By Rachel Cass, senior account manager, Genesis PR.
It’s easy to get distracted by the ‘London factor’ when choosing an agency but the truth is, there are top PR consultancies based outside London across the country. Thanks to technology, clients can connect wherever they are, and location is not an issue when selecting an agency.
So, why are companies from FTSE 100 to SMEs choosing PR agencies based outside the big cities? Here is the rundown:
1 It’s a small world
General advances in technology e.g. skype, enable people to connect from anywhere in the world, while the rise of flexible working means many PR professionals are equipped to work remotely, providing the additional benefit of a highly responsive service.
2 Back to the roots
Consumers are demanding more personal connections to brands and businesses which has seen a rise in grassroots PR. Regional agency teams tend to live in local communities and so understand the area and local issues. Regional agencies are also experts in regional, local and hyper local media and often specialists in creating campaigns which relate to a variety of different audiences.
3 Nimble agencies
The nature and make up of regional agencies mean they are often more agile and responsive – an essential skill in today’s 24/7 media environment – and can adapt more quickly to clients’ changing needs.
4 The A-team
Regional agencies tend to put a more hands-on, senior team members on client accounts. With larger agencies, the pitch may be done by a director, but more junior employees often carry out the day to day work.
5 Personal service
Staff turnover rates are lower at regional agencies so the account team you sign up to is less likely to change. Building trusted relationships is an essential ingredient of successful PR – both with clients and media – and these can only be built over time. Longer standing partnerships ensure the needs of clients are fully understood and the best outcomes delivered.
6 Value for money
Lower overheads mean lower costs, so you avoid the London premium and get better value for money.
7 Size doesn’t matter
Regional agencies get things done! They are not part of a big machine and have fewer levels and layers, so can work faster and smarter.
8 Working hard
Regional agencies have a point to prove and as a result, often work harder to show they can more than contend with city agencies, again, providing better value for money.
9 Talent pools
Talent and creativity exist around the UK, not just in the cities. Exceptional agencies across the country are attracting top PR professionals who don’t want the London commute and are helping to grow creative hubs outside of the major cities. Outstanding talent can be found in many locations such as Suffolk which offers a highly attractive alternative. More and more universities are also offering PR and creative degrees, meaning that expertise is developing across the country.
Professionals at regional agencies are often required to master a wider range of skills whereas larger agencies tend to have dedicated employees working on specific aspects of PR. Whilst this offers honed expertise it can lead to a disjointed approach which impacts on results.
At the end of the day, choosing an agency should be based on how well the team understands a client’s needs and its ability to deliver campaigns that strike a chord with your audience, not location.