Finding the best PR firm for your needs in a digital age is something that requires a good understanding of both SEO, online PR and the overall ecosystem we operate in today. The concepts behind public relations firms and agencies have existed for centuries. Communication, and the way in which businesses interact with their consumers, has always been an important aspect of any industry. Despite this, the existence of agencies and firms dedicated to public relations is relatively new given the circumstances.
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The first institutional form of PR can be attributed to Ivy Lee, who was an informant for the Rockerfellers. Since then, PR agencies have become an indispensable part of the media. They are used by small and large corporations alike. In addition to this, they have adapted to the digital age in a novel and innovative way. Top PR firms have quickly adopted digital marketing, as well as influencer marketing, into their list of services. This has allowed PR agencies to flourish beyond the formats of traditional media.
What is a PR Agency or Firm?
PR, or public relations, has historically been used to define an agency that deals with the media. However, this definition has evolved and changed over the years, and now refers to a wide variety of services and tools that operate within the media. PR, now, is often interchangeable with marketing. The digital age has forced PR agencies to accept and include aspects of digital marketing into their services. This can include SEO work, or social media management.
Simply put: PR is a means of obtaining influence, securing reputation, and maintaining authentic engagement through effective and authentic media communication on behalf of organizations. The ultimate goal for PR agencies is to ensure profitability for their clients, and to manage brand-consumer interactions.
What Services do PR Agencies Provide?
PR agencies provide a variety of services, and what they are willing to offer is often dictated by the clients’ goals. Brands can request the assistance of PR agencies to create and maintain brand awareness, or increase organic traffic to their websites. Similarly, many brands seek out PR agencies to deflect or navigate bad publicity or reputations. This illustrates that PR agencies are largely used as a vehicle for a brand to access consumers and speak to them at a public level. Most large scale corporations have a dedicated PR agency that they work with consistently. This is due to the fact that brands need to have constant access to their consumers, and possess the ability to communicate with them. PR agencies have been used across multiple media platforms for years, but the digital age has heightened the urgency for brands to have a PR team or agency at all times. Social media has increased the frequency in which brands communicate with their consumers and, as a result, their communications need to be standardized and expressed in the best possible way.
Types of PR Agencies
Whilst it is common for PR agencies to offer a fully-comprehensive list of services; many agencies focus their efforts on a specific area of the media, or PR services. Common PR agency categories include:
- B2B Agencies – These agencies create media campaigns for businesses that target their audiences. The aim of these campaigns is to grow relationships between businesses and their consumers. The intended goal is to secure and maintain purchases, followers, and engagement. These agencies often offer media relations services, product launches, and consumer engagement management.
- Social media marketing – Interestingly, social media marketing agencies can, and frequently do, fall under the umbrella of PR. These agencies focus almost exclusively on either brand awareness or public communication for brands across their various social media platforms. However, social media marketing agencies often focus on SEO work as well. In addition to this, social media management is a service that many social media marketing agencies provide.
- B2C PR – Agencies that specialize in B2C campaigns aid and encourage consumers to communicate and engage with brands. This allows brands to develop authentic followings, and increase visibility and brand awareness. Many B2C agencies focus on influencer management and marketing, as well as provide creative services like content creation and copywriting.
Top PR Agencies to Watch:
There are countless PR agencies in the world. Many focus on PR for brands that are based in the country that they operate in, however, there are multiple agencies that operate within a global setting.
So many other good PR agencies also deserve to be on this list as they have great reviews: users on Trustpilot love them – so yes, it was a hard task to choose the best agency objectively.
Launch A New Product – Hire The Best PR Agency In Town:
The below list details the 10 best PR agencies that work for a global clientele.
Golin is a longstanding PR agency that has worked with an enormous clientele, consisting of major corporations. The agency is dedicated to creating an inclusive and diverse space for their team. Moreover, when working with influencers, the agency strives to include diverse talent from a variety of communities. Golin has done work for Pepsi, MacDonald’s, and Porshe. Whilst the agency is global, their offices are based across the US. Golin offers a variety of services within the agency, some of these services include: media relations, influencer marketing, research and recruitment, and social media management.
Golin has stellar reviews on Featured Customers, as well as positive reviews on Comparably. Matt Neale is the CEO of the agency.
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Edelman is a global PR agency that works to highlight and promote brands, and ensure that they are received well by audiences. The agency is frequently considered the top agency in the world. Edelman was founded in 1952. The agency is also considered the largest PR agency in the world, with their fee income for 2020 being $840 million. Edelman has done work for IKEA, KFC, and Dove.
Edelman has great reviews on G2, Comparably, and Featured Customers. The agency’s CEO is Richard Edelman.
BCW is a fully-comprehensive PR agency. The agency is global and has offices all around the world. This allows BCW to serve a broad clientele with specificity and care. The agency has worked with Nokia, 21st Century Fox, Coca-Cola, andFedEx. BCW is largely concerned with data, research and insights, and uses this to provide the greatest ROI for their clients. The agency provides services across a variety of media platforms, including digital services for social media.
BCW has positive reviews on Featured Customer and other platforms. The agency’s CEO is Donna Imperato.
