In the last few weeks, two prominent PR firms in the U.S. Black Frame and Siren PR closed their doors. Speaking of their closure, Black Frame founder and president Brian Phillips told Vogue Business the future of PR is a "fusion between the worlds of content, film, TV and advertising."

This undoubtedly reinforces the changing PR landscape, with many firms no longer able to operate as they once had, relying solely on media relations, but instead evolving to offer more integrated communications services. 

According to several agencies, businesses are both asking for and being provided with a broader range of communications services outside of a traditional PR agency’s purview. Speaking on the subject of 'service stretching', Jason Miller, VP of social and PR at OH Partners, says “our team is increasingly asked to drive brand strategies, creative discussions and ideas that can become broader marketing initiatives versus the other way around. We’re being asked to have a bigger say at connecting all points of story-telling and communication under a singular strategy”.

And so perhaps the 'fusion of functions' lies more in the ability to provide 'brand consulting' services as much as provide integrated TV, film or advertising content. Why? Because brand strategy is critical to the successful communication of any business; big or small, old or new, regardless of communication type. The brand strategy carefully constructs the image a business wants to present and then manifests this story through the visual language and identity.

It therefore makes sense that the first step in creating and communicating an effective brand is to uncover the story behind the business - the brand strategy. The corporate story should capture why the brand exists, the mission it is undertaking and the values that will guide it on the journey. Once the corporate narrative has been defined, future communications (whatever shape they take) can enjoy a compelling and consistent thread.

Consistency is key. Honing in on the key defining pillars of a business will lead to stronger PR opportunities. Armed with the right branding, marketing and PR teams alike are better placed to effectively communicate their brand to their different audiences and better equipped to build integrated communications campaigns that collectively build brand awareness, understanding and favourability.

So while it’s true that branding and public relations require different skills and strategies, the two disciplines are symbiotic and work in tandem thus it makes sense to fuse them under one roof. Similar to the old adage ‘two heads are better than one’, when Branding and PR are in sync, a business’ communications will be far more effective.