Outsourcing PR post-pandemic

Smart big businesses have been moving towards using smaller external comms partners for some time and Undertow Media expects this trend to accelerate in our post-pandemic world.

StopPress readers are well aware of the benefits of using an agency whether it’s to bring in some new creative thinking for a big project, take advantage of varied and strong media relationships or to simply extend the horsepower of the in-house team. But in an uncertain world heading into recession shouldn’t external helpers be the first to go? 

Budgets are being cut across the globe and many went straight into survival mode as soon as borders started closing, slashing down to the basics to keep the lights on. However, if 2020 has taught us anything it’s that the true ‘essentials’ of life go far beyond just food, water and healthcare, and the same applies to smart business practice.

In the last few years, we’ve seen think-pieces all over the show about the benefits of small agencies for big business and with economies in chaos taking every advantage is crucial. An opportunity to get ahead exists in this climate and with the yearly calendar and carefully laid plans out the window, every operation needs the agility and flexibility small teams provide.

While large companies always have some of the sharpest minds in the sector leading their teams, the reality is that they also get bogged down in corporate politics, layers of approvals and internal structures. What they need is a small, focused team full of passion and able to see the wood through the bureaucratic trees – where an offshore-owned bells and whistles agency might just add to the forest.

The right partner should stand with the marketing and comms leads to present some riskier thinking that can be the start of serious gains.

Marketers now need ideas that are going to make them stand out, they need to stand for something possibly a bit different to what they did in January and build trusted relationships with consumers which will never come from a glossy media buy on its lonesome. That’s all possible when you have a strong in-house lead or small team and some super slick operators that are willing and able to genuinely get behind your brand and treat it like it’s their own.

Without the overheads of a big offshore owner, the right, dynamic and charismatic agency partner is arguably more closely aligned to a client’s needs, analysing the brief and strategising for results above all else.

Most importantly this means taking an agnostic approach if a third party (media buy, influencer, content creation, activation build etc) is needed to ensure the perfect fit.

The media and cultural landscape is shifting faster than ever and sticking to pre-planned messaging can be dangerous territory for a brand. A dedicated team across the details is your best defence against falling foul of the mood of the day – with events moving quickly, messaging that was approved at the start of the month might be tone-deaf by the end.

With an economic rebuild ahead and NZ, for the most, not in such a shocking position as initially ‘chicken littled’, there is work to be done. And with leaner teams across the board and smaller incremental gains, the key is to have flexibility and a couple of skilled operators in your back pocket.

The pandemic showed what some smart companies with sound leadership and a ‘let’s go’ mentality could do. And, as history tells us, more millionaires were made in the Great Depression than in any other time. Now is the opportunity to take some risks and get the rewards.  

To find out more about Undertow Media or get in touch with the team visit undertowmedia.com.

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