The Evolving Client Landscape

Phil Nardone

As we celebrate our 20th anniversary at PAN this year, I am proud to write these blog posts every month that take a look back at where we have come from and where we are going. Over the past three months, I decided it would be fun to focus each post on one of the three pillars of a PR firm: talent, new business and clients.

I like to think that I saved the best for last with this three-part blog series. Not to say that clients outweigh my appreciation for the other two pillars discussed in my previous two posts: talent and new business. But, the conversation around clients is an interesting one. Clients are one area that really demonstrates just how much PAN has grown over the years.

Clients are what keep us in business, keep us motivated and keep us fresh. Over the years, our clients, past, present and future, have played and will continue to play a role in shaping PAN. For me, something that sets PAN apart when it comes to clients, and has attributed to an average client tenure of three-and-a-half years, is our VPs’ level of involvement. From the minute Mark or Tim identifies a prospect, we assign a VP; that VP has a vested interest in winning the business and stays on the account adding value throughout its tenure in the firm. That VP knows every aspect of the client’s business!

When thinking about how clients play into PAN’s 20th celebration, I always have to remind myself that when PAN first started out, the industry was a much different playing field. We were working with clients in the software and hardware space, whereas today our clients come from more concentrated verticals such as the cloud, security and mobile. As I’m sure any PR agency can attest to, in the beginning beggars can’t be choosers. When we were just starting out in 1995, we did not have the luxury to be as selective about the types of companies we worked with as we are today. One of the benefits that comes with being in business for 20 years is you have the opportunity to be more definitive in who you work with. Over the years, we’ve evolved and established our business to a point where we’ve identified a series of specific practice areas that we want to excel in and be known for. For PAN, these areas are: technology, healthcare and consumer tech.

Another shift I’ve seen is in regards to our work with international clients. When we first opened the doors here at PAN Communications, the clients we were working with were primarily US-based. However, as companies all over the world have expanded and opened offices on different continents, we’ve found ourselves working more and more with international clients who want to establish a presence in the US. For international tech clients looking to make a splash on the US tech scene, such as SDL and Mendix, our Boston location puts us in a prime spot to help them do that.

Along that same vein, as we are helping more non-US clients establish a US-presence, we have also strengthened our reach internationally. Here at PAN, we offer a capability called Global PANorama where we partner with a network of agencies to maintain a global reach. This means that although we are a mid-sized PR agency in Boston, we’re also able to handle the complex needs of international clients and deploy a hyper-local PR strategy anywhere in the world. Global PANorama has grown to give our clients an extension of their PAN team here in Boston overseas.

Last week, Matt Fates of Ascent Venture Partners stopped by the PAN offices for one of our PAN U seminars. What he said during his presentation about the tech industry could not have rung more true. Just like the tech industry, PAN has seen its ups and downs throughout the years and we will continue to. As we press onward, the client landscape is ever changing. In order to remain competitive within this pillar, we’ve started taking advantage of some of these new emerging markets that fit into our three practice areas such as augmented/virtual reality, artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT) and GreenTech. PAN’s success over these past 20 years is owed in part to the great clients we have had the opportunity to work with. As the tech, healthcare and consumer tech industries continue to evolve, I can’t wait to see what the next batch of clients has in store for the next 20 years.

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