Insights From Chicago Agency Leaders


PRSA Chicago’s Panel of Agency Leaders Image by @AndreaCordts via Twitter
PRSA Chicago’s Panel of Agency Leaders
Image by @AndreaCordts via Twitter

Put five of Chicago’s top public relations agency leaders in one room, and what do you get? A lively conversation exploring current trends and the state of the PR industry. Last week was PRSA Chicago’s most anticipated event of the year––the Agency Leaders Panel with an all-star line-up, including:


Jim Motzer, Instructor, DePaul University


Rana Komar, General Manager, Chicago, Weber Shandwick

Rick Murray, President, Edelman Midwest

Patti Temple Rocks, Managing Director, GolinHarris

Bill Zucker, Midwest Director, Ketchum

Brad Wilks, Managing Director, Midwest Region, MSL Group

While there were many insightful topics discussed, here are a few that rose to the top.

Numbers Matter

Clients are looking for quantifiable ways to drive engagement and meet business objectives. Agencies should get comfortable with the measurements that clients really care about, but also be ready to increase client expectations to deliver better results. For example, a placement on Good Morning America or the Today Show doesn’t mean much if the target doesn’t pay attention to those news programs.

Paid, Earned, Shared and Owned

There is a role for paid media in PR and it’s needed for real-time marketing. It’s more important than ever to amplify earned coverage to show value to clients.

Growing Competition

Today, PR agencies aren’t competing as much with each other as they are with in-house teams and creative agencies. Clients will accept a big idea from anyone, whether it comes from an internal source or an outside agency. The challenge and opportunity is breaking through the lanes and bringing forth great ideas.

The Evolution of PR

In the coming years, PR will likely take a heavier focus on analytics and integrations to drive paid, earned, shared and owned. Although PR may change and evolve over time, our core is storytelling and earned media in real time.

Opportunity to Specialize

People looking to transition their career to public relations have an incredible opportunity to stand out with unique skill sets. Agencies are looking for specialties that will amp up content creation, and that could come from a media or creative path. Take control of your career and show exactly why your portfolio makes you valuable to an agency.

Take a look at #PRSAChi to see the full conversation.

Thanks to Katie Heck for writing this summary of the agency leaders’ panel. Katie is an assistant account executive at my agency alma mater, Ketchum Chicago.


One thought on “Insights From Chicago Agency Leaders

  1. Hello:

    Thanks for sharing this news from PRSA Chicago. I’ve attended the “agency big shot” luncheon over the years, but pressing business (my new job) prevented me from attending this year.

    Not sure if this was discussed, but I would hope the industry leaders would also have addressed the need for public relations professionals to maintain high levels of honesty and integrity and adhere to established ethical standards at all times.

    After all, we’re in the relationship-building and reputation management business. This can’t happen if strategies and tactics are built upon untruth and misconception, and guided by deceit.

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