The future of PR: Adapt, or be left behind

Organizations that are ready to restructure their business models might want to rethink how they charge clients. Here’s what one pro advises.

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Many PR pros are familiar with the “client request.”

A decade ago, I spoke with a colleague about that very thing. The request was for a specific high-level government cabinet official to speak at their summit conference. My colleague asked the client what it would be worth to them if he could deliver, and the client blurted out, “$50,000 in fees.”

Although this practice was frowned upon in the PR industry at that time, my colleague agreed to the terms. What the client did not know was that my colleague knew this person rather well and tapped into that relationship. He got $50,000 for about a five-minute call. Clearly he got paid for value, rather than billable hours, which is the most prevalent model today for PR agencies.

Data from a recent USC Annenberg study show that a value-based billing model, which focuses on business outcomes rather than hours of outputs, will eventually be preferred—especially on the client side. RELATED: How to eliminate corporate jargon and drive business performance with improved communications techniques.

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