88% of Senior Comms Leaders in violent agreement on the road ahead…

London – October 31st 2017, Question and Retain (Q&R), the online Pulse Check™ company, ran a four question pulse asking c800 senior professionals for their views on how the relationship between PR/Comms Agencies and clients will evolve over the next five years.

Only 8% believe the relationship will remain the same while the majority (88%) believe it will change considerably with some citing internal pressures around ROI (Return on Investment) on the client side as driving a new level of accountability.

As one Agency lead observed, “Agencies need to be more accountable, more data driven and in turn become deeper partners with clients. The role has to become more advisory in nature – up-levelling to strategic partners rather than just a transactional supplier oriented relationship.” Another added, “The partnership will become more strategic, much more measurable and success defined by demonstrable results. Fluffy discussion about coverage, AVEs etc will become a thing of the past. Demonstrating real, measurable value will be at the heart of every relationship.”

On the client side, one respondent commented, “Agencies will need to be more transparent and collaborative” with another suggesting, “Looking at the past five years, the way we communicate has already changed so much, as technology advances and people’s expectations change, (the) PR/Comms industry needs to keep up in order to stay relevant.”

The four question Pulse explored the future of PR/Comms Agency and Client Relationship, how the role of journalism and PR are set to change, and where to expect the best ROI (Return on Investment) from communications planning.

Key insights:

  • 88% of Agency Heads and Senior In-house practitioners say the relationship between them is set for change
  • Only 16% claim Twitter and Facebook are likely to be the most influential in terms of direct news feeds
  • 30% say editorial coverage offers the best ROI (Return on Investment)
  • 55% say PR/Comms Agencies will become media brokers in the future and steal business directly from Advertising Agencies

One Agency lead concluded, “Media relations as a singular discipline is, in my view, in decline, as advertising-supported media is in decline. However, the skill-set in PR (of identifying what drives a client’s reputation, and making its story relevant and engaging for the people it wants to influence) is highly valued and sought after however, and PR companies are excellent at this. We just have to diversify and find new ways of monetising our profession. Though media relations isn’t going to disappear anytime soon, it does have an impact on the agency choices clients are making – so the client/ agency relationship will stay in a state of flux for some time.”

Imogen Osborne, Co-Founder, Q&R summed up as follows, “This Pulse has confirmed the PR & comms industry is in a state of flux with many opportunities and challenges facing both Clients and Agency heads. The rise of Twitter and Facebook as direct news feeds is having a massive impact on the quality and authenticity of content in its purest form. Clients are being driven more and more towards stakeholder and influencer engagement as the new face of public interaction and there is much more talk of trust. It will be fascinating to chart these changes going forward while also welcoming the constant opportunities for innovation.”


About Q&R:

Question and Retain (Q&R) Ltd helps companies to listen to their key stakeholders and make better business decisions as a result. To find out more, please go to www.questionandretain.co.uk.