Opinion: Why PR and digital agencies need to “co-create”

Aalia Walker, co-founder of SMACK, a London-based digital agency which works with clients including Ted Baker, The Body Shop and Molton Brown, believes co-creation between PR and digital agencies can ensure clients benefit from more than just the “sum of the parts”.


smack-sarah-carlin

Aalia Walker

While many agencies have made the move into a full service offering, there are many more that do not offer specialised digital support. But rather than lose out, many smaller firms are pairing with specialist digital agencies to work together on briefs.

Below are three areas I think PRs need to consider when partnering with digital agencies:

 

 


Better briefings = better results

As PRs will know, the more comprehensive the client briefing, the more likely it is that you’ll be able to deliver exactly what the client wants. It’s the same when working with a digital agency.

Too often, the requirement for some sort of ‘digital component’ is tacked on to the end of a PR brief with no real thought given to what the client hopes that digital will achieve  – both for the campaign and their business. Is it increasing web traffic? Providing a dedicated microsite or complementary app? Managing social media?

Identifying what “success looks like” for the client will ensure PRs get the best value from the digital agencies they’re working with.”

Get the chemistry right

Of course, PR, digital, print etc. are all vying for a slice of the budget, so the temptation can be to try and find opportunities to show the client that while those other disciplines are nice, your specialism is the one they should be prioritising when it comes to allocating funds. This is understandable, but cross-agency meetings which owe more to the Sharks and the Jets than teamwork aren’t going to achieve results.

Fostering a spirit of collaboration, rather than competition, is key.

Let digital be part of the story (or even lead the story)

Digital doesn’t always have to just support the story – sometimes, it can BE the story. When a PR is – despite their best efforts – struggling to find that killer angle that will get their client the coverage it needs, sometimes a digital agency can help actively create a story via, say a killer app, microsite or social media campaign.

For example last summer, we launched a digital campaign to drive footfall into Mecca Bingo halls by encouraging Bingo-goers to ‘catch ‘em all’ as they played and share their spoils as they played. It resulted in 12,378 engagements on Facebook, with 974 Likes and other Reactions, and 1,656 comments. It also garnered numerous pieces of media coverage. The traffic doesn’t have to be all one way.

Digital can inspire PR just as PR inspires digital.

 


  • Aalia Walker is founder of digital agency SMACK
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