Omnicom incubates on-demand app for PR services

Spry is trying to bring the gig economy to communications services.

Spry CEO Angie Schneider
Spry CEO Angie Schneider

NEW YORK: Spry, an on-demand app for PR services, has launched in the U.S.

Incubated within Omnicom Public Relations Group, Spry connects clients with a network of freelancers, matching them through an algorithm based on expertise and interests.

"We can take a lot of that execution work and do it better, cheaper, and faster than they can hire for it," said Spry CEO Angie Schneider.

The company’s goal is to bring the disruptive force of the gig economy to the PR industry, using its app to modernize the agency model. For instance, marketplace networks generally force clients to sift through lists of talent to review and then negotiate rates. "In the case of Spry, all that’s gone," said Jessie Soleil, chief digital and innovation officer at the company, meaning clients negotiate directly with Spry.

After a Spry freelancer submits his or her work for a press release, a programmatic review edits the draft for plagiarism, spelling, and grammar and a human editor reviews the work and submits it to a client. Soleil contended this process means agencies can outsource work without having to raise headcount for short-term projects.

At launch, Spry’s clients include PR agencies, startups, small businesses, tech companies, and nonprofits. The company declined to identify companies on its client roster.

Both Schneider and Soleil are veterans of Omnicom’s Porter Novelli. Schneider was Asia-Pacific president until last August; Soleil was EVP and global director of digital, departing in February 2017.

Schneider said the idea for Spry "percolated" during her tenure at Porter, where she saw increasing need for "speed, efficiency, and lower-cost project-based services."

"There’s got to be a way to leverage this for good for the industry and bring PR services to the gig economy," Schneider recalled thinking. She then hired Soleil, who has worked in product development as former VP of emerging media and technology at Scholastic. Spry, which has a staff of five, was in beta for an extended period of time.

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