Friday, November 12, 2004

The serious side of PR

Last night Text 100 held a party in San Francisco to show off its new offices in Maiden Lane. These are impressive premises for a business that only opened its doors in this part of the world in the late 90s. But then this is the agency that can boast IBM, Cadence, NEC, Xerox, FujiFilm and Earthlink as clients. So they you'd expect them to located in great space right? Well such premises would have been cost prohibitive only a few years ago. Indeed it may seem sad to say but the cost of accommodation has been one of the major drivers of the success and failure of te PR agency business in the last few years. I know of at least three firms that went out of business because greedy landlords had pushed them into office rents their businesses couldn't support. If I look at the San Francisco market as an example, relatively small firms were being asked to pay $80-90/sq ft only three years ago. Today that same space is a mere $25/sq ft - and you'll likely get all the office furniture you'll ever need thrown in. What does all this mean and why have I taken the trouble to write about it? Well it means that the fiscal fundamentals of running a PR business are starting to come back into line. First came salaries, which like rent had been out of control. This bodes well for the sector and should mean that PR professionals will be able to run much better businesses. That is until the next economic bubble bursts - which hopefully isn't for a very long time! Until then the Text 100 staff are going to work in one of the coolest spaces in the city, something that would have been unthinkable only a short while ago.