This week's news of the debut of Spry, an app connecting clients to talent for PR products like press releases and media lists, drew quick and obvious comparisons to established "gig economy" disruptors, like Uber.
And fair enough. It was a matter of time before someone saw an opening to bring a distributed workforce to a market hungry for the power of affordable, accessible PR service.
But I think the introduction of Spry may have other implications for the industry in the coming months:
- Market expansion. The app targets SME businesses that might otherwise be priced out of the agency market.
- AI in the mix. The service automatically reads content for problems before turning it over to a human editor.
- Scale. Commoditization of some services have left agencies with little choice but to accept lower rates; technologies like those within Spry may create enough volume and efficiency to find a profitable equilibrium?
- Talent. Virtual agencies have proven to be competitive - it's not always essential to be in an office to serve clients, and lots of great PR people aren't interested in 9-5 jobs. Spry could open up a whole new world of opportunity for professionals.
It's early days for the app, of course. But exciting to see real innovation introduced to PR.
Disclosure: Spry was incubated in our group, and its founder Angie Schneider is a friend.
Although Spry is based on common tenets of the gig economy — efficiently connecting contractors and employers on-demand — the service does include human (as well as computer) vetting of freelancers, and the work they produce, to ensure credibility, quality and originality, she said.