Text 100 is the latest agency to formalize analytics as a standalone practice. The Next 15-owned shop brought on Phil Kam in December for the newly-created global role of VP of data and analytics.

Kam joined Text 100 from Weber Shandwick where he was VP of measurement, analytics and insight. While Kam’s post is new, Text 100 has a notable history around analytics. Back in 2003, when Next 15 bought Applied Communications, its PR operation was folded into Next 15’s sister firm Bite while Applied’s analytics arm -- called Context Analytics -- was folded into Text 100. After residing within Text for several years, in 2010, Context was spun into Next 15’s new digital consultancy Beyond.

“The industry has evolved to the point where we need to be able to lead with data,” says Jeremy Woolf, Text’s 100 global digital and social media practice lead who Kam reports into. “We needed a senior person with knowledge in data and analytics.”

Unlike Context Analytics, Woolf says the new practice that Kam is building will be more tightly integrated into the firm. The plan is for Kam to ultimately lead pre-campaign planning as well as after-action reporting like influencer and social media analysis.

A challenge for the PR industry has been persuading clients to allocate budget for planning services, but Woolf says this is changing as clients are feeling more pressure to show and use data more profoundly within their own organizations.

“We’re also leading with research when it comes to new business,” he adds. “Then, the client is signing on for it.”

He adds, the PR industry still has a long way to go to catch-up to the way the advertising sector has baked planning into its core offering.

Chuck Hemann recently left W2O -- known for its robust analytics offering -- to formalize a similar practice within GolinHarris. Prior to Weber, Kam was at Cision and Delahaye. Featured photo credit: Tom Woodward