What do you get if you ask PR agency leaders a question about the future? A lot of positive answers! So if you are feeling worried about your prospects now that we are out of the EU, take a leaf out of their books and always look on the bright side. Here are their reasons to be cheerful post Brexit.
We can create our own futures
Jackie Elliot, CEO of communications firm Cathcart Consulting, is confident that the UK is in a good position right now: “At least now we have certainty, although not 100% sure what that certainty will become in terms of business restrictions and opportunities. But we can begin to create our own futures. I'm confident that the quality and size of the UK agency sector will prove resilient as the new marketplace develops: our time zone, language and cultural appeal are great assets and we are, throughout the continent, leaders in best practice.”
There are more deals to be made
There is a new business surge says Nick Barron, deputy CEO at PR firm MHP + Mischief: “So far in 2020, our experience has mirrored the relatively buoyant UK economic data we’ve seen since the start of the year: A lot of RFPs are being issued and there are signs of a revival in corporate deal-making.”
Peter Bingle, founder of agency Terrapin Communications,is in complete agreement: “In the London property market, confidence is everything. Brexit plus a Boris landslide has been transformative. Confidence has returned with a vengeance. Deals that were on hold are now being progressed. New clients are literally walking through the door. I have never been so confident at the start of a new year.”
There is more work than ever
There are twice as many press releases to issue says Sarah Brockwell, director at agency sarahBee marketing: “Clients are ramping up their PR strategies in Europe and we have seen a 100% increase in press releases issued. With support from organisations like the Department for International Trade, businesses are able to be strategically clever about how they can promote themselves as ‘open for business’ to EU countries. Also, the Queen’s Award for International Trade offers huge PR opportunities for businesses that meet the criteria to win the coveted award.”
Nick Barron says that now is the time to start thinking about new international link building: “Long-term, the health of our industry depends on London maintaining its position as a leading global hub, so less important than Brexit is what comes next in terms of our international trading position and our openness to international talent and investment.”
We are still part of Europe
Brexit does not mean we are no longer part of Europe says Elena Davidson, CEO at agency Liberty Communications: “I think many worry that Brexit will threaten the UK’s position as a gateway to Europe, but I think we need to remember that just because the UK is not in the EU, it doesn’t mean we are not part of Europe. We are geographically still part of the European continent – and let’s not forget that many of us (just under 50%) wanted to stay within the EU. Being European has defined a whole generation of British people; people who benefited from access to the EU.”
Positive thinking is imperative
Davidson highlights the value of positive thinking: “As for the leaders of tomorrow, I believe the vast majority of them will want to forge links with Europe, so we owe it to them to give them a good platform and not to be defeatist. Yes there will be uncertainty, but people and businesses will be more reliant than ever on good communication. The fundamentals of good PR have never been more important – trust, client service and results. If we stay positive, plan and develop a strategy based on those principles we will safeguard ourselves from any difficulties and leave ourselves stronger for the next generation.”
Eva Cheng, digital PR executive at marketing agency AGY47, agrees: “Our main objective is to continue our excellent relationships with clients and stakeholders in the EU and beyond. There have been times since 2016, where it's been difficult to be optimistic, but we feel that is now the only option. At the heart of all PR is the relationships we build with individuals. And in or out of the EU it is an absolute priority for us to maintain the strong relationships we have built.”
SMEs are a growth area
One area that is rich for growth is the SME sector. Irina Georgieva, CEO at IT firm Enterprise League, explains why: “Recently we have been experiencing a high increase of UK companies seeking UK business partners and applying to tenders within the UK.
“We are expecting to fare even better as there will be an increasing need to connect EU and UK SMEs to work together. As we are breaking walls between countries, we are witnessing a lot of connections between companies from the same industry, meaning SMEs are open to collaborate with their fellow industry members, to expand knowledge and create new opportunities. This will undoubtedly trigger a surge in innovation and we can expect to see growth for SMEs.”
PRCA Barometer reflects optimism
According to the latest PRCA Economic Barometer, more PR leaders are optimistic about the UK economy than pessimistic about it, emphasising the industry’s positive attitude now that Brexit has happened. Francis Ingham, director general of PRCA, comments: “A clear majority of the PR industry was against Brexit, and yet our Quarterly Economic Barometer saw a surge in economic optimism after an election result that guaranteed Brexit would indeed happen. That’s quite the obvious contradiction. The reason is very simple –a much greater degree of political and economy certainty, allowing us all to plan better. No one knows if this will last until the full terms of our new relationship with the EU become clear. But for the moment at least, business optimism has returned. “
If you were to ask professionals in other sectors about the future after Brexit, no doubt you would get a more mixed response. But if the PR industry can’t be positive about the future, then who can?
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