Celebrating half a decade at Neo PR: How the industry and Neo has changed
So, 2019 marks my fifth anniversary at Neo PR (please send bottles of champagne!) and it’s provided me with the opportunity to not only reflect on everything we’ve achieved as a business but how our industry, and those of our clients, have evolved during this time.
When I started writing this blog, the list of changes was rather long so I had to narrow it down. I’ve settled on three key industry changes – how we run PR campaigns, our clients’ online presence and keeping the buzz of the campaign. Plus, three key changes at Neo PR.
How the PR industry has changed in the last 5 years
1. Retainers? Projects? Both?
When I first started out in PR, and when I first joined Neo PR, working with clients was all about having a retainer, building a long-term relationship and developing a campaign with longevity that crossed many parts of a business, if not all of them, and one that successfully ran in parallel and supported overall sales. Then, the focus changed and we saw a rise in the number of requests for more small, short-term projects, as businesses rode the rocky waves of economic uncertainty and were, understandably, hesitant to plan too far into the future.
PR projects certainly have their place in PR, but times have recently changed again and retainer agreements, especially in B2B, are making a comeback and are here to stay.
2. The growth of social media & Influencers
Wow, yes. Social media and how we communicate with each other has definitely been one of the biggest changes. This time, five years ago, many clients were still dipping their toes into social media. Some weren’t as eager as others at first and couldn’t see the immediate benefit to the business but, as with a PR strategy, for a social media strategy to succeed, everyone has to be on board. Following some initial resistance (by a few!), all of our clients now have social media firmly fixed within their campaigns.
Social media and PR go hand in hand in our eyes and if your customers are on it, you’re going to want to be too. The use of Influencers within both B2B and B2C marketing has also increased dramatically over the past five years, and it’s an area that many have yet to adopt but certainly an industry that is growing.
3. The boom of Buzzwords
That term in itself is a buzzword and has crept in more. Neo PR actually has a buzzword for 2019 – Campaign, as our Director, Jo, revealed at the start of the year in her Neo Year, New Resolve blog.
Here are just a few of the buzzwords we encounter daily: Personalisation, Omni-channel, Customer Centricity, Big Data, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), Digital Transformation (DX), Voice Recognition (VR), Robotics, Industry 4.0, Blockchain, Millennials, GDPR, the Amazon effect… I could go on and don’t get me started on the number of acronyms in all industries, including ours.
How Neo PR has changed in the last 5 years
1. Our team and client base
I joined Neo PR as a Senior Account Manager and I’ve had the pleasure of watching colleagues start with us a Junior Account Executive and work their way up to management level, having achieved some fantastic milestones within the company and results for their clients. Our team is important to Neo PR and the business continues to invest in us. Over the past five years, we’ve grown our culture (something we are very proud of having been in the list of Top 25 SME Culture Leaders in 2018) and have introduced initiatives such as more flexible working so that we can find that work life balance everyone strives for, which is all part of the Neo PR Vision. Our team socials and Christmas parties also keep getting better and better. We actually have some more great ideas that have just been announced to the team so watch this space!
It’s not just about the relationships that we form together but building strong relationships with our clients is something that we’re extremely passionate about. We want to be an extension of their marketing teams and become fully emerged in their business. We’re really lucky that we have clients in so many different industries and of different sizes – it makes our portfolio so interesting. We work very hard for our clients and want to help increase their brand awareness, position them as industry experts and ultimately, have a long-standing partnership with them.
2. Growth and rankings
In 2019, we entered #32 in PR Week’s list of top 150 technology agencies, up four places since 2018!
We’ve been finalists in the SME MK & Buckinghamshire Business Awards and have been named as one of the Top 10 Tech PR Agencies Outside of London (as highlighted above!) We’ve launched a brand-new website and have had a complete refurb of the office, which looks like you’re stepping into our website! Our branding is very important to us!
Culture is very important to us at Neo PR – you only have to have a quick scroll through our Instagram page to see that we like to work hard and play hard! With a growing millennial workforce, we have prioritised our culture to create a place where our team want to work and that attracts new employees.
We love a bit of the sweet stuff at Neo PR and with some very talented bakers amongst the team, and many moments of celebration, we often give our taste buds a baked treat. We also love food in general and enjoy nothing more than going out together to explore the culinary delights of Buckingham, Milton Keynes and London. This said, we are big supports of health and wellbeing and exercise plays a part in the business, through our quarterly socials and in many individuals’ working days, which helps when we are located on a business unit within a farm so have access to field walks and all live within a 40-minute drive from the office. A shorter journey between home and work does makes it easier to do something fitness related in the mornings, after work or even during lunch. I mean, Jo trained for the London Marathon in 2015 so we got a shower in the office – no excuses!
And, whilst our MD is not actually one of our talented bakers (he is, of course, talented in many other ways), he actually used baking terminology within our own PR back in 2014, my first year at Neo PR (this may be a surprise to many) and I have proof! One of his first blogs was called PR tastes better when it’s baked slowly… this is still true today but how times have changed in so many other ways.