Unlocking the “brains, not bricks” virtual PR agency advantage

Have you ever had an “A-HA!” moment, where suddenly the solution to a problem you’ve been facing becomes crystal clear?

I’d like to say that the idea for my virtual PR agency, Felicity [Inspiring Communications] came to me in such a flash of brilliance.

But, in truth, it was the confluence of two “UH-OH” moments that were the genesis of Felicity.

One when I was the lone Coca-Cola employee at the Dietitians of Canada national conference.

The other when I got a flat-out rejection for a flexible work schedule after my middle daughter was born.

These moments made me realize that clients’ business goals could be best served by working with media, bloggers, and health professionals, side-by-side in developing a communications strategy, instead of at the tail end, as our targets.

And that the way to enable this would be to harness the talent of seasoned communicators. Those who, like me, would thrive in a flexible work environment.

Invest in Brains, Not Bricks 

The virtual structure of our PR agency means our clients invest in brains, not bricks, buildings, and “bored” rooms.

Felicity teams are comprised of seasoned communicators driven by business minds, and are custom-tailored with the right experts based on client needs.

Associates include media relations experts, journalists, bloggers, healthcare communications specialists, social media strategists, or other subject matter experts (dietitians, personal finance experts).

We’ve been in business for more than five years, and we have grown to a team of 30.

And I’ve discovered three ways being a virtual organization is better for our clients (and in turn, our business).

Perhaps it will inspire you, as an agency leader, to incorporate some flexible elements into your business.

Or as a brand leader, to consider partnering with a virtual PR agency whose model is emerging as the new normal.

Three Ways a Virtual PR Agency Makes Better Sense

  • Dollars and sense. A 2016 PR agency best practice study showed that, on average, 26 percent of gross revenue is spent on overhead. In a virtual model, many, if not all, of these costs are eliminated. This means client dollars are devoted to having a seasoned, specialized team. A team comprised of the right people to deliver on a their business goals.
  • A strong foundation and no walls. Gone are the days when there was a clear line between journalists and PR pros. And the church and state separation between advertising and editorial? The priest is now shaking hands with the president. These lines are further blurred within traditional and new media platforms, and between agencies, brands, and their customers. It’s more important than ever to have the right people at your table. As a virtual PR agency, we are inherently agile. We can put together the best-fitting team for our clients—including moonlighting journalists—without thoughts of billable targets, or practice areas clouding our judgement.
  • Happy workers = happy clients = business success. Our team members benefit from our virtual organization because they thrive on doing challenging work within a flexible work environment. If they want to work on only one project for us that is right up their alley, they do. Oftentimes they have other commitments to which they devote their energy, outside of their contributions to Felicity. Similarly, although our associates have stepped off the traditional career ladder, it doesn’t mean they can’t aspire to develop their careers. In fact, we enable this through professional development activities, mentorship programs, and the ability to get a promotion—even if you are only working on one project at a time.

What Do You Think?

Technology offers us more possibilities than ever before to more fully integrate work and life.

The key to unlocking these possibilities is an open mind, open ears to listen to your clients’ and your team’s feedback, and trust in one another to get great work done even if you’re not always in the same building.

This post was originally published at the Spin Sucks blog.

Posted on: March 2nd, 2017 by

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