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Does the in-depth knowledge of specialist agencies mean they are more valuable than ever?

Will our grandchildren or great-grandchildren look at us aghast when we tell them that we never used to wear a facemask on public transport? Will hand sanitiser become a staple of our back pockets when we leave the house? Will the jobs market recover and what will communications look like in six months’ or a years’ time? These are just some of the questions that we don’t yet know the answer too and in fact, no one knows the answer right now.

The last few months have been a time of reckoning on many levels - personally, professionally and financially. It has been a time for evolution in how we think and carve our future: many of us will make powerful choices about how we live our lives and bring more purpose into them, how we run our businesses and how we care for the planet and for each other.

It has been a time for un-learning and re-learning how we do business: we have enabled our teams to work from home, we have reviewed how we manage our finances; learnt so much about collaborating and doing business online, and work culture has become more personal. I read the other day that we are in fact not ‘working from home’ but ‘living at work!’

As communication specialists, we need to draw on our collective knowledge and insight to support clients and brands through these unknown times and beyond. This is where specialist agencies and their teams come into their own.

Specialist agencies are uniquely placed with in-depth knowledge of a sector often honed from many different backgrounds and this is beneficial for several reasons.

The first is that you want a team that can act fast, they’ve already experienced many crises and opportunities; they already know what works, what doesn’t and what you need to do right now, to ensure that you come out of this experience better and ready to face the next set of challenges. But most importantly, you want a team by your side that can actually free up your time and make efficiencies.

A specialist agency can recommend what they know works, immediately. Internal marketing teams are going through right now and can share that empathy with clients. A specialist partner will truly understand how focused budgets are, what pressure teams are under and the level of attention from other stakeholders.

Many of us have worked through the dotcom bubble bursting in 2002 and the economic crash of 2008. While we are currently facing the largest global recession since records began having navigated heavy market shocks for ourselves and our clients, we are braced for what might lie ahead.

Every industry is experiencing change because of Covid-19. Consumer experience with drive innovation. Pharma, social care, wellbeing and travel name just a few sectors likely to see rapid change as new entrants take hold of new opportunities.

Specialist agencies are also performing well in the current climate thanks to their levels of expertise. Across the PR industry, the news cycle is moving at an incredible pace. Having the insight of expert teams, keeping an eye on the details of small regulatory change, or the wording of government announcements helps companies and brands stayed informed. And, the insight use be utilised across all channels – PR, internal comms and external comms.

But, even better than a specialist agency is an integrated specialist agency.

Integrated agencies are unique because they combine the expertise of different disciplines under one roof. This means that PR experts can use the insight of planning, social and digital teams or internal communications specialists can tie up with content planners and UX designers. Even during a pandemic, this can be arranged on a quick Teams call.

In the midst of a crisis, working with a specialist agency has numerous benefits, including the lessons of past experience, specialist market expertise that can get results fast, through to the insight of multi-discipline teams. All equipped with the skills and insight that will help see brands into the new normal.

Article written by Kirsty Maxey, CEO, Teamspirit

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