Professional services companies are trending towards becoming one-stop shops, increasingly adding new practice group areas to expand their capabilities. A 2021 LexisNexis report about the legal industry says that there is an “environment where a smaller number of large firms are competing for the same corporate clients.”
Successful law firms thrive in part because they can serve clients in a variety of law practice areas and legal markets. Professional services firms are doing the same – ramping up their capabilities across global markets by adding practice areas. However, that has a long-reaching impact on the existing PR strategy.
Here are four tactics for a successful public relations program for professional services companies working in multiple practice areas.
1.Maintain clear priorities
Organizations should give priority to practice areas where they are most knowledgeable and have the most expertise, and the space in which they likely have a majority of clients.
However, this does not mean that practice areas an organization is working to expand should be ignored. Revenue, or the potential for revenue, as well as expertise are deciding factors for allocating PR resources to a business area. Depending on industry trends, an area of your practice may require more visibility as it is being developed.
The latter relies on PR as the primary element driving growth, while the former requires a PR strategy to support current growth. It’s essential to employ marketing communications and PR to drive business success – and being intentional with how PR efforts are used is vital.
2. Understand the current media landscape
The media landscape in the digital age is always evolving and media cycles become faster. News travels at lightning speed and many small to mid-size businesses rely on their PR firms to keep up with the evolving media landscape to be able to concentrate on developing new areas of business. Additionally, there is also the threat of false news spreading quicker than true stories, especially via social media. This is particularly important when companies are deploying PR to advance the growth of new practice groups.
An effective PR strategy requires a PR team to provide a thorough media analysis and filters the media landscape for “media and coverage that matters.” If a company operates across global media markets, a PR team should be able to tailor the positioning of various practice areas in specific media markets to build visibility and recognition for the firm that is aligned with the firm’s business objectives in that country.
3. Build Credibility
An organization needs an effective strategy to position itself as an industry expert across the broad array of areas to build credibility in each respective vertical. A PR team should conduct in-depth interviews with key executives and assess their ability to serve as effective spokespeople for specific practice areas and global markets. A strong, articulate, and knowledgeable spokesperson is a prerequisite to engage target audiences and build long-lasting relationships with the media. This may take the form of an in-person, or a virtual interview, written commentary, or placement of thought leadership pieces. These strategies will promote trust and credibility of a brand as a recognized leader in the field. This is what will drive the visibility of new capabilities with the media.
4. Articulate a compelling and fresh perspective
A firm should work closely with its PR team to articulate a new slate of compelling perspectives that are relevant to the fast-paced media cycles. A fresh perspective will maximize ways to build interest in new practice groups. A highly engaged target audience that sees your perspective as relevant and new can result in strategic partnerships, new business leads, and help build the firm’s credibility.
Having a strong brand recognition across verticals is essential for supporting growth across the whole business. However, being known for specific expertise takes time and companies should strategically allocate their PR resources to ensure that the practice areas they are well-known for are still mentioned in the media as they build name recognition for new capabilities across global markets.