News & Insights


On-the-ground insights from NYCby Jessica Effeney

Reflecting on my exchange in the New York Prosek office…

As part of Honner's global agency exchange program, I recently had the opportunity to spend a week in New York with our partner agency, Prosek Partners. Based in Midtown, the office is right in the thick of everything NYC.

It's not often you're able to immerse yourself into another company or gain an entirely fresh perspective on your industry – let alone half way around the globe in the world's largest financial market!

Here’s my on-the-ground insights.

The timing couldn't have been better

To be in New York 10 years on from the global financial crisis (GFC) was powerful. Media were reporting around the clock on insights and learnings over the last decade, with the major institutions and fund managers all adding their two cents. Consensus seemed somewhat divided, so the resounding takeout was that only time will tell if the industry has ‘learnt and implemented enough’ to avoid another crisis.

It was also powerful to be in the United States during the Trump Presidency and ahead of the midterm elections. Trump is literally on every news channel, all day every day, with many of the outrageous claims not making it back to Australia – we only seem to hear about 10%! From all accounts, it looks like his 2020 presidential campaign is already well underway, much to the *delight* of many New Yorkers.

The city (and markets) really never sleep

New York is often known as the city that never sleeps - and it's true. No matter the time or day, there is always something open and something to do.

Much can be said about the life of a New York executive.

Being the centre of the US financial economy and home to many global headquarters, there is always a market open and therefore, always a potential impact on your client or business – whether they are listed on the stock exchange or not. You need a flexible, 24-hour mindset which can seamlessly switch between drafting communications for listed companies to monitoring for an emerging issue on Twitter.

With the Asia Pacific region growing at a rapid pace and offering opportunities for expansion, US-based companies are increasingly involved and paying attention to the opposite time zone. Australia is clearly an integral part of the Asia-Pacific growth, so it’s likely we will see more expansion locally here.    

Like most things in America, everything is big

Bigger companies mean bigger budgets, bigger teams and bigger PR agencies – Prosek’s New York office is 100-people strong, with over 300 people nationwide and specialist content and social media teams. The scale of opportunity is enormous, particularly with the US economy booming. While it also means there’s a bigger pool of media and publications, the level of competition in the market doesn’t necessarily make pitching or securing stories any easier!

Alike to Australia, the changing US media landscape means the approach to PR is changing. The Prosek team approach all activity with an integrated lens, looking for opportunities beyond media relations – insightful research, cutting-edge content, targeted marketing and interactive social media are all important and gently pushing the boundaries with clients is paramount. This became very evident over the week and it was pleasing to recognise similar thinking and overhear similar client conversations.

The benefit of being a New York-based agency is the direct exposure to global CEOs and global communications heads. This offers the opportunity to really influence the direction and reputation of an organisation from the top down, setting the agenda for every other international division.

For clients, our relationship with Prosek offers access to specialist, on-the-ground knowledge in the US and aligned agency thinking across key global markets. Prosek and Honner already share a number of global clients and it’s exciting to look at the opportunities to expand this.

In summary…

NYC is unlike any other city and working there was unlike any previous experience. No doubt, it takes a certain type of person to make it in the big smoke – but I’d recommend to anyone in the industry to give it a go.
Thanks to Prosek Partners and Honner for making this amazing opportunity possible.

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