Although more established firms may have some financial advantages in this crucial need for restructuring, most are far behind when creating a high tech future. The firms of tomorrow are those wrestling with the technology today, and they may not resemble anything that is already known in the marketplace. Right now, in basements and garages, small businesses are being created which will provide access to the new technologies, first to agencies and then directly to clients. Those firms will leap to the top of PR trade magazine rankings in the future — and not those firms viewing public relations tomorrow as fairly similar to what it is today.
For PR firms and corporate departments to stay ahead of this microchip-based curve, the best advice is to start in one corner of the office, much like redecorating a room. Pick one computer to enhance, install one modem. Designate one staff member to stay abreast of developments in CDs and interactivity. Then, as new efficiencies result, re-engineer another section, then another person.
Two developments, however, loom large with potential for revolutionizing the public relations business. The first, of course, is the oft-ballyhooed-but-soon-to-arrive information highway, and the second is CD-based technology. That hoary old PR staple, the news release, sent out by fax, courier, and newswire, could easily be a thing of the distant low tech past.
A Strategic Plan for Growth by Jesse L. Rotman, formerly with The Rooster Group, Deerfield, IL:
For small public relations firms and single-person consultancies, traditional public relations assignments from existing small-business clients often can be a stepping-stone to broader responsibilities in external and internal communications as well as in marketing activities and even advertising.
The corporate clients these PR firms and professionals serve usually fit the profile of small- to medium-sized companies, often under $200 million in sales, that have little or no internal public relations and marketing capabilities. As the result, they often miss many communications and promotional opportunities or handle them ineffectively.
These companies usually rely on a patchwork of outside agencies and vendors for project-oriented assignments to implement basic marketing and corporate communications services. The company is not achieving "more bang for the buck" with this approach, as this scattershot approach not only adds to the ultimate cost but also is an inefficient use of resources with all of its added requirements for coordination and indoctrination.
It's also fair to say that few part-time resources will ever understand the client company or organization, its products and services, and its top management as well as the PR counselor who's already in place and providing ongoing services.