Call me brutal, but as far as I'm concerned there are only two mega-agencies worth their salt. Edelman and Weber Shandwick.
Edelman continues to remain relevant because it continues to innovate . The drive, energy and enthusiasm of Richard Edelman has spawned entire multi-million dollar practices. I would argue that his contribution to reputation management as a public relations discipline has been greater than any other.
If Edelman revenue has declined while others have grown its because they are investing (rightly or wrongly) in new practices and new disciplines.
Weber Shandwick is the industry standard in execution. They are the absolute best at taking a global brief and implementing it.
But here is the rub.
There are now so-many sub-disciplines of PR, that it is impossible to corral the most innovative skills within the old mega-agency model. The value proposition for the mega-agency was always, "we have all the skills under one roof, give us your contract and we will provide the best solution combined with economies of scale." But that's no longer the case. What you get with a mega-agency now is usually a tired solution, re-branded from the other five companies that have used the solution previously.
The advent of technology has allowed the most innovative solutions to be created in the smallest niches. A single individual, with the right technology, can produce content, within hours, that would have previously required shooting for days.
Real innovation now lies in the micro-agency.
The primary limiting factor for micro-agencies becomes the willingness of in-house communicators and procurement departments to relinquish the security blanket of the mega-agency contract that strangles the micro-agency.
Perhaps the true future of the mega-agency is to act as an aggregator. I see an Edelman or a Webber Shandwick operating a contractually based hive of micro-agencies, allowing them to innovate, providing them with support, while regaining access to true cutting edge PR work that can be genuinely and quickly allocated against client need.
If you are looking for such a micro-agency, please don't hesitate to contact us at Reign-Maker.