Thought leadership shapes PWC core

PricewaterhouseCoopers uses steadfast theme as a platform to stand out in competitive environment

PricewaterhouseCoopers uses steadfast theme as a platform to stand out in competitive environment

The world of accounting and consulting services is highly competitive, a world in which players must distinguish themselves beyond just price in order to thrive.

PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) understands this and is hoping to distinguish itself as a thought leader in not just its own industry, but also its clients' industries.

One way PWC is hoping to do this is with its Global Entertainment and Media Outlook, a 600-page book that includes in-depth global analyses and five-year market forecasts for 14 industry segments. Those segments include film; video games; magazine, newspaper, and book publishing; theme and amusement parks; casino and other regulated gaming; sports; television; and music.

In June, PWC will release the seventh edition of the book.

The entertainment and media practice at PWC provides accounting tax and consulting services to leading media and entertainment companies , explains Peter Winkler, global marketing director for the practice.

"Thought leadership is a really important part of what we do," Winkler says. "In a highly competitive business like accounting or consulting, it's easy for firms to be viewed by prospective clients as a commodity and that they all look very similar. So often the only thing to differentiate them is price. In a world that's that competitive, you need another way to differentiate yourself, and thought leadership really helps us do that."

The book allows PWC to fully demonstrate its thought-leadership practice, asserts Winkler. "The book serves as a platform for us to have a discussion with current and prospective clients about what issues are shaping the industry, and where we see the industry going and growing in the next few years," he says.

PWC's Media Outlook provides people in the entertainment industry with the information they need in a quickly changing environment, says Georg Szalai, New York bureau chief and business editor for The Hollywood Reporter.

"The entertainment industry keeps evolving rapidly because of technological and other changes," Szalai says. "People are desperately looking for data, information, and guidance to help them make educated decisions. Media Outlook is one of the few annually updated data resources covering all major fields of the media business. And it provides information for markets around the globe. So whether you want to do business in China, India, Brazil, or anywhere else, you'll find competitive intelligence in here."

"At this point it's not just a book that's put out there for information," adds Laura Schooler, associate director of marketing for the entertainment and media practice. "We have people internally who do presentations on the data within the book to various clients or potential clients. We customize presentations that utilize much of the information in the book to do some business development, as well."

Companies using the book range from those in the entertainment and media industries to technology, telecommunications, and financial services companies and educational institutions. "It's for anyone trying to figure out how to approach these different markets," Schooler says.

But PWC's thought-leadership efforts don't begin and end with the book. PWC uses a variety of tools, including a fully integrated marketing and communications program. Some components include executive events ranging from private dinners to events with 200 to 300 attendees.

"In addition, we create specific topical reports, surveys, and white papers that... delve more deeply into a particular area or issue," Winkler says.

One report, "The Rise of Lifestyle Media," focuses on combining user-created content and professionally created content. "Lifestyle media is a term we're trying to popularize to discuss the impact of social networks on traditional media," Winkler says. "We discuss how lifestyle media is based around the co-mingling of user-created content with professional content, and is causing traditional media companies to adjust."

Winkler says the thought-leadership efforts allow him and his team to meet with prospective clients and not scare them away by sounding as if they're making a sales pitch.

"Thought leadership is a great way to have a broad discussion with your client that's not overly sales-oriented," Winkler says. "It's providing information and insight to them in a way that's giving them some value and not just coming in saying, 'Here's a service, and we'd like to sell it to you.'"

AT A GLANCE

Company:
PricewaterhouseCoopers

CEO:
Sam DiPiazza

Headquarters:
New York

Revenues:
$19 billion for fiscal year 2005 (Source: Hoover's)

Competitors:
Ernst & Young, KPMG, Deloitte

Key trade publications:
The Hollywood Reporter, Variety, Mediaweek, Broadcasting & Cable, Multichannel News, TelevisionWeek, MediaPost for the entertainment and media practice

PR budget:
Undisclosed

Marketing team:
Global marketing director, entertainment and media practice, Peter Winkler

Associate director of marketing, entertainment and media practice, Laura Schooler

Marketing director, global entertainment and media, Laura Bobrik

Marketing service agencies:
Brainerd Communicators, New York, works with entertainment and media practice

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