PR has always been a service-oriented industry where building relations with both the client and media through face to face meetings has been an integral factor for the success of an agency. As a dynamic, people-oriented sector, PR has always been leading change, forming opinions, and driving trends. An ideal PR agency life involves a lot of personal engagement across platforms and stakeholders, with meetings, brainstorming sessions, strategy sittings, and media briefings. However, even as the industry adapts to the new challenges thrown in by the COVID_19 pandemic, brands and agencies are coming up with innovative ways to engage.
Anindita Gupta, Co-Founder Scenic Communication highlights 4 key learning every PR agency should take from the current situation:
Optimum utilization of technology: PR as a sector has been at the forefront of using technology. From building brand narratives in the digital medium to keeping clients informed of the latest developments through messaging apps and video calls, technology has always been a key factor. But the lockdown has taught us even more efficient ways of utilizing technology. We have suddenly realized that things like client meets and journalist visits can also be achieved through video calls. Innovative ways of interaction like Webinars and Live sessions are happening. Being dependent on technology beforehand helped PR agencies to swiftly change their strategies and increase their focus on new age media. Even traditional brands and agencies who were earlier not so technology friendly jumped on the bandwagon and this is a trend that is going to stay long after the pandemic is gone.
Engaged and Focused Interaction: The lockdown has forced everybody into their homes and this has made interactions even more focused and equally effective than earlier. Conversations have become meaningful and we have taken team building and brainstorming to a new level through Google hangouts, zoom, and skype calls. The agenda for meetings are better defined, productivity is better monitored due to remote working, and employees are learning to make the most out of these chaotic times, working in tandem with the ever-enthusiastic media.
Value Addition for our clients: In the backdrop of the Pandemic and the resulting economic slowdown, there is a sense of uncertainty all around which has affected businesses, including the PR sector. Under such circumstances, instead of slowing down, a successful agency needs to step up our efforts and go above and beyond our regular call of duty to add value to our customers. From a strategic communication campaign beyond the annual plan, to help them effectively engage with relevant messaging and providing increased visibility, the PR role has been modified as a business partner instead of a vendor. This has ensured not only consistent billing but also cemented the client-agency relationship, as one that survived and flourished a global pandemic.
Adapting to survive: Adaptability is very essential for the survival of any business, including the PR agency. The pandemic has also taught us the value of collaboration and that the only way out is a joint effort. The current crisis has made every employee of the agency come in together to lend their strengths for the best results. It has made our engagement better, brainstorming, and ideating much more focused and our internal communication much more effective. Even as senior management attempted to hold its people together, we have witnessed a new level of camaraderie and team bonding. More so, there has also been a sense of personal responsibility, and employees have proactively started taking new roles within the organization, allowing the best of each person to come to the forefront within the agency.
It has been a tough time but it has taught us to push ourselves, innovate, and explore new boundaries that have to be a little bit beyond business and have to be based on relationships because at the end relationships are what keep the PR agency going.
Authored by Anindita Gupta, Co-Founder Scenic Communication