The lines between PR, advertising and digital are blurring and morphing into a playing field that demands PR practitioners upskill, grow and enhance their skills to be able to provide the services and expertise that brands expect from today’s agency. But what about the agency of the future? What does it look like and what services does it offer?
It’s always difficult to predict, especially as dynamic brands of today demand innovation, fluidity and that their agencies push the creative boundaries, but one thing that is certain is that technology is playing an increasingly important role. From cloud, big data, AI, augmented reality and analytics – these technologies are changing the way agencies collect, store and present information. It’s also changing the way they look at the art of communication, the way they view customer experience and how they bring the two together for brand engagement. What’s more, technology and morphing platforms have also opened up new ways to listen and engage and of course, report.
But for me, I don’t believe that technology itself makes a great agency – it’s the people. And while the agency of the future is certainly one that embraces these changes (where it makes sense for their clients) and the technology and tools that allows them to diversify their offerings to really compete, it’s the human element that takes centre stage.
It’s the people that get to know their clients and the brand personality. It’s the people that know the media and build those relationships. It’s the people that make sense of the data and translate it into a strategy and it’s the people that formulate how to bring everything together. Sure, technology will permeate into all facets of the business and how agencies deliver to their clients, but it’s the people that will bring the true value. So, while the focus is on platforms, technology and processes, we cannot forget the human side – those that bring the creativity, those that bring the sparkle, those that bring the strategy and very importantly, those that bring the trust – because in the end, that’s what ultimately brings the results.