Modern Public Relations Agencies Aren’t Vendors—They’re Collaborators

Modern Public Relations Agencies Aren’t Vendors—They’re Collaborators

In a world that is becoming increasingly interconnected, the relationship that exists between public relations agencies and the companies that rely on them to get important information out to the public is no longer passive. After all, PR agencies play a crucial role in crafting and refining public image and are often at the center of efforts to promote brand value. Above all else, these agencies serve as lifelines when it comes to protecting brand and reputation.

But these results are not achievable if PR agencies are kept operating on the periphery of your business like any other vendor and without any real inside knowledge of your organization’s operations. Today, the PR landscape has evolved beyond dictating pitches and brand spins to agencies. While the industry roils with new innovations in technology, improved methodologies and best practices, what stands out the most when you compare the industry to what it was 10 years ago are the new levels of collaboration happening between PR agencies and their clients.

When a PR agency acts as a collaborator with your internal teams rather than a vendor, it can significantly enhance the results of your PR efforts and allow your company to respond much more quickly to the dynamics of the market. This collaboration represents a newer, strategic approach that we see being adopted by many organizations.

Collaboration is not a new concept. A large number of American employees currently work in a role that depends on some level of collaboration. But collaboration between organizations and PR agencies is something quite new and refreshing. For example, PR agencies are stepping up to be more effective in helping their clients understand and navigate the unique challenges happening within their industries. We might interpret this as an indication of how the PR industry continues to evolve to help its clients operate and distribute information at the speed of the marketplace, including the rapid pace at which news can now travel across the globe.

When organizations are willing to collaborate with their PR agencies, those agencies are more willing to serve as advocates and take a greater stake in the outcome of their efforts. That can mean taking an organization’s PR efforts to entirely new levels of success.

Here are a few examples of how these collaborative efforts are showing up in modern-day relationships.

Information Sharing

An organization’s PR efforts are much more likely to lead to success when they provide their agency with access to the same data as their internal employees. Recognizing this, more organizations today are adopting innovative information-sharing strategies that provide PR agencies with access to key resources via technical solutions like Google Drive or Dropbox. These online (and largely free) software solutions allow organizations to provide agencies with access to important information that is both centrally located and accessible at all hours of the day. In fact, one of the distinctive advantages of this file-sharing strategy is the ability to automatically notify team members whenever critical resources are uploaded, downloaded or edited. Considering how this strategy effectively eliminates the need to deal with the slow and time-consuming process of reading swaths of emails and downloading attachments, it’s easy to see why this information-sharing strategy is being widely adopted.

Online event calendars and project platforms are also playing a major role in these collaborative efforts. For example,, the popular cloud-based work management platform, has opened the doors for organizations to collaborate on a new level.

Ultimately, these innovative information-sharing strategies allow all internal and external team members to remain updated on what’s happening without having to ask. And can serve as resources to help accelerate response times in crisis situations.

Increased Transparency

Another way that PR agencies are working as collaborators rather than traditional vendors is in the way they have refined their approach when working with new clients. Many forward-thinking agencies have adopted a new approach of trying to educate new clients as opposed to simply trying to sell to them. This is especially true for PR agencies that believe they can provide clients with greater value because of their unique and extensive expertise.

Today, it is not uncommon for PR agencies to suggest an onboarding session at the very onset of a new relationship to collect as much information as they can. Agencies will collaborate with new clients and work to determine what they tried in the past and what new strategies they would be willing to consider trying in the future. When sitting down with a new client, modern PR agencies encourage them to be very candid about their past successes and failures. This level of transparency makes it easier for agencies to develop a comprehensive understanding of the internal workings of an organization.

Ultimately, when both parties are transparent, it establishes a great foundation for collaboration and can make each team member feel as though they have a true stake in the outcome.

In conclusion, as the relationship between PR agencies and their clients evolves into a collaborative one, I believe many clients will be pleased to discover that they can have a greater level of control over their brand and reputation because of this collaboration. Considering this, your organization should be making efforts to align your PR agency with your corporate growth strategy and vision. Remember, the more an agency collaborates with its PR agency, the more that agency will be successful at leveraging its expertise to achieve its goals.

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