By Robert Udowitz
The National Capital Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America and the National Press Club held a private program for the leaders of D.C.’s PR and digital agencies on May 19 titled, “Staying Profitable, Sustainable and Legal in the New Economy.” The event, held at the National Press Club featured two prominent NYC-based consultants to the public relations industry.
The evening began with an opening from Thomas Burr, NPC president and Washington correspondent for The Salt Lake Tribune, along with Sultana Ali, APR, PRSA-NCC president and a communications officer at the Pew Charitable Trusts. More than 25 heads of local firms of all sizes were in attendance.
Rick Gould of Gould+Partners discussed how to manage an agency for greater growth and value. As an expert in agency mergers and acquisitions, Gould shared his firm’s research on the most profitable billing practices and how to build a high-performance staffing strategy. He also presented preliminary results of G+P’s 2016 agency benchmarking survey. Gould also discussed elements of his new book, Doing It the Right Way: 13 Crucial Steps For a Successful PR Agency Merger or Acquisition.
Michael Lasky, a partner at the New York City law firm of Davis & Gilbert LLP and chair of its PR & Law Practice, addressed current trends and issues affecting PR firms and professionals. He emphasized how agencies can reduce business and legal risks in creating content and in providing social media services for their clients. Lasky also discussed employment issues and areas of restrictive covenants and the movement of talent between competitive organizations.
Moderator Don Bates, a consultant to Gould+Partners, educator and former agency owner, shared some of his research into how PR agencies can address the need to become increasingly digital and find staff who can handle the digital direction of visionary agencies.
This PRSA-NCC program was designed for local executives to help them focus on the issues that make or break agency success. Each of the speakers has worked with large agencies as well as small. Throughout the event they offered dozens of actionable ideas for rising to or staying at the top of the PR agency business, competing better, making more money, increasing agency value and staying out of legal trouble.