Futurist (and friend) Ross Dawson writes below on four opportunities he thinks PR agencies need to embrace to survive: brand co-creation, increasing brand transparency, shift to visual communications and the rise of branded content. 

I agree that they're all important opportunities, and some may actually be make-or-break moments for agencies, but they all point to some underlying traits that I think really are crucial to survival:

  1. Agility: agencies of the near future will need to stretch themselves into all kinds of shapes, structures and partnerships to meet the complex and varied needs of clients.  It's less about big or small, and more about elasticity and ease-of-use for clients. 
  2. Diversity: lots of work to do on gender and much greater ethnic and racial diversity - and just as importantly, access to a far wider range professional talent: producers, lawyers, anthropologists, analysts, designers ... the list goes on.  I say 'access' because they may not need to be full-time hires, but the reality is that they may come at the expense of 'traditional' agency types.
  3. Alacrity: it's impossible to overstate how fast things are changing and how quickly we need to respond, if not actually get ahead. 

I'm sometimes criticised for exaggerating the need and speed for change, which may be fair.  I guess if I overstate things by a factor of two and our teams respond with half the speed I'm suggesting, we'll hit our stride at just the right speed. 

But it's only a question of when, not whether. 

Thanks for the ideas, Ross, and the post, Emma.