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How PR agencies are evolving to help their clients in more imaginative ways, by Money Advice Service’s Clark Turner

12th March 2013

Let me tell you a story.

Once upon a time, as all good tales begin, there was a client-side marketer. Similarly to the king who lived in a castle and ruled his lands, he worked in a corporate tower made of glass and chrome and managed a brand that “ruled” the country too.

The king had number of barons who knew their role and place and ran things for him and likewise the marketer had a court of agencies who helped him run his business: the above-the-line agency, the specialist digital agency, the PR agency and the content agency.

They all lived happily together until the bankers made a mess of things and the country found it had less money than it thought it had. In the corporate tower the marketer’s bosses were mean to him asking, not only for his budget to work harder, but to deliver better results too. All the agencies got worried because they knew that this could mean less money for them and their profits.

The clever guys at the PR agency got together and thought, “Why is he paying the content agency for something that we could do. As an add-on to our existing services, it will cost him less but bring in more money for us. Sure, it’s not PR as we have done to date but it’s a great opportunity we would be foolish to ignore.”

And so the PR agency made its pitch. It told the marketer how it could generate engaging content, such as thought leadership pieces, video, infographics and gamification in the PR mix.

The agency explained that what the “it” is doesn’t really matter. The “thing” can be whatever so long as it’s “on brand” and, quite simply, both great and of value to consumers.

The PR agency showed him that the media landscape was changing and it was no longer just about column inches. Rather than pushing out brand messages they needed to engage in conversations, as it was the consumers now who were deciding what brands they wanted to have a dialogue with.

It added that consumers need to receive the right message at the right time though the right media touch points and that content – in whatever form that might be – allowed them to do this.

The agency also pointed out that consumers are a social lot and if given something really good and of value, they’ll share this with their mates.

The marketer was amazed and thought it was a jolly good idea. He liked the PR agency and if it could give him added value then this was a good thing.

The agency won the business, received lots of money and everyone lived happily ever after, except the poor content agency, of course, which got the axe.

The lesson of this tale? Sometimes fairytales are a good thing – they can come true. A bit of creative thinking and good storytelling can be brought alive with imaginative content.

We all love a good story and selling in a tale to a client can generate more business and income for an agency.

The End.

Clark Turner is digital and social media editor at Money Advice Service. The Money Advice Service is an independent service, set up by government to help people make the most of their money.

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