Downturn sparks PR collaborations

BOSTON: The recession has prompted a number of PR freelancers in New England to band together and form impromptu alliances, acting as virtual account teams.

BOSTON: The recession has prompted a number of PR freelancers in New England to band together and form impromptu alliances, acting as virtual account teams.

"During the economic boom, companies were looking for cachet when choosing PR teams and agencies,

said Diane Pardes, head of her one-woman Boston firm Pardes Communication. "Now, clients are interested in value as anything else."

Pardes, who specializes in media relations, has assembled a network of professionals across disciplines and geography to work on accounts.

For example, New Hampshire-based Dawn Matthews, president of Dawn Matthews Public Relations, had just won the PR assignment to launch the Two Tom's Blister Shield Miracle Foot Powder at the Boston Marathon. After conducting a search of Boston-area PR pros, she asked Pardes to handle the launch with the Boston press, as well as help put together a media kit. She also enlisted the aid of another New Hampshire-area PR freelancer to handle the media in New Hampshire, while Matthews prepared for the marathon itself.

"I think this type of network is very common these days,

said Matthews.

"I think groups of sole practitioners working together translates into a better value for the client because we carry no agency overhead."

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