#FutureAgency interview with Guy Gilpin

What is the future for the Public Relations Agency industry?  The debate started across on Forbes, continued on FIR and we add our own suggestions from an interview taken for the source material for our book, “The Creative Agency of the Future“, being written now.

What is the future for the PR industry? We asked Guy Gilpin of Mother Tongue Writers.

Questions: What are you doing differently in the past 2 years in….

Human resources

We are more touchy feely considering their views. Twice a month staff have lunch meeting where they set the agenda. We separated salary reviews from performance review and we do these quarterly not annually. Their situations were changing more frequently and we need to catch that quicker. We needed to find out if they were thinking of getting another job and why – generally if they were underpaid or wanted to go abroad.

 

Client management

We have key account groups and a team in place. We wrote our own key account software if we get a lapsed client it brings it to the fore. Our people aren’t salespeople. Our task was to make staff be more customer oriented with them knowing it. We integrated CRM into the job sheet and it nags them if the client hasn’t replied to anything or responded. We have tracked a few people and pulled them back on again as a result but its early days.

 

Campaign organisation

The job sheet is a php intranet and we’ve extended this to US, Singapore and Germany adding multi currencies and more complex. The different time zones affect this and Sunday is the only time we can update it when nobody is working.

 

Finance

FOREX is an issue we had too many Euros a few months ago and are considering this a lot more than before.  We show monthly losses if we don’t think about it because we report in pounds….

 

Real estate

We have considered remote working but I’m reluctant because I think people will take the piss. Staff members have asked for it though.

 

IT infrastructure

We moved to fibre from broadband – this was a massive step up. We have done this in New York City and Singapore because we need to have a very big pipe between all 3 hub offices. This is for the intranet. All the phones work off VOIP in 5 countries.

 

Business development

We have had a biz dev person, this went to 2 staff but it hasn’t worked so we’ve gone back to 1. The first one worked harder when we hired the second.

 

Knowledge management

We try to train using outsiders and on the whole I’ve not liked that. We have a couple of people who are internal trainers for new joiners. We supplement with some outside training for where we don’t have the skills e.g. presentation skills.

With 4 hubs to make them not feel remote we have set up support groups within the HQ to enable them to link back and so what we’re doing gets disseminated back out…There is a big Skype call and we pitch it as a marketing support group.

We try to link in a relevant competition into the staff e.g. Euro 2012 – sweepstake. A bit of fun.

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