The new global world of communications suggests a demand for truly global agencies — agencies with a wide network of best-in-class subject matter experts, a multi-market footprint, the culture and infrastructure to seamlessly connect the pieces, and local expertise rooted deeply in markets worldwide.
As part of its recently published research paper The New Global World of Public Relations, Weber Shandwick asked 10 global communications professionals — senior executives responsible for corporate communications in large multinational companies — why they use global PR agencies. The executives identified five key areas where global PR expertise helps progress their business.
1. Global agencies are said to bring big-picture thinking and high-level strategy. Their wide breadth of client experience and their cream-of-the-crop talent enables them to bring both broad and specialised perspectives, new ideas and strategic sophistication.
2. Global agencies provide access to global influencers. While local agencies are more likely to own relationships with local media and policy-makers, global agencies can tap the Davos crowd and complement that with local luminaries.
3. Global agencies have staff in many geographies. The benefit is seen not only in the ability to provide day-to-day arms and legs throughout the world but also in the capability to instantly deploy additional people with distinctive skills and know-how. As leaders see it, the breadth and depth of staff at a global agency equips the company to move rapidly to fill in gaps and respond to changing circumstances.
4. Global agencies can (sometimes) help drive even higher standards and consistency around the world, across company business units and agency teams. Importantly, this deployment is said to be rooted more in agencies’ ability to provide oversight, as well as a transfer of knowledge and skills, than because their own staff is doing everything.
5. Global agencies must offer both breadth and depth of specialist talent. Jacks-of-all-trades will not suffice. Instead, to meet clients’ expectations and needs today, agencies must be able to provide experts in specific industries, in the most up-to-date and proven communications tools, in reaching different kinds of stakeholders, and in experts who can flawlessly apply and execute on-the-ground knowledge in local markets as necessary.