As you may have heard on the PR grapevine, read on Gorkana or in PR Week, I’m heading for the Band & Brown exit.
First off, I would like to thank Band & Brown who have been amazing employers for the last seven (almost eight) years! I’ve learnt so much from everyone I have worked with there, especially Fiona Longhurst and the two founders Nick Band & Gill Brown.
So why am I leaving?
Quite simply, I feel I work best when I’m campaigning.
I want to focus on delivering campaigns for organisations that will change understanding, attitudes and behaviour though creating awareness, advocacy and action.
And, I think it is pretty obvious that my real passion is doing this in the charitable, NGO, public, CSR and even political arena.
Also, I’ve long argued that the PR agency of the future will look very different from any traditional model.
In an earlier blog post, I suggested that there are three options left to PR agencies:
1. Either join with a group of like-minded marketing agencies and look to integrate the best of each discipline.
2. Concentrate on being as good as you can be in PR, be clear where you sit in the mix and work on an equal footing with other disciplines. This it seems is the route favoured by the ‘old boys’ of PR and those in the big WPP-like groups.
3. Just start again. Create a marketing agency from scratch, which is equipped for the 21st Century.
The third way is, quite simply, the most exciting and is the most likely to be able to deliver for the clients I want to work with.
Its also not just start-ups and smaller agencies that can take this route – GolinHarris has received industry accolades for its brave restructuring.
Just as the PR industry should never be afraid of innovation, it also needs to embrace collaboration more. I look forward to working with agencies and in-house teams who share my outlook on the future of communications.
So this is certainly not to say I’m ruling out ever working with delivery teams at big agencies in the future. In fact, that’s what I’ll be doing in the immediate future.
I will be continuing my campaigning work and will act as a communications consultant to WorldSkills London 2011 until October and continue to advise the team at Band & Brown working for housing and care provider Anchor.
And if you share these values, I’d love to have a cuppa or a pint to talk about future projects – you can contact me on twitter @si_francis or through LinkedIn. And this blog will most definitely be staying…
Thanks for reading!