What is the Future for Financial PR Agencies?

News

Event Summary by Alex Northcott

Speakers on the panel

  • Christina Mills, Consulting Partner, Finsbury, & former Head of Comms at SABMiller & Rio Tinto
  • John McIvor, Head of Global Marketing and Corporate Affairs, Bank of America Merrill Lynch
  • Laura Hastings, Joint Managing Director, Lansons
  • Neil Bennett, CEO, Maitland
  • Simon Sporborg, Managing Partner, Brunswick
  • CEOs /CFOs understand reputation is key for their business. However, “it’s the totality of reputation that agencies need to grasp.” scrutiny from increasing number of stakeholders, including, investors, consumers, regulators, employees and society as a whole
    • “Understanding the public mood is critical”
    • “Conversations going on across many forms of media”
    • “With the rise of activism, criticism has become expected by the corporate community”
  • Management consultants moving into reputation and communication landscape and positioning themselves as the gurus of change management and engagement.
  • PR landscape is even more competitive today.
    • “ex Bell Pottinger client asked its board for suggestions of a new agency and received 11 agency names”
    • “More hooks in a smaller pond”
  • PR agencies diversifying into political, social, litigation, cyber and international expertise
    • Value of companies on listed market down 20%
    • Number of companies on listed market down from 3,000+ to 2,030
    • Financial results retainer work down 30% in last 10 years
  • PR Agencies being forced to reposition themselves. Days of silos are over. Integrated advice is key.
  • In house teams often more focussed on internal employee community vs external media community.
  • “Journalists relationships harder to foster. Many made up their minds faster, seeking intelligence and views from other sources and ability to influence becoming harder”
  • More media being consumed than ever before though traditional media declining.

What the PR industry needs to focus on:

  • Offering a broader perspective. “Agencies have these relationships with all their clients – what are learning from them that is relevant to other clients?”
  • Co-ordinated approach across all stakeholders never been more essential.
    • “The speed with which events unfold in the new digital age mean that it is hard to engage with influencers making it imperative that the preparation and framework of the communications planning is firmly in place beforehand”
    • “Operationally a challenging project but the detail is needed”
    • “Long term planning and consistency across all audiences crucial”
    • “Stakeholder mapping never been more important”
    • “The tone to each stakeholder needs to be thought through”
  • Being an advocate for clients still has an essential role to play. Trust and relationships as ever, remain key. Can’t just become communications consultants.
  • Agencies need to approach clients with well conducted insight and with proper rigour.
  • In house clients want one stop shop from agencies offering full package of advice.
  • Mifid II will present opportunities.
  • Self regulation will play a greater role alongside PRCA.
  • Reputation founded on actions and behaviour of everyone. No hiding place. Company culture and values never been more important. Culture is driven by C-suite.

Thank you to those on our panel and those that joined us.

About Alex Northcott

Alex Northcott is the CEO at Roxhill Media. Alex founded Gorkana in 2003 and sold the business to Durrants in 2010, which became the Gorkana Group. In 2015 he set up Roxhill Media, the next generation media database. He has over 18 years’ experience in the PR industry having worked at Morgan Stanley and JP Morgan.

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