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GolinHarris redesigns agency model

Published on Friday, 18 May 2012
GolinHarris’ Jeremy Walker hires outside the PR field.
Photo: GolinHarris

In response to the ever-growing demand from its public relations clients for multi-platform campaigns, communications agency GolinHarris has re-engineered the way it conducts its business.

"As media boundaries have shifted, the practice of public relations (PR) has evolved within digital and other social media channels," says Jeremy Walker, managing director for GolinHarris Hong Kong. "We must now compete, not only with the top PR firms, but also with digital and social media outlets and traditional advertising agencies."

The new approach, dubbed the g4 model by GolinHarris, combines four areas of expertise into a single entity.

By abandoning traditional PR titles such as account executive, Waker says GolinHarris strategists, creators, connectors and catalysts combine strategy, creativity and engagement into one seamless package for clients. "We have created teams of specialists with very specific skill sets and areas of expertise. This is exactly what clients told us they want and need," explains the seasoned communications boss.

With existing employees assigned new titles according to their area of expertise, GolinHarris - which has a network of 38 offices worldwide - has also revamped its recruiting process.

"We are no longer looking to bring in communications generalists. Instead, we hire talent outside the traditional PR sector," says Walker, adding that in terms of workplace competencies, the firm looks for measureable characteristics which can be a skill, an attribute or even an attitude.

"Skills can definitely be strengthened, but it certainly helps to have natural talent. It's important to remember that learning and skills-building can happen both inside and outside a classroom," says Walker.

He says GolinHarris strategists are essentially seen as business analysts who understand the forces that can impact a client's future. Creators, meanwhile, are bold thinkers gifted at generating game-changing ideas, as well as consummate storytellers who design and produce content which brings those stories to life.

Connectors are experts who engage consumer and business audiences through social and mainstream media channels to share compelling stories. Working across all disciplines and applying best-practices, catalysts drive the integrated execution of campaigns.

"Clients expect communications partners to be creative, bringing them big ideas that drive public dialogue, promote awareness and inspire interest," says Walker.

The GolinHarris Bridge, for example, comprises real-time media engagement centres that enable teams of media connectors to interact with social and traditional media outlets in real time.

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