Commentary

More And More PR Agencies Continue to Swoop In On Ad Agency Territory

Given the current focus on content, it really isn't all that surprising that public relations agencies are morphing into full-blown marketing agencies. After all, public relations agencies were always the masters of manipulation when it came to the written journalistic word. 

The CEO of Zeno Group, Barby Siegel, says her previously PR-focused agency has become "an integrated communications agency born from PR. We have cracked the code in terms of the kind of agency we are and the kind of work we want to do. Now that does not mean we all look the same all over the world, but it means we are all focused on integrated communications born from PR. In terms of Edelman, we’ve also cracked the code as a sister agency that is not better or worse, but different. We have our own culture and fill a niche in the marketplace."

And on the creative aspects of her changed agency, she adds: "To come up with a big creative idea is brave, but to then say we are not going to go ahead with that idea because it’s not going to sell more phones or tablets, bottles of juice or whatever is even braver. Our guiding light every day is the fearless pursuit of the unexpected, but it is not creativity for the sake of it."

None of this, of course, is surprising. While the "big idea" is still central to the success of any good marketing program, where that big idea plays out -- increasingly in native advertising, social media and other forms of written content rather than TV commercials -- has always been the strong suit of a PR agency versus an ad agency. Given this, it's only logical that PR agencies lay down a bigger footprint

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1 comment about "More And More PR Agencies Continue to Swoop In On Ad Agency Territory".
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  1. Mike Marn from SIU, August 3, 2015 at 10:55 a.m.

    Thinking of TV commercials as the only vehicles ad agencies think about - and assigning more expertise in native advertising and social media to PR agencies - is the big error in this post. That's the equivalent of saying that PR agencies' strrong suit is an 8 1/2 X 11 snail-mailed press release. It is certainly true that ad and PR borders are softening and there is obvoius need and opportunity for convergence. But an ad agency background and experience is at least as effective, if not more, in creating content for native advertising and social media. Just because their impact is a bit more difficult to measure, that doesn't mean the lower accountability crossbar PR fims tend to enjoy is not an "edge." (Unleash the hate mail!) Having said all that, welcome to the new age. I certainly have done plenty of successful public relations work throughout my career, even in "mostly ad agency" structures. That's because my strong suit is in  "COMMUNICATIONS" - not in a particular vehicle.

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