Going Niche in Croatia14 years, 8 months ago
Rašeljka Maras Jurièiæ says that you cannot beat the expertise of specialist PR agencies.
“The message is that if you focus your energy on creating and then exploiting an extremely narrow niche you can make a lot of money", Ridderstråle & Nordström.
Running a PR agency does not necessarily mean that you will succeed in communication with the public. After all, we all know that communication is a highly sophisticated process that doesn’t always guarantee success. Still – it is the essence of every human private or business interaction.
Communication is playing an increasingly important role in our ever-changing world in today’s capitalism, the space that some thinkers today call the Karaoke Capitalism. (Karaoke Capitalism – Management for Mankind is a book published in 2003 by the well-known Swedish authors Jonas Ridderstråle and Kjell A Nordström. They argue that individuals with endless choice dominate the ‘karaoke’ economy. The trouble for business is that the ‘karaoke’ club is also home to institutionalized imitation. The world is full of copycats. Benchmark is just the nicer way of naming copying. Only imagination and innovation place societies, organizations and individuals on centre stage.)
But do we really communicate the way we think we do? Are we actually focused on the message in times of information overload? New technologies and new media are pushing us to further professionalise our communication. A huge challenge for PR companies is to present a different, coherent and qualified message.
To do this, they need to have specific knowledge. They have to go niche. They have to employ people who will deepen their knowledge of clients’ business. This might not be an issue for huge PR conglomerates with hundreds of dedicated employees, but smaller companies paint a different picture.
The Argument for Specialisation
Quality of business communication, like the quality of product or service, is a crucial for reaching market competitiveness. Therefore, business owners are keen to have on their side someone who will understand their business and who will approach them with much more understanding than “all-in-one” PR agencies do.
It is a question of trust, where the client is asking him or herself: How can somebody who knows nothing about my business, processes, and market do PR for me? Public relations is not, and has never been, a stand-alone profession, isolated from the rest of the business world. After running Meritor Media, a niche PR agency for four years and one of the first of its kind in the region of South Eastern Europe, there are some additional details that confirm this.
Of course, what I am suggesting is not that non-niche PR agencies are not able to do a very good job or no job at all. What I am simply stating is that the client is much more trusting to someone who really knows the market and the business he or she is in. Clients often believe that niche PR agencies can do much more in managing communication between their organization and its public. In everyday life, this job can also be dedicated to the specialized team inside the full service agency.
Meritor Media is focused on communication management in the information and telecommunication sector (ICT). As an informatics engineer and former ICT journalist, I was quite disappointed by the content that was given to me by the PR agencies. One could see that PR people could not understand what their clients’ business was and could not offer a useful media content.
The Quest for Understanding
What the public craved was interesting stories presented and written in a simple and non-technical way. What they needed was ICT explained the easy way, the way anyone could understand. Companies needed the same thing but they didn’t have any choice in hiring a suitable PR agency that could communicate their success in an easy and understandable way, but without missing out on the crucial details.
This was the reason for me to start Meritor Media. With my knowledge of IT, journalism, media and PR, I am able to successfully manage communication between an organization, our clients, and its public. My focus on a market niche generates trust among Meritor Media’s clients. They trust us because of our constant update of knowledge and dedication solely to business in their segment. We are able to create good, live and full stories out of raw technical data – something that most media people, up until now, considered dull and boring.
But you cannot simply wake up one morning deciding that you will do one market niche and not knowing anything about it. After all, PR has to have credibility, otherwise it is advertising, right?
Niche PR is of course a critical and risky mission. By deciding that you work in just one market niche, you’re closing yourself to the wider market opportunities. But, on the other hand, you are also gaining trust from those that feel that you are a concentrated and dedicated partner and that you actually have the necessary competence.
This doesn’t necessarily mean becoming an expert in the areas concerned. But the more you know about client business, the more you can get from the client. This will also enable you to deliver more. If we can do this in small country such as Croatia, you can do it anywhere!
Rašeljka Maras Juricic, owner of Meritor Media Ltd.mail the author
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