Yesterday we shared some of the many third-party predictions and analyses of the Publicis/Omnicom merger and what it will mean to the future of the advertising and marketing industries. To recap: On the financial front, industry revenue totals will probably stay steady—but the organization of the game will undoubtedly change.
The next question: what role will PR firms and professionals play in this new arrangement?
Richard Edelman believes that PR will act as “part of the supporting cast” in this ongoing soap opera in order to back up the newest and biggest players, Digital and Data. In other words (via The New York Times), it’s all about the mega-agencies chasing Google to reach more targeted users via Big Data number crunching.
Yet, despite this hyper-focus on math nerds, Edelman writes that individual “thought leader” voices within the PR industry will grow even more valuable as they bring crucial “small data” research and insights to the table that no Google analytics study can provide. Jack Marshall of Digiday even argues that the role of Big Data has been overstated because the numbers ultimately belong to clients, not agencies (and that the whole thing is really an accounting issue).
Back to our main query: how dramatic will the change be for PR?