Big Cat Anthony Tattum How to grow a PR agency

Opinion: How to grow a PR agency in today’s challenging business environment

Big Cat managing director Anthony Tattum celebrates the agency’s most successful year to date by revealing the secret to its rapid growth.

Creating a PR agency is the easy bit, maintaining it and then growing it – that’s when the hard work starts! At Big Cat, we have recently celebrated our most successful year to date with a 25% sales growth in 2017 and here’s how we did it:

Invest in the right people

It’s really important to get the right mix of skills and experience and the right structure. Over the last few years we have seen a higher demand for an agency which can offer an integrated approach. That means it is crucial to have a strong team which is spread across all disciplines.

We have invested heavily in attracting an amazing team of like-minded creative and strategic talent. They are ambitious, realistic and give a damn. They live and breathe our core values and their skills span across not just PR and social – but digital, marketing and even branding and design.

Which leads me onto my next point….

Offer more than just PR

Modern PR agencies need to be able to think more broadly than traditional PR.

As a full service agency, Big Cat offers PR as an excellent standalone service and also as one which works seamlessly with marketing, digital and creative, design and branding.

However, it is easier said than done to offer wider services when you don’t have the resources to deliver on them. So, it is worth considering partnerships. Be an agency that plays well with other agencies and find agencies which are willing to do the same – but which offers different areas of expertise to yours.

You need to be your client’s central resource for meeting their needs. If you can’t do it alone, find the right partners to provide a collaborative approach.

Invest in the right tools

To work with medium and large clients well, you need to plan, create, deliver and measure.

Having the processes in place to manage complex campaigns can be quite technical. They will definitely be multi-channel and will consider a broad range of KPIs.

Investing in the best social media management platforms, media monitoring technologies and media intelligence platforms will save you time, make you money and definitely help you manage scale more effectively.

Plan and forecast for success

Give yourself a realistic annual target that gives you ambitious growth objectives, then stay focused on your sectors and finding your specialisms.

Find those clients you want to work with and who will benefit from your services and your agency values. You can’t be everything to everyone. It’s about finding the most effective partnerships and clients for your business.

Be different

Competition is very high and every agency needs a niche. At Big Cat, we believe in a thing called “creative clarity”. Whether it’s advertising, brand and design, PR services or digital, we think the most effective communications are the most simple.

Today, the message is more important than the medium. So, we simplify messages down to their most communicative forms, constantly evaluating how we’ve achieved single mindedness through our communications.

Be aware of the challenges

We’ve entered a time where the power of communication has transferred from communicator to those with whom we’re communicating with.

It’s more important than ever to control your brand when it’s in the hands of the many, across myriad delivery platforms. The people you’re communicating with will essentially own your brand. So, the messages need to be clear and strong and you need to be good at managing all those mediums where you aren’t in control.

That is a challenge for brands and businesses. So, therefore it’s a challenge for agencies to be able to deal with.

Keep learning

My final piece of advice would be to continue learning.  Sign up to industry newsletters, attend conferences and stay up to date with what’s happening in your key industry sectors.

Keeping your finger on the pulse will ensure you’re always delivering fresh thinking and adapting to the ever evolving market.

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