5 key insights from Prolific North’s dedicated PR event

Earlier this month, PR professionals from across the Northern scene gathered at Impossible Manchester, for a morning of networking and knowledge-sharing – courtesy of Prolific North.

The event follows the publication of the esteemed Top 50 PR agencies ranking – compiled in collaboration with independent research partner, Mustard. And it was this very list that saw Scriba PR climb seven places to spot number 22 this year.

But that’s not all. For the first time, attendees had the opportunity to delve into Prolific North’s Top 20 Fastest Growing PR Agencies too – placing our 17-strong agency in a fitting position, at number 17.

With so many firms making waves in the communications space, it was a privilege to see our name make the cut on both occasions – and to celebrate the accomplishments of industry peers too.

The event wasn’t short of insight either! Guest speakers included Victoria Pourzand, Senior Director of PR and Media Relations at Asda, and Rachel Gladwin, co-founder of international PR Agency Tigerbond – followed by a quartet of panellists to round up the series of discussions, surrounding the evolving comms landscape.

Here are some of the key takeaways, to help industry professionals weather the storms, now and in the future…

1.       Brands need to shift gears to meet the needs of modern day consumers

Victoria Pourzand was first up to speak, and her 60-minute slot certainly wasn’t short of insight – although, having been named in the top 200 most influential figures in PR, this came as no surprise.

Delving into ASDA’s near-merger with Sainsbury’s, she explored how the tribal nature of supermarket retailers was one of many reasons both parties pulled the reins on the deal.

Customers today can be very territorial with their brand choices, and as the social,  economic, and political climate becomes more uncertain, they rely on these relationships more than ever. As a result, PR agencies must be flexible in their ability to reshape plans and pivot to meet consumer needs – delivering the right tone of message, in the right way, at the right time.

2.      Don’t shy away from the uncertainties

With one in five households currently in negative income, there’s no denying that it’s a difficult time for consumers as well as businesses – and there’s a disproportionate effect on lower income families too.

The reality is, organisations seem to be more trusted than governmental bodies at present. Not only is this testament to the importance of comms, but it also demonstrates the value consumers hold over their relationship with brands. Make sure to keep evolving the narrative, with customer concerns front of mind, to maintain this level of confidence.

3.     Always choose quality over quantity

All too often, PR professionals can be consumed by the idea that success is defined by maximum reach – but that’s not always the case. Instead, think about quality over quantity, and consider targeting relevant regional publications over broad nationals.

By being so focused, you can not only ensure your message is received by the right people, you also boost the authenticity of your brand to outsiders.

4.     Navigating the world of crisis comms can be tricky…

But that’s not to say that it can’t be rewarding too! Talking on the rebrand of Beattie Communications to Tigerbond, following a ‘reputational issue’, she explored how rebooting the agency was the best thing they could have done.

Whilst starting a fledgling agency wasn’t without risk – not least because of the heritage and presence Beattie Communications previously held – but in just 18 months, Tigerbond has stormed up the ranks and invested heavily in its digital team, as well as end-to-end wraparound services, to support client comms.

In times of uncertainty, she went on to add that brands who continue to invest will “most likely recover more quickly and prosper after recession.”

5.     Don’t be tempted to undervalue your experience or service

Having such a sharp eye on finances at the moment, it can be easy to settle for less than your agency’s worth to try and keep the wheels turning – not least because budgets often trump expertise from a client perspective. This is a point iseepr founder and CEO, Lee’ann Kaufman raised during the closing panel discussion.

But as we know, taking your foot off the gas pedal doesn’t just slow the engine – it kills it altogether. That’s why, instead, it’s often best to think of shifting your strategy, and focusing on content that’s powerful, evergreen, and optimised.

A huge thanks to Prolific North for hosting such a thought-provoking event, and congratulations to those who landed a place on either list. 

Here’s hoping we climb the ranks again next year! 

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