4. H+K Strategies
H+K Strategies is a PR agency that places an emphasis on helping brands with product launches, advertising, and public communication. The agency has worked with brands like Budweiser, Mazda, and Colgate. H+K Strategies has their own proprietary research, data and insights system, and uses this to manage and produce effective campaigns for their clients. The agency is based in New York, but works closely with European, Asian and African brands. This allows them to possess the title of a global agency.
The agency has positive reviews on G2 and Comparably, but does not have any active reviews on Trustpilot or Clutch. The CEO of H+K Strategies is Jack Martin.
5. 5W Public Relations
5W Public Relations is a fully-comprehensive PR agency that is based in New York. The agency creates media campaigns for influential brands across a variety of industries, including: Food, Fashion, Health, and Beauty. The agency provides a variety of services, like influencer marketing, media relations, and general B2B marketing. Notably 5W Public Relations was the recipient of the PR Agency of The Year award in 2020. This is an indication of the high level of their work, as well as their contributions to brands. The agency has done work for L’Oréal, Payless, and SodaStream.
The agency has positive reviews on Clutch, Comparably, and Featured Customers. Ronn Torossian is the founder and chairman of the agency, with Dara A. Busch and Matthew Caiola acting as co-CEOs.
6. Sard Verbinnen & Co
Sard Verbinnen & Co considers itself to be a financial communications specialist. The agency is notable due to its 25 years of experience in the industry. This is a unique PR company on the list, as they help clients in the financial sector communicate effectively. The agency works to help companies build impactful reputations, and also collaborate during transformation or mergers. This helps companies improve their profitability and legacy. The agency provides services such as: cybersecurity, media relations, governance, and mergers.
The agency does not have any reviews on Clutch, Comparably, or Trustpilot. George Sard is the CEO and chairman of Sard Verbinnen & Co.
FleishmanHillard is a PR agency that was formed in 1946. The agency is considered the fourth largest PR agency globally. The agency has worked with brands like Samsung, Philips, Levis, and Pepsico. The agency’s website highlights three notions: ‘brand,’ ‘Reputation,’ and ‘experience.’ The agency utilizes data, research and insights, to elevate the brand and reputation of any business, and ensures a high level of experience. FleishmanHillard offers a number of services, including: reputation management, B2B, and marketing.
FleishmanHillard has positive reviews on G2, but does not have any active reviews on Clutch or Trustpilot. The agency’s CEO is John Saunders, who is also the president of the company.
Ketchum operates as both a PR firm and a full-comprehensive communications consultancy. This means that the company offers marketing solutions alongside their media relations services. The agency incorporates data and research into their creatively driven campaigns. Ketchum has worked with clients across multiple industries, including: health, food, retail and technology. The agency considers itself an expert in B2B marketing, content creation, media relations, and influencer marketing. Ketchum has offices across the globe, making it a global agency that provides services for an international market. The agency has worked with brands like, Gillette, McDonalds, and Nespresso. The agency is currently ranked as the fifth largest PR agency in the world.
Ketchum currently has positive reviews on Comparably, G2 and Facebook. The agency’s CEO is Rob Flaherty.
Ogilvy is a firm that was founded in 1948. The agency states that, “We continue that rich legacy through borderless creativity—operating, innovating, and creating at the intersection of talent and capabilities. Our experts in Public Relations, Consulting, Advertising, Health, and Experience work fluidly across 131 offices in 93 countries.” This illustrates the global nature of Ogilvy. The agency has done work for brands like Dove, Honda, and Coca Cola. Ogilvy operates as a fully-comprehensive firm, and incorporates digital marketing, research, and recruitment into their strategy.
Ogilvy has largely positive reviews on Facebook and Comparably. John Seifert is the CEO of the agency.
Narva is an agency that is primarily based in Sweden, and was founded in 2000. This is a smaller agency on the list, however, it has been impactful and successful despite its size. The agency was honored with the title of, ‘Nordic Agency of the year,’ in 2018. The agency aims to reach a global audience and market, irrespective of their home base in Sweden. The agency claims to be experts in the areas of: market communication, brand awareness, media relations, and reputation management.
Narva does not have any active reviews on Clutch or Trustpilot. The agency’s CEO is Frida Dahlgren.
Final take: With more than 200 decent PR agencies in the world, there is no shortage of choice. However very few do a good job of SEO and PR combined.
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Conclusion on PR Agency Selection:
Firstly, bigger does not mean better. The biggest PR agencies might lack focus. You might want to look beyond the top 10 PR agencies to find a reasonable price and good coverage. International PR agencies with strong networks are also preferred for global companies, or specific projects when entering a new market.
Launching a new product and speaking to investors through classic “investor relations” are different activities. Whereas some agencies have copywriters that take care of advertorial content, others will probably hire ex lawyers or legal graduates to take care of copywriting for investor relations – in order to please the FTC. It is thus clear that although it is possible to hire a PR agency that is multi-sector orientated, requesting samples and ensuring a great fit for your industry is an important step when picking the best PR agency. It is therefore that “boutique” agencies exist with specific team skills and industry connections.