Healthcare shmealthcare, you totally stole the show this week with your B.I.G. N.E.W.S.
You know… that not-so-little bolt from the blue that you’re going public. And that you’ll have “an anticipated initial enterprise value of approximately $2.4 billion.”
First of all, congrats. I’ve known you for a long time, and some of the hardest-working people in the industry call you “boss.” So I hope this turns out to be a great thing for them too.
What my colleagues and I are hoping, though, is that this also turns out to be a great thing for the PR industry… and us.
We haven’t had much of a chance to chat recently. So just in case you’ve been wondering what we’d like, here goes:
As my friend Jodi Echakowitz said, “If Cision going public means that it will have the funding to drive some innovation in our industry, then [this is] a great thing.
“I’ve been a user of the Cision media database for a very long time, and not much has changed in that platform.”
And Jodi knows what she’s talking about; she is one of the most respected small agency owners in North America.
My colleague Andy Russell agrees. In fact, he thinks that, if you continue to invest in the cloud, you’ll actually be able to scale your pricing.
Which brings me to…
Look. We love your solution. Every time we’re asked which is better you or your competitor (let’s face it, you really only have one competitor left at this point, at least in N.A.), we say you.
But the people who are your biggest cheerleaders often can’t afford you!
Rajean Blomquist – who is a terrific independent contractor doing great work in our field – said point-blank she can’t currently justify your cost.
Sohini Baliga – also another terrific IC – agrees.
As do many, many more.
Now, I know that you work with massive, mammoth firms (and budgets) all over the world, and that’s great.
But oftentimes folks at those mammoth firms are looking to see what influencers in the space are saying about various solutions … and that intel shapes their purchasing decisions.
Which means that independent business owners like Rajean and Sohini could be some of your most effective influencers … if you let them.
And that starts with – you guessed it – making it viable for them to actually use, and experience, your service.
Personally, I’ve been one of your biggest fans for a long time now. You’ve been very good to me (heck, you were my client once!), you’ve supported nonprofit causes that were important to me, and you’ve been good to many of my colleagues.
And even though you’ve been through a lot of ch-ch-ch-changes in recent years, you never made me feel like I don’t matter.
This is a whole different ball game, though.
And I can’t help but wonder if I and my ilk – the growing pool of freelancers, micro- and small business owners – will still count in this exciting, somewhat terrifying, new world you’re building.
I sure hope so.
Because just like you, we love innovation.
Just like you, we love connecting the dots.
Just like you, we thrive on generating results.
Looks like you’re in for the ride of your life. Don’t forget to take us along, wontcha?
Image: Lionel Abrial via Unsplash, CC0 1.0 Universal
Shonali, first and foremost, let us say we are HONORED that the news was blog-worthy. Given the venerable pro and influencer that you are in the industry to warrant the thinking you put into this, nevermind the time spent to put out that very well-written – and SPOT ON – piece! (And, before I go further…David Bowie is on my Mt. Rushmore of music artists of all time, so you HAD ME AT Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes!)
You captured this whole thing very well. The industry DOES need innovation. I’ve been a card carrying member of the “PR fan club” for almost 30 years now in my career (skip the old man jokes, please). Nowadays, it’s the “PR-Comms-Earned Media-Influencer Fan Club” as the times evolve, but at its heart, it’s the exact same thing. It’s always frustrated me that the innovation in our honored profession hasn’t come along or as well or as fast as our ‘peers’. Look how incredibly far and fast paid media, digital commerce, and owned media have come, just in this decade. The gap, if we’re self aware, and honest with each other, just isn’t acceptable! At the core of your piece, and at the core of the WHY Cision is going public, is exactly that – INNOVATION. We’re doing this so we can be the innovation catalyst this industry so badly needs. At their core, these innovations in all the other disciplines and media have been simple. They are Data, Tech, and Measurement. And these ‘big 3’ are delivered via (get ready for the Silicon Valley tech-whiz-kid terminology) Cloud Platforms. These Cloud Platforms have transformed Sales, Service, Advertising, Commerce, Web/Mobile, Social and even back office functions like HR and Finance. And these Cloud Platforms (well, the Cision one at least) are going to help transform us. The PR/Comms/Earned Media club needs to get there, and this is the path. That’s what all the noise has been about. Cision Communications Cloud is that Cloud Platform for innovation for US in PR, just like all the mega-vendors have done for the other clubs.
I digress – remember when everyone was saying Banner Ads were dead? Well, with all due respect, more money is invested in Banner Ads today than in all of history. Remember when everyone was saying Email was dead? Well, with all due respect, more money is invested in Email today than in all of history. Why? Because they invested in a Cloud Platform, and voila, innovation! And with innovation came investment, for everyone. When I hear the unenlightened few out there who snark that PR is dead, I point these out, and respectfully, but vehemently, disagree. All PR needs is to get onboard with a Cloud Platform, which has that data, tech, measurement as ingredients, and we WILL see more money and investment spent in PR than ever in history too! Over 3,000 of us folks who wear Cision uniforms to work every day believe this in our hearts and souls, and we are so excited to be busy at work developing it so we can give it to you!
We are going public to have the means to drive innovation for us in this industry. All of us. The journalists. The influencers. The agencies. The brands. The vendors. All of us. To drive true innovation at scale requires a lot of capital. And this deal we announced gives us that. Hundreds of millions of dollars more in capital in cash to invest in the business, and probably more importantly, access to public markets capital to invest even more, and faster. It’s pretty simple. We want to be a change agent, and we want to drive the innovation all of us need.
So, is us going public a good thing for the industry? H—L Yeah!
I also cringe when I see the ‘too expensive’ comments. While at the same time, I acknowledge them. I think it’s important for everyone to know that while we are the “Enterprise Leader” (oops, I let that darn silicon valley speak creep in there again for a second), working with over 90% of the Top 100 brands on the world and 95% of the top 50 agencies, most folks don’t realize that we actual provide something – be it database or monitoring or social or wire distribution or analytics or – to over 80,000 companies a year. So do we work with smaller companies and agencies and individuals in the world as well as the biggest? You BET we do. And we are as committed to this long-tail (ok, last tech term, I promise) as we are to the big guys. And are we committed to make sure that some of this capital we’re raising goes to automation and scale, not just new stuff, the answer is yes. That is how we continue to drive our costs down, and the more our costs come down internally, the more our prices will come down for our customers and partners. It’s as simple and straightforward as that, it really does work that way, and trust me, we’re pretty darn focused on this part of the equation as well.
I’m just getting warmed up, but at the same time, I realize I have written a novella, so I think I’ll stop it here. THANK YOU for the amazing ink, Shonali, and I hope you approve of our heartfelt and honest response. We love our relationship with you as well, and can’t wait to invest in making it more valuable to you and all your peers out there. We’d love to see your face in person anytime, don’t be a stranger!
(Kevin Akeroyd is the CEO of Cision)
That WAS a surprise, for you to comment so thoughtfully and QUICKLY! I very much appreciate you stopping by, as I said earlier.
I’m very glad to hear you are committed to working with the “smaller fish”
as well, both companies and individuals. If there is some way to systematize that, so that people aren’t constantly looking around for accounts they can piggyback off of, or “share” (I don’t know if Cision encourages this practice but surely you know it happens), that would really be excellent.
And if you’d ever like my input as you/your team is putting such a package/offering together, I’d be happy to chat (don’t mean to offer unasked-for advice, just letting you know I’m around!). Actually, I do have an idea … but I will wait until we meet, hopefully that won’t be too long from now.
I look forward to meeting you in person soon! Many thanks again for stopping by, that too on a holiday – hope you have a great week!