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)…
KEEP READING

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…
KEEP READING

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…
KEEP READING

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…
KEEP READING

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,…
KEEP READING

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…
KEEP READING

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…
KEEP READING

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…
KEEP READING

A Matter of Trust: Listen More Than You Talk

In the PR field, trust is the coin of the realm. If agencies don’t garner trust from the very start of the relationship with a prospect, well, there may be no relationship altogether. Trust must be a given from both sides of the table. However, agency owners and senior PR managers also have to cultivate…
KEEP READING

Mitigate the Drama and Put Your Agency on an Even Keel

When clients freak out, PR pros have to keep their cool. It’s one of the most important attributes that successful PR execs bring to the table. They have to be the voice of reason. They have to reduce the client’s drama and put things back on an even keel. But when PR managers get back…
KEEP READING

The Evolving Relationship Between Public Relations and SEO

Marketers have long used search engine optimization (SEO) as a standard tactic to boost client and brand visibility in organic web searches in an effort to increase awareness among consumers and drive traffic to their websites. While the use of SEO as part of an overall communications strategy is well established, the influential role PR…
KEEP READING