James Wright
CEO
Red Havas

We live in a time of redefinition and restructuring. With the future promised to no one type of agency, new ideas must be at the core of an agency’s strength and growth as it chooses its path forward.

Red Havas has developed a proposition to meet this challenge: Merged Media. Earned media has always been a core strength for PR. But in a world of evolving strategies, it is not enough to own the earned, we must also now own the owned.

Additionally, we must embrace paid in a strategic way—social pay-to-play, media partnerships, native, CRM targeting and beyond.

We must have the ability to integrate across content types and sources, delivering to customers, clients, and consumers at pace.

Stories sit at the core of brand messaging, but storytelling must be able to keep pace as well. Merged Media agencies don’t just tell stories, they recognize and strategize around the multimedia world to create borderless stories that can live in any channel. Because the message starts with the story, not with the channel.

This proposition points to key components driving the transformation of agencies: investments in data and content, but also emerging technologies such as AI and predictive analytics, which are expanding the capabilities of the Merged Media agency to an unprecedented degree. The result is no less than a complete redefinition of PR capability.

Along with the expansion of native capabilities comes the need for thinkers who reflect the entrepreneurial and ambitious scope of the Merged Media agency. Today’s PR practitioners must think in ways that pull fragmented ideas and content into a coherent and strategic whole story.

There is no question that the talent coming in and out of the doors of the agency every day will remain an agency’s best asset. An agency’s culture must reflect that, with flexibility and accountability merging inside the agency walls, just as it does outside them.

I believe that in two or three years’ time we will look back at this period and see it for what it is—the birth of a new era for modern day public relations.