US PR industry defends standards in New York

The US PR industry has hit back at criticisms of New York agencies, after UK firms dubbed them 'bog-standard'.

Big Apple: New York-bound UK firms will have to cope with scale
Big Apple: New York-bound UK firms will have to cope with scale

As the latest raft of UK agencies launch outlets in New York, Diffusion MD Daljit Bhurji and John Doe executive director Adam Thomas claimed on PRWeek TV that the city represents an opportunity for UK firms as standards are currently low there.

Bhurji told PRWeek that he has heard clients complain that they have 'paid through the nose for what they describe as bog-standard PR' in New York.

Thomas, meanwhile, claimed that while working client-side at companies such as Vertu and Motorola he 'struggled to find ... good agencies that I was happy with'.

Public Relations Society of America associate director Stephanie Cegielski countered by stating that 'making broad generalisations about the behaviour of PR firms in New York is untenable.

'As with any industry, PR has its share of good and bad firms. Not all clients are satisfied with the service they receive, the result of which is that they may take their business elsewhere.'

The comments come as Liberty Comms announced it is opening an office in the US, following Diffusion, John Doe, TVC and Frank PR. US team recruitment is under way with plans to open in early 2013.

PRWeek US editor-in-chief Steve Barrett warned that British agencies should 'tread carefully if they think entering the US with a message like this is going to go down well in the market'. He added that they should 'construct an offer that can convince clients they can deal with the vastly bigger scale of the US market and a much more evolved expectation for social media services'.

US-based Council of Public Relations Firms president Kathy Cripps pointed out that market knowledge would be a defining factor for UK agencies: 'As with any expansion, knowing the market and having the right talent are important factors for success.'

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