October 16, 2009
Late last year, our agency was proud to join the Public Relations Global Network, a global organization of leading independent public relations agencies. With combined revenues of more than $100 million and 800 communications professionals in 80 markets worldwide, PRGN ranks among the top five public relations networks in the world.
Over the years, we’ve partnered with many firms in many different countries. And we’ve been approached in the past about joining up with various consortiums or loose affiliations of agencies. Yet when we received the invitation to be considered for PRGN, a few things stood out to us as important differentiators – and ultimately drove our enthusiasm to become one of a terrific group of independent firms.
First was the very fact of invitation-only. The network takes the process of vetting new potential member firms seriously. There is an attention to cultural fit and “quality control” that is well-aligned with our own approach to both our staff and our clients.
Second, the commitment to PRGN is very much at the principal / owner level of each agency. A group of 40-plus agencies internationally does not mean that much if there is little involvement, buy-in or engagement at the top of each organization. Every new member must make a deep commitment to principal / owner involvement, including personal attendance at two meetings per year held in different parts of the world. When Ralph Katz traveled to Sao Paolo, Brazil, last Autumn for our official “induction,” meeting and mingling with the heads of every other PRGN firm was a powerful and positive experience.
Third is the inter-connectedness of the network – both virtual and physical. Those twice-yearly meetings ensure that agency heads get to know one another as people, not just as names popping up in an inbox. That makes a significant difference when you have a U.S. client hoping that its domestic agency resource can identify great a PR partner in, say, Singapore. That connectedness then extends to frequent email and phone exchanges, shout-outs and dialogue on Twitter and visits to “sister” agencies when traveling to their cities.
The fourth differentiator is a natural extension of the constant exchanges noted above. And that’s true knowledge-sharing. There is an openness across the PRGN network to sharing true business challenges and insights, and to seeking fresh perspectives on how to approach a vast array of issues. When you put a call out to the network, the network responds – quickly and sincerely. And given our own collaborative nature, that is something our team has really valued.
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