Independent PR agencies usually seek membership in a regional or global PR network primarily because they want to expand their reach and do more business. And while PRGN members share several millions of dollars’ worth of business every year, it’s important to highlight that such business deals or referrals do not happen from one day to the other in any network for any new member that joins. It’s more of a journey.
For an agency or any entrepreneur to do good business, they need to have good friends.
PRGN is represented in more than 30 countries and is present in more than 70 cities and locations. To be able to work successfully with somebody on a different continent in a totally different time zone, sitting in a totally different climate on the same day, with a totally different cultural background, you have to have the peace of mind that that person is sort of a friend, or as close as you can get to that.
And that’s the journey that the members and the prospective members go through in a network like PRGN. Especially in PRGN because this is a network based on exclusivity, which means that we only recruit and keep one agency from a market at the same time, meaning that there are no competitors in the room. We have multiple agencies from the U.S., but they all are in different markets. And in the other markets, it’s basically one agency per country. That creates a very close, and I must say an intimate, atmosphere where members talk very freely about their business, about their headaches, about things that they are tired of, and things that they see as possibilities and can’t tell if it’s a real possibility. This is a community where they can openly talk about that.
As I discuss on this week’s PRGN Presents podcast, another aspect that I really like about PRGN is that we put a big emphasis on bringing people together.
The idea of PRGN started with a few agency owners in 1992 enjoying just getting together for in-person meetings and tell each other about how their businesses were doing and how they could help each other. To date those in-person meetings form the backbone of our network. Our members come together twice a year. Now, of course, these events are more like conferences, but the real purpose is to spend a couple of days together so that people can become friends and can share sensitive information about their businesses. And this means that if any of them have an issue, or a problem, their business network friends are just a phone call away no matter what country or time zone they live in.
One more thing — and I think this is probably the most valuable aspect of becoming a member of a network like PRGN — as they say, it gets lonely at the top.
Even the savviest entrepreneur needs from time to time to have peers to talk to, to share second thoughts and feelings of insecurity or hopelessness, or sometimes just vent.
And that is very valuable for business owners, I must say. I’ve seen this over the years at PRGN.
So then there comes the question of how does someone that might be interested in becoming a member of a network prepare themselves to be suitable to join and to be able to take the most of what an international, global network can offer them.
What makes a good member could be defined by metrics and numbers and size and complexity of an agency – and surely we look at all of that when recruiting new members – but the secret is that it’s all decided on the attitude and mental side of things. What I mean by that is mostly openness to other cultures, openness to understand other people.
Frankly, PR people tend to talk more than they listen.
In an international group like PRGN, you can be successful only if you can also listen and understand the other party.
Our members come from more than 30 countries, more than 70 cities, six continents, very different cultures and languages and cultural backgrounds. While everybody obviously speaks English in this network, the culture in the background really interferes into how people say things or express themselves. And to get the most out of this situation and opportunity, members have to be open and have to be listening and be understandable to the other people and try and understand where they’re coming from and what they’re trying to do and they’re trying to say.
Listeners of this podcast series can actually experience that diversity through the episodes featuring members from around the globe, and you can hear the nuance of their insights into PR and marketing communication in their different markets. So, to get a better sense of what’s it like to be in a network, and what kind of people are successful in a network like PRGN, listen to some of the previous and upcoming episodes of the PRGN Presents podcast.
If you enjoyed this episode, please follow the PRGN Presents podcast in Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, or any other podcast app. We publish new episodes every other Thursday. To have them delivered automatically and free of charge, just choose your preferred podcast player from this list, open the app, and click the button to “Follow” or “Subscribe” to the show: https://prgnpodcast.com/listen