There were many things I was nervous about before taking the next step in my PR career and setting up on my own. My biggest worry, the one that stopped me for many years, was the competition. There are so many good, established, independent consultants and small agencies out there, how could I compete with them? I quickly realised, I didn’t need to. It’s not about competing. It’s about collaborating. Experienced professionals each bring their own unique skill set and background experience to the table, no two CVs are the same, so no two consultants are the same.
For me, the future of PR is collaboration, focusing on what you’re good at, being aware of what you’re not and adding that value where it’s most needed. I’m seeing this trend from clients too, not just in PR but across the marketing mix. They’re falling out of love with the big, more expensive agency model and looking to a more efficient way of working, favouring unique networks of experts, brought together to solve an exact need, rather than being upsold a gap in a profit line. You may never work with the same combination of people twice, but what an awesome opportunity for the consultant as well as cost effective and efficient for the client. It’s a win, win situation. Just this week I’ve worked on three separate proposals with three different groups of people, bringing my creative PR expertise to the mix, alongside other comms experts, branding experts and more. With one of these briefs (a big one!) the client specifically asked for a network of collaborators, rather than a big agency partner.
A happy upside to this way of working is that I’m reconnecting with so many old colleagues and friends, who I’d never have been able to work with again if I’d stepped into another traditional PR role. We’re sharing resources, sharing ideas, sharing briefs and I’m really, really loving it. I thought no two days were the same in an agency, but that’s taken on a whole new level now. The future is collaboration.