Get a Better Handle on Social Media Management

For PR agency owners who don’t lose sleep because of the accelerating and growing impact of social media, they may need to pay closer attention. For many of their clients, regardless of the business sector, social media is creeping toward the core of their PR and marketing efforts (if it’s not there already). Social media…
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