Working out exactly what’s distinctive about Borkowski as an agency, what makes it tick, and why it’s been so successful has taken a long time. It’s only now, nearly thirty years since the agency was founded, that it’s possible to provide a semi-systematised overview of something which has been instinctual for years.
We tell stories, that’s all. Of course, it’s far more complex than that, because to get to the story we also ask questions, have critical conversations, create strategies and provide counsel. But essentially it’s all about story, which is why our new website www.borkowski.co.uk (yes we have dropped the .do) just shows those.
We started thirty years ago and the world has changed a lot since then, but we have tried to stay true to what we believe whilst keep a pace with the disruption and progress.
It’s been said that this is the age of “truth decay.” That the word we inhabit is a post-factual world. A world of Fake News and alternative facts. A world in which every story is tainted, the product of leaks and hacks, ‘black ops’ and active measures, propaganda and disinformation—spread by trolls, replicated by bots and amplified in echo chambers deep inside the inner sanctum of the web.
The media and serious journalism is being slowly replaced by the infoscape, the blogosphere, the social network and the Twitterverse. Stories have become ‘content’, news organisations have become ‘platforms’ and yesterday’s long read has been shrunk to tiny newsfeeds crawling relentlessly across the bottom of our screens or popping up on mobile as we walk along the street.
These days the business of publicity has changed. We have to understand how one truth competes with another, and how that makes each of us feel. In days gone by trust was at best subsidiary to the all pervasive focus on sales and market share. And in the current environment, the degree to which consumer trust influences decisions has never been higher and is clearly rising. Yet, paradoxically, trust and transactions are independent variables. Only when you view them as such can you fully understand their relationship in true brand sustainability. Advertising can no longer shape perceptions about a brand to the same extent. It’s individual relationships that count, and businesses should avoid the tendency to use their increased social reach to try and ‘advertise’ their way out of that responsibility. Behaviour is on public display so customer interaction is an imperative more than ever.
in the end, successful publicity has to build a relationship between client and brand. The modern audience is not so much looking for a challenge to established values as a development of better ones to fix broken brand Britain. To build a relationship with the consumer, brands must first build relationships between consumers. Companies have to romance the same consumers they once bought. Fifty years ago corporations could hide behind expensive public image campaigns. But now thanks to social media they actually need to properly connect. This is the first time in modern business when success or failure depends not on what you say nor even on what you produce, but on who you are.
As for the bigger Borkowski picture, is there an argument for saying that we can never hope to encompass all we do or create ourselves? We continue to focus on building a niche for our work that no one else can own. It’s a niche carved over decades with other commentators, thinkers and analysts.
We will always strive to find companies that will allow us to totally overhaul and revolutionise their attitude to communications, to forge a thoroughly captivating narrative. We’re good at what we do, but have given up trying to explain ourselves. Perhaps our future is in selling explanations, not PR.
In the meantime, we hope the new website will provide some insight.