“Times have changed. Press coverage used to be the be all and end all of PR, but today traditional PR is only one part of a campaign. So if you’re not doing digital, you’re not being effective.”
– Bogdan Stevanovic, MD and Founder of Aquare
Aquare.co provides complete digital marketing services from SEO to paid advertising. They provide that service to businesses looking to increase their revenue by converting more customers online.
They also partner with traditional marketing and PR companies, working alongside them ‘in-house’ so that they can provide expert digital marketing as part of their own service. This allows them to expand their offer, making them more attractive to potential clients and ultimately win more business.
Founder and MD Bogdan Stevanovic believe that the rising demand in digital PR is not being addressed properly in the industry:
“Digital is the future of PR. Most PR agencies know this, but the level of expertise in digital varies wildly from agency to agency. Most have scrabbled together an online department purely to satisfy customer needs, and what they deliver is severely lacking. Being honest, this is more to do with the Talent Gap itself than a direct result of any bad decisions on their behalf. This is partly because until now most businesses did not have the expertise to judge the competency of the people pitching to them.
But they are slowly wising up. Clients know that all of their customers are on social media, and are constantly connected to the internet, so that’s where they will be looking for real ROI. They’re learning more about it and placing bigger demands on agencies.”
What advice would you give PR agencies looking to address this?
“Actually what I’m seeing now as the most effective route for traditional PR agencies is partnerships with digital agencies. It makes the sum of the two respective parts greater than the whole – digital + traditional PR is extremely effective.
Partnerships mean you get a fantastic team without all the costs, risks, pitfalls and admin of permanent hires. And it’s not something I would hide; the agencies we partner with are quite happy to promote us as their digital partner – it actually gives their clients peace of mind to know they have a dedicated team of experts working for them.”
Is there anything you wish someone would have told you when you began?
“Although my knowledge of online and digital marketing grew quickly, it took me a while to realise that this is only half the equation. “Soft skills”, how to manage and motivate people, how to be diplomatic and reach compromise…these are things essential to success in larger corporate environments.
PR has always depended on relationships, but even with the rise of digital and data driven processes, a business cannot achieve its true potential without investing in its people, not just new technology.
Nowadays my absolute priority is getting the right people – not just for their skills but their ability to understand and appreciate the bigger picture, i.e. how the business needs to operate in all areas. Everyone in Aquare understands how our partnerships with PR agencies facilitate growth and ROI – all of us are focused on growth. That’s a philosophy not just a job description.”