The Virtual PR Agencies group was launched in 2018 to support the growing number of PR agencies who categorise themselves as ‘virtual’, and to develop impactful initiatives that drive the sector forward. There are seven founding group board members based in the UK and Dubai, working across a broad range of industries and disciplines:
George Blizzard, Co-Founder & Co-CEO, The PR Network @georgeblizzard
Nicky Regazzoni, Co-Founder & Co-CEO, The PR Network @nickyregazzoni
Anne Bleeker, Founder & Managing Director, In2 Consulting @in2consulting, www.in2consulting.com
Isobel Camier, Founder, Isobel Camier Communications @CamierComms, https://camiercommunications.com/
Jo Field, Founder and CEO, JFG Communications @jfgcomms, www.jfgcomms.co.uk
Helen Neal, Founder, HN Communications @HNCommsUK
Angie Wiles, Founder & CEO, The Difference Collective @hellodifference, https://thedifferencecollective.com/
The pandemic saw a surge in demand for our collective approach, reflected in the strong position by some of our members in the PRW Top 150 2021 League Tables.
Pre-Covid, the model operated by the group board members was considered unusual and progressive. Once the world switched to remote working in 2020, the notion that teams could collaborate even when not in the same room was universally proven. However, this also created confusion around the concept of a virtual agency. Virtual was conflated with ‘officeless’.
While all our board members rejected the need for a central office, and we all operate slightly different models, broadly speaking we define a virtual PR agency or agency support business as “an established business staffed predominantly by senior freelance experts”.
It’s about being able to build the best teams for our clients’ briefs based on their skills and expertise, irrespective of location. This opens up the senior talent pool, which has historically been drained of brilliant people due to the inherent lack of flexibility offered by many employers in the industry. As people advance in their careers they also tend to face greater responsibilities, which can present a conflict. Many of us also choose to reject the commute and corporate 9-5 life, enjoying a blend of work and life without compromising on the calibre of brands and campaigns we get to support.
Our members include a range of modern agencies, and one training solution business, which use technology to facilitate teamwork and use co-working spaces to bring teams together as needed for creative collaboration.
The group convenes regularly to discuss the opportunities and challenges unique to our type of agency, and create a strong voice for our burgeoning category. In 2021 we will be running open events to debate our position in the wider industry.
2021 Events Programme
The group held an open discussion on Clubhouse in April 2021 to: clarify the modus operandi of a virtual agency; crowdsource opinion on the opportunities for the sector and how it may evolve as the industry emerges from the pandemic, and redefine the group mission.
Following the success of the event, attended by over 30 senior comms professional in and outside the UK, based in-house and agency-side, the group plans to run a series of open events supporting its focus on four strategic pillars:
Growth and Leadership
Team and Culture
Please follow @PRCA_UK and @prnetwork on Twitter for Group events & news.
Virtual PR Agencies Group entry criteria for Group board members:
•Owner or managing director of a virtual agency (not a freelancer)
•Trading entity must be a limited company or LLP (not a sole trader)
•Must have a virtual team of at least five consultants (freelancers or employees) currently working on client programmes
•Minimum £100,000 turnover projected for 2021
•Must be a member of the PRCA