Corporate affairs, in its broadest definition, has undoubtedly come to be seen as more critical in recent years. The long-standing argument to have the Corporate Affairs director sit on ExCo is largely won. Yet the advisory industry that serves this function is mostly unchanged.
Traditional PR agencies still focus on proactive press releases to generate positive earned media; their digital teams are developing new channels, but setting very similar coverage-based goals. Financial PR offers reactive and proactive advice, but almost always built around transactions or the corporate news calendar. And ‘wise-men’ and ‘wise-women’ offer counsel and connections founded on a mix of instinct and experience.
Then there are a whole host of new technology companies – listening, scraping and amassing information. They are typically drowning in data, yet fail to turn this into a compelling insight and most often operate one or more removed from their corporate clients and without the senior relationships to change this.
I used to proudly argue the superiority of the PR adviser, because PR was agnostic in its solutions. The ad-man is only ever going to recommend advertising, the investment banker urges you to do the deal and the lawyer just wants you to take as much time as possible before any decision is made. The PR guy, however, has your back; he only wants what is best for your reputation.
Is that still true? While PR has a quiver full of different solutions, ultimately, they are all focused on creating more, positive, media coverage.
But the world has changed and media with it – more channels, more choice, more news and less trust. No one can ‘control’ this and no one should claim to be able to influence it at anything more than a local or specialist level.
Today’s corporate reputations are built on multiple fronts. Through everything the company does and every product it sells. Through the actions of every individual and every interaction they have with the outside world. An effective approach and credible agency support must be able to engage beyond media, beyond the comms function and deeper into the operations of the clients it supports.
This is the agency of the future. And this is the agency we are building at BOLDT.
Interested in learning more?
Please reach out to Jon Rhodes to learn more about how BOLDT can help you.