Tomorrow's Business Today
A shake-up at Sir Alan's shop, part II
If you write nice things about Brunswick, expect a backlash.
Our piece yesterday on its share sale and partner payout, balanced I thought, was variously lambasted as “generous”, “far too kind” and worse.
Colleagues thought I had “been captured by Moonies”, “lost it” and “been on the turps again”.
Two of those three are slurs.
As a hack, I’d say Brunswick is the least hack-facing agency of the big players.
If you want to say that they don’t take me to the cricket much because they have far bigger fish to fry, fair enough.
My point is that their concern is the client not the hack, something with which the clients may be not comfortable/find preferable.
One rival said that in some ways Brunswick sees itself as a consultancy firm far above PR. If it could find out a way to do business that didn’t involve speaking to us grubby hacks, it would pursue it.
(Just because Brunswick doesn’t recognise itself in this description doesn’t mean it isn’t valid.)
Who would you rather speak to, said a man missing his audience, the FTSE CEO or the teenage scribbler? Give me the scribbler anytime.
For “professionalising” PR, Brunswick changed an industry which surely needed that.
It lost something along the way – a sense of humour? – though it hugely increased the amount big companies were willing to pay for PR, having been convinced it was as important as legal or banking work.
Sir Alan may have made the odd misstep himself. Perhaps a reminder that even PR people sometimes need PR and that like a lawyer representing himself, he would be a fool not to get some outside help in.
Let’s end upbeat.
One PR boss says of Parker: “We are all reluctant to give him credit but annoyingly he deserves it. If Alan has the appetite he could easily hang around for another decade. With so much money chasing PR firms he could have driven a much bigger deal. I think this is a smart long-term partner.
But I will be fascinated to see what kind of incentive deals he is putting in front of people and how long they have to wait.
Brunswick bating will return but the firm can probably bask in the after-glow for a few more days.”
We’ll allow it. Temporarily.
Press release of the day
Has online shopping eased off now the high street is re-open? This from DS Smith says not.
Chris Murray, Managing Director of DS Smith UK packaging, said: “What is clear is that even though bricks and mortars have reopened, online shopping is going to become a greater part of our lives.”
Should big shops slash floor space? I think it is too early for them to be sure that is the way to go…