Brainstorming without the frustration

Earlier this week, we looked at the rise of crowdsourcing and its advantages for creative agencies, marketing firms, and PR shops. Today, we're going to talk about how crowdsourcing can provide opportunities for PR agencies to drive growth and profitability in the future.

Earlier this week, we looked at the rise of crowdsourcing and its advantages for creative agencies, marketing firms, and PR shops. Today, we're going to talk about how crowdsourcing can provide opportunities for PR agencies to drive growth and profitability in the future.

Over the last decade, PR agencies have spent time consolidating, integrating, adding capabilities and new divisions to their roster, and commercializing these services. In spite of all of this time, effort and investment, not many firms have evolved enough to truly revolutionize the industry.

Clients want creative, innovative ideas that challenge the norm, and while we can always develop ways to connect with target audiences, few PR professionals have meaningfully pushed the limits. The result? A real disconnect on what works versus what we would like to work, or what we think will work.

Have you ever sat around a table with the team, brainstorming an RFP, new product, campaign, internal problem, or client issue and walked away at its conclusion without anything to show for it? Have you gone back to the drawing board because of a lack of creative solutions? It's similar to opening that empty refrigerator time after time, in the hopes that something new and delicious will magically appear.

The same goes for ideas – we tend to keep looking to the same folks who live the brand every day in the hopes something new will emerge. It's not that they're not creative people; it's just that they've already shared their best ideas. However, there are hundreds of thousands of creative people around the world – all with different titles, salaries, and expertise that are standing by right now, waiting to contribute something new, something fresh.

We spend hours selling clients, upper management, and other stakeholders on how the team can produce game-changing, strategic, and integrated programs. However, when it comes to actually executing on that promise, we too often fail. And, there is almost always the one person who stays late into the night, struggling to finish the plan with little input or few ideas from the team. Crowdsourced ideas can empower you to come to the table with several on-target ideas that your team can get excited about, that will cause the client to sit up, and that will allow you to stand out among the competition.

Before you finish reading this post, ask yourself this question: Are you evolving and where will your agency be in three years? The reality is this: crowdsourcing is here to stay. Smart PR agencies will leverage this new approach to evolve and begin selling differently. They'll see the strategic value in PR agencies that providing the game plan, oversee the process, manage the crowd, and supply the creativity, ideas, and innovation to better serve their own clients. Smart PR agencies can use crowdsourcing explicitly or implicitly through white-labeled platforms. It does not matter as long as PR agencies take innovation to a new level.

Mike Samson is co-founder of CrowdSpring.

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