Professional Services PR
Professional services encompass a broad range of business areas, typically requiring qualifications or specialist knowledge borne of years of experience. And far from being niche, the work of professional services companies impacts the lives of everyone. They are critical to business across the spectrum and form an essential part of the machinery that makes a thriving commercial centre function. It’s no surprise that cities like London, New York and Hong Kong are home to some of the largest professional service sectors. Yet their work often goes unnoticed despite its impact.
Sapience is a leading professional services PR agency with longstanding clients in the sector. We offer a range of services tailored to help these clients showcase their expertise and achieve sustained visibility with their core audiences. This means understanding the complexities of their business, articulating their value proposition and developing the appropriate PR strategies to meet their objectives. We seek to work with businesses, which (like ourselves), share a strong sense of purpose and look beyond purely commercial returns to the positive impact they can have on society and the environment.
We consider ourselves a provider of professional services, which means that we understand what drives professional services companies. We recognise that knowledge, expertise and experience can be difficult to quantify and put a value on – a challenge faced by many professional services firms. Our PR consultants come from a multitude of different industry sectors, and have direct experience addressing these issues.
As professional services PR specialists, we offer the full range of PR capabilities, in particular content development and thought leadership expertise. Converting research into insightful readable content that will interest media and other stakeholders is what we specialise in. We also understand the importance of keeping our clients’ spokespeople on the media’s radar in case expert comment is needed on an issue.
In such a competitive business environment, we put emphasis on the need to be nimble, responsive and completely focused on delivering the right outcomes for our clients. Our achievements and long-standing relationships with companies in the professional services space positions Sapience as one of the UK’s leading professional services public relations firms.
We have carefully selected a team whose skills and insight reflect the challenges our clients face. Our directors include senior business figures with a wealth of experience from across listed companies, financial institutions and entrepreneurial tech firms.
The Sapience professional services PR team brings deep experience of strategic planning, event management, crisis & issues management, messaging, advocacy, media counsel and the full suite of content creation from tweets, blogs, speeches and video, to by-lines, press releases and white papers. We deliver this content to targeted audiences through paid, earned, shared and owned media channels.
As a leading professional services PR agency, we work with clients on both short-term projects lasting a few months and long-term retainer work. Either way, our approach is always to start with the overarching strategy. We frame the work within that strategy to ensure consistency of message and focus, and to achieve the desired strategic objectives.
While the lion’s share of the work we do for professional services firms centres on thought leadership, content development and media relations, we also do more bespoke work on messaging, advocacy and media training, along with news hijacking and seeding stories with relevant media. An important part of the work we do is the ongoing media liaison through which we can inform reporters about clients and also get feedback on what’s hot news-wise.
We track all our clients’ industries very closely and there’s often crossover, such as between financial services and professional services. It means we can offer timely and meaningful counsel on how best to respond to events.
As we have seen in recent years, ethics and governance, data privacy and regulation, and intellectual property, and also trade and geo-politics can present significant areas of risk. Thinking ahead, along with having the right protocols and contingency plans in place, is an important part of being able to manage and mitigate risk. We help our clients with this.
As the PR objective objectives of our clients often vary, but broadly speaking we seek to build awareness among target audiences to create familiarity that leads to acceptance, then adoption. In other words, positioning our clients in such a way that results in them becoming the go-to source for comment for media before a story has even broken.
The Professional Services Landscape
Professional services covers a multitude of industry sectors. Under its umbrella come lawyers, accountants, architects, surveyors, actuaries, management consultants, tax specialists, market researchers, HR specialists, investment advisory and even PR consultants. The list goes on.
A glance at all those specialist areas shows how professional services impact lives and enable millions of businesses to function.
In the UK, the professional services sector is in a state of flux amid increased digitalisation and greater usage of data analytics and artificial intelligence, which are impacting the nature of work and components of jobs. What’s clear is that the sector as a whole has plenty of scope for growth, along with innovation in both the tools and thought processes used.
Ultimately, professional services companies need to stay on top of what’s going on around them in order to stay relevant to their clients and audiences – via both traditional and non-traditional channels. Sapience can enable you to do that.
Sapience has deep professional services experience across multiple categories in the sector. The longevity of our client relationships says a lot about our ability to deliver high quality work on a consistent basis.
We sit down with our clients to understand their exact needs and price transparently, based on the amount of time and the number of Sapience team members required to get the job done.
Professional services PR tends to emphasise more thought leadership and content generation – by-lines, blogs, press releases and white papers. Thought leadership is often based on proprietary data, research or surveys on specific areas making it particularly valuable and newsworthy. It requires sector knowledge to write meaningful, relevant content.
- Senior executive buy-in is very important – without it, achieving the right outcomes becomes far more difficult.
- Regulation can be a major factor too. A good understanding is necessary, particularly if the work covers several different jurisdictions.
- International organisations need to be culturally sensitive. Missteps here can be calamitous for the business and for reputation. Your PR agency needs to prevent such problems arising in the first place, but must be ready to find solutions at speed if a situation arises.
It’s important to agree ways to measure performance at the outset. Generally, they would include metrics such as the volume of coverage, with a breakdown by relevance, tone and share of voice versus competitors, but also the quality of where coverage appears and who it is seen by.
A shorter project would typically be about three months. But a campaign can easily be multi-year. For professional services firms, a retainer programme will typically yield the best results. It comes down to scope, vision, territories covered and, of course, budget.
Press releases remain a very effective way to reach large audiences and get to the top of search engines. Media appetite for press releases varies in different geographies, but they are useful statements for the record, can be a source of blogs, tweets, WeChat posts, and they can also be readily translated.
While online channels are clearly very important, a good PR campaign would take a more holistic approach to include speaking events, media briefings, thought leadership programmes, exhibitions, face-to-face interviews, television etc. Depending on the nature of the campaign, there may be a need for advertising or sponsorship, a media tour or a press conference, or some other activity.
An ongoing programme will likely prove both cost effective and more effective in getting results. The need for know-how and continuity with a client’s communications are important to stay on top of the company’s news, thought leadership, personnel changes and other developments. But PR activities typically also extend to media monitoring about the company and about the industry which is important for flagging potential problems that need to be addressed or managed. Awareness of the latest regulation is also very important in the professional services sector. This is another reason a professional services firm would ideally have a long-term retainer agreement with its PR agency.
To ensure the client’s message is delivered accurately and in a compelling way to its key audiences. The role is also to protect and enhance the reputation of the client.
We’d love to hear from you. You can get in touch with us to discuss your corporate PR needs using this form and we’ll get back to you as soon as feasible.