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Communications Disruption | Inside the Driving Forces of Disruptive Innovation

Tue, 07/07/2015

By James Warren , Head of Digital, UK and EMEA, MSLGROUP

The communications industry has been far from immune to the forces of innovative disruption. Its tectonic plates are constantly shifting in order to represent an evolving landscape of brands where stalwarts rub shoulders with startups.

communications disruption_james

PR is on the frontline of disruption; other agencies will be able to get you reach, impressions and frequency, but will people trust the message? Is it credible? That’s where PR and communications comes in…

– Jeff Melton, SVP, Global Technology & Platforms, MSLGROUP

One of the biggest changes has been the changing role of PR to become much more central to a brand’s business strategy. As James Warren, head of digital UK and EMEA at MSLGROUP points out:

‘If you analyse what a brand or organisation needs to deliver marketing success in the digital age, the result is a long list of PR outputs.’

What’s more, PR agencies are frequently the first agency to which a technology start-up reaches out. As these nascent companies seek to secure venture funding and publicise their story, PR agencies are often guiding them behind the scenes. That gives PR agencies something of an edge over other communications companies in terms of understanding new tech.

‘PR is on the frontline of disruption,’

says Jeff Melton

He explains:

‘Other agencies will be able to get you reach, impressions and frequency, but will people trust the message? Is it credible? That’s where PR and communications comes in: we are better at getting people’s attention. We earn trust because we bring the message of emerging companies and it’s much more credible. And that’s probably going to be the most important thing that a young emerging disrupting company needs. They may not need mass and frequency, but they do need credibility.’

Integrated strategy

Historically, PR and other communications disciplines like advertising used to collaborate rarely on client business. But as innovative disruption has presented more challenges and opportunities, clients are requiring more integrated strategy and execution from their communications partners.

Melton points out:

‘It’s less about roles and responsibilities and more about an agency’s ability to put together the pieces in the smartest way. That’s what clients are seeking.’

Download our Cannes Lions special publication- Inside the Driving Forces of Disruptive Innovation

Inside the Driving Forces of Disruptive Innovation by MSLGROUP

James Warren


Previously Global Chief Creative Officer, Digital at Weber Shandwick, James blends strategic consultancy, creative thinking and digital nous to help clients solve their communications needs. He is responsible for delivering integrated content-led digital solutions through our award-winning digital teams. Connect with him on Twitter @jamesdotwarren

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