I know what you are thinking, yet another article on the impact of Brexit. Well I have got news for you, this one is not all doom and gloom. As we plan for the future, as a medium size agency, we started thinking about what the impact of Brexit is likely to be and how we can adapt. There is no doubt that Brexit will certainly threaten London’s position as the hub of PR in Europe, but there is no cause for despondency.
For agencies, uncertainty brings with it opportunity. People and businesses will be more reliant than ever on good communications to differentiate themselves, and their brand, from others in the market. But that will also mean the competition is fierce and agencies will need to price themselves competitively and be more innovative than ever to retain their clients and win new ones.
Our own reputations will be more valuable than ever. People will want to work with practitioners that they can trust. So, word-of-mouth and personal networks will continue to be a significant driver of new business opportunities for agencies of all sizes, regardless of the outcome of Brexit negotiations and any trading arrangement. More than ever the fundamentals of client services – responsiveness, trust, and results – will be the key.
However, while there is room for comfort, there is none for complacency. Brexit will have an adverse impact on a number of key financial and professional services sectors and it is yet unknown what the impact will be in terms of attracting and finding talent; already challenging, this may only get tougher as the uncertainty around Brexit lingers.
It may also mean that the UK, and indeed London, loses its place as the centre of European PR. However, we can also take steps to insulate ourselves from the impact of Brexit by ensuring an agency is not to London/UK centric. This may mean increasing investment in other parts of the globe or making inroads into and expanding our client base in international markets, such as the United States, Israel and the Middle East. Over the last couple of years we have seen our business move to more and more territories and this is something that we can build on. If we look at the future as a global market, then there is no reason that Brexit will be a barrier. We live in an era where PR is truly global and whilst, undoubtedly, agencies may see some instability over the longer-term if we adhere to the age-old PR virtues of high quality service, creativity and hard graft to encourage loyalty and retain business, we will be able to weather the storm.
The nation has voted for change, the problem is that nobody knows what that change looks like. Where there is uncertainty, the void is normally filled with negativity. We must not fall for the hype. If we stay positive, remember to spend time on business planning and developing a long-term strategy to insulate ourselves from the impact of Brexit, there is no reason why we will not continue to succeed.
Laura Moss is co-managing director at The PR Office.