Arun Sudhaman 14 Jun 2011 // 11:00PM GMT
CHICAGO--GolinHarris has unveiled a significant restructuring of its agency model, following a year-long planning process designed to help the Interpublic agency capitalise on the dramatic changes affecting the global PR industry.
The firm is aiming to dispense with the traditional ‘pyramid’ structure that has emerged around commoditised media relations, instead adopting distinct groups that will focus on four specialist areas. The agency’s overall goal is to double its size to $250m.
The G4 model will split the firm’s talent base into strategists (for insight), creators (for content) and connectors (for engagement). Linking them all are catalysts, who essentially act as account leaders.
“As our world evolves, so do the needs of our clients,” said GolinHarris global CEO Fred Cook. “They are searching for new, innovative ways to engage employees and customers. We get that. That’s why, after 55 years, we’ve completely redesigned our agency to combine strategy, creativity and engagement into one seamless package that is delivered to clients – big and small.”
The inclusion of planning and content creation units is a nod to the way PR agencies are revamping their services to meet shifting client requirements. The importance of insight, and the need to develop compelling content ideas, are two trends that are converging to redefine modern public relations.
“We’d rather change whilst we can now from a position of strength,” said GH European co-MD Jon Hughes. “The way the industry is structured right now is not sustainable.”
The new model will remain overlaid with traditional practice areas that continue to report into local management. GolinHarris becomes the latest in a series of agencies that have tried - to varying degrees - to tinker with their models. However, the Interpublic firm’s efforts, which will be rollled out across its global network over the next 12 months, may be the most ambitious to date.
“In principle, this new model makes sense – the challenges brands face in communicating to consumers in this digital age are dramatically different to those we faced just five years ago,” says William Grant & Sons head of brand communication David Hume, a GH client. “With that in mind, having specialists with specific skills we can call upon feels like something we would clearly benefit from.”
Perhaps the most tangible demonstration of the firm’s new approach is ‘The Bridge’, a central conversation monitoring platform that will aim to link its global units on a real-time basis. The agency has also unveiled idea-harvesting system ‘BrightCollective’, and media modeling tool ‘Brand Channel’.
Next week, the Holmes Report will publish an in-depth analysis of GolinHarris’ ambitious attempt to redefine its offering.