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Updated: Oct 23, 2018

The PRCA announced today that George and I are to chair a new PRCA working group to champion the burgeoning “virtual agency” segment within the PR industry. We'll be supported by the rest of the PRN management team and are actively recruiting founding members from fellow virtual agencies, with details TBC shortly.


As identified by PR Week, and backed up by our own Pulse research earlier this year, virtual agencies are a growing sub-sector of the industry. We've been doing this since 2005 and now have a network of 1800 senior associates worldwide, but there are many boutique firms using the same / similar model to great success in the UK and beyond. Big brands are now considering us alongside traditional agencies for a wide range of briefs, in contrast to previous years when a virtual agency might have been considered a ‘wild card’ choice.


We've noticed significant appetite from large clients over the past 18 months and approached the PRCA to discuss setting up a new group with its support, to further drive growth and development of the category. We are already working with some amazing clients including Dropbox, Lexus, Sophos, Toyota, Vodafone and Zipcar, on a huge variety of PR and AR programmes, to give just a few examples of large companies “going virtual”.


Francis Ingham MPRCA, Director General, PRCA, said: “Virtual agencies are becoming increasingly popular across the PR and communications industry, so I’m thrilled to be working with Nicky and George to launch this new PRCA Sectoral Group and help better meet the growing needs of our members working in virtual businesses.”


The aim of the group will be to discuss the opportunities and challenges offered to agile companies who categorise themselves as ‘virtual’, or borderless, and to develop initiatives that drive the sector forward.


Several founding group members have already been confirmed and we will be hosting our first event with the PRCA soon. Please contact nicky@thepr.network if you're a board director or owner of a virtual agency and would like to be involved as a founding group member.


#virtualpragenciesgroup

@PRCA_UK

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  • Russ Read-Barrow

Over the last week we launched (or re-launched) another superb personal finance course for The Open University Business School. We combined a stonkingly good piece of consumer research, with OU academics, consumer case studies and the UK's favourite maths teacher - Bobby Seagull - and boy did we deliver the goods.


2x TV interviews (BBC News and Sky News)

3x national newspapers

20x online/print articles

165 radio stations (including BBC Radio 5)

... and counting.


It doesn't get much better than that. Even if we do say so ourselves.




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Updated: Sep 26, 2018


We spend a lot of time working in our home offices and co-working spaces across the UK (we're virtual - we may have mentioned this before!), so for us last week was a combination of a step back in time, and a giant leap forward.


We were part of the multi-agency team supporting the UK's first 5G holographic call, for our client Vodafone. The call took place between Manchester City and England star Steph Houghton in Manchester, and a young fan in Newbury. The hologram of Steph was flawless, and highlights were some keepy-ups and a holographic high five!  It was a perfectly co-ordinated event, it got a great reception from media, analysts and the broader audience, and the pictures/video speak for themselves. 

England football captain, Steph Houghton makes history with first holographic phone call.



It offered a glimpse of what 5G can do, and some insight with regards how we can all expect to benefit from this technology in the next 18 months. Imagine a virtual PR team, based across multiple countries, coming together in hologram form in a meeting room in your office to bash out the next campaign idea. No need for flights, no need for time wasted travelling across the world - you wouldn't even need to provide coffee!


The step back in time came in the form of an old school newsroom at Vodafone HQ (memories of agency life in the naughties), with multiple agencies working together to pitch the story to all parts of the UK press. We handled the regional media, feeding the relevant parts of the story to our associates in Birmingham, Manchester, Oxford, Glasgow, Cardiff and Bristol, and letting them work their magic. All the agencies worked very well together, urging each other along, and we are looking at over 150 pieces of coverage in less than 24 hours... and it's still coming.


We're super proud of our regional network who played an important part in such a technological milestone, and for helping to make such a great day.


As for the impact this technology will one day have on the way we work, well all I can say is...'Beam me up Scotty!'





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