June 7 2022
At the 30-year anniversary meeting and conference of the Public Relations Global Network (PRGN) in May 2022, member agencies elected David Fuscus to serve as the 32nd President of the global network of independent communications and PR agencies.
In a quick interview to kick off his presidency, David shares his views on what sets PRGN apart from other global networks as well as outlines his aspirations for developing the organization further. The secret sauce keeping independently owned agencies together in a group for 30 years and beyond is also revealed in the following Q&A.
“The future for public relations is so bright that our industry will need sunglasses and PRGN will be the organization handing them out.” — David Fuscus, 32nd President of PRGN
1. As the incoming president in PRGN’s 30th anniversary year, what do you think networks like PRGN can offer to independent communications agencies?
Every person working in the public relations industry knows that the profession is becoming increasingly complex. Technology and new ways in which audiences consume information is like a snowball rolling down a mountain – the faster it goes, the heavier it gets and the faster it goes. The PR agencies that thrive and grow are those that constantly keep abreast of change and incorporate modern technologies and techniques into their campaigns. PRGN is unique among the international PR networks because the group finds and curates members rather than letting just any firm apply, a practice that ensures consistent quality and best-in-show practices. And when high quality firms are coupled with a requirement that principals attend the meetings, the result is intensive sharing of best practices, applications for new technologies and ideas. In short, PRGN helps keep members on the forefront of public relations.
2. How do you believe the network is different today than in previous decades?
Over the past thirty years, PRGN has grown and matured as a network. Originally, PRGN was managed solely by volunteers from the member agencies, but today we have a highly capable Executive Director to run the network. And PRGN has developed a host of staff educational opportunities, a robust business referral network and the ability for any member to do business quickly and easily or get client support anywhere in the world. But at the core, PRGN is still driven by agency principals who know and trust each other. As the CEO of Xenophon Strategies, if I need assistance in one country or thirty, I can rely on skilled PR and communications professionals whom I know and trust.
3. How has membership changed recently and what are PRGN’s aspirations and needs in terms of new member agencies?
Over the past decade, PRGN has grown in a controlled and prudent manner. We look at the markets we need and then methodically go out to recruit the best agencies in those markets. PRGN’s strategy of proactive recruitment and intense vetting of potential members will continue to be the guideposts along the road to the future. We currently cover virtually every international market and expansion will occur in Asia-Pacific with expansion into countries like South Korea and New Zealand.
4. How are networks of independent agencies positioned today to win regional or global clients vs. in earlier years?
International networks are better positioned to win regional and global clients than ever before. At PRGN, we offer best-in-class services among agencies that know each other and work together frequently. In any of the major international conglomerate firms the quality of local offices varies considerably – in some markets, clients get great service and ideas, in others, not so much. Because of PRGN’s policy of only recruiting the best independent agencies, clients get consistently great service and superb results.
5. What do you believe is the secret sauce of PRGN?
PRGN’s secret sauce has several elements built around proactively recruiting great member agencies. But the key differentiator is that it is a network run by agency owners and principals. Agency owners must attend a majority of the bi-annual meetings which means that we have deep relationships with each other and that familiarity and trust results in great service and campaigns for clients.
6. Any special plans or projects you plan during your presidency?
During my presidency, I’m going to focus on two objectives. First, I’m going to work to increase non-dues revenue for PRGN which can be used to expand our professional management structure along and increased professional offerings to assist members in growing their firms. Secondly, I’m going to collaborate with my colleagues from around the world in applying innovative technologies to the practice of public relations and communications. Look for PRGN to get deep into technologies like volumetric video, applying the nascent Metaverse to communications, blockchains and AI. The future for public relations is so bright that our industry will need sunglasses and PRGN will be the organization handing them out.