19 Mar The Coronavirus Will Obliterate the Traditional PR Agency Model
This opinion piece I wrote for PR week in March, 2020, certainly proved to be prescient. Excerpt:
Brick and mortar PR agencies large and small face a day of reckoning says Mark Rose of Finsquared.
The public relations business is about to undergo a dramatic and much-needed jolt to its business model. Coronavirus will force brick-and-mortar PR agencies large and small into a day of reckoning.
The PR business will suffer in ways it never has before. Around the globe, and accelerating in the U.S., we are being driven indoors. We are absorbing information online, ordering food, watching movies, and substituting social interaction for whatever connection we can squeeze out online. The internet is proving its great value during this crisis.
Some agencies are touting that their Chinese and Asian offices are returning to normal. But there is no ‘normal’ when a good portion of the world is battling a health crisis. This is delusional.
Suddenly, all the assets that traditional agencies boast about are liabilities. What good are Edelman’s 65 offices, if they’re forced to close indefinitely? What happens to its 5,000 employees if forced out of those offices? The same questions apply to every brick-and-mortar agency of every size. And every client should be asking their agency these same questions.
This pandemic is a tragedy on many levels. But it may just be the shock that forces traditional PR agencies to adapt to the mobile, digital world the rest of us live in.