Small Business Q&A: Michael O’Keeffe, PSG

On this week’s Q&A Kehlan talks with Michael O’Keeffe, chief executive of PSG Communications which was formed as a result of a merger. He asks why and how it came about.

How did the merger come about?

It came about between Pembroke Communications and the Slattery Group, so it became the Pembroke Slattery Group, or PSG Communications for short. Pembroke was the company that I was running and we were constantly looking for new ways to expand our offering to customers and develop new business strategies.

We looked at perhaps getting to where we wanted to be in about three to five years. At the same time, Slattery’s were looking at expansion and were very much on the same track as us with their three- to five-year plans. We saw there could be advantages in getting together to satisfy each other’s needs of growth. So we merged and created the Pembroke Slattery Group. This has allowed both companies to expand their customer offering and clients as well.

Did you merge because you were compatible or because you both brought something different?

That’s a good question, because in many cases it’s two opposites who merge to fill gaps in what their company offers. However, in this case the goal was quicker expansion rather than gaps in our offerings. We were both very similar in what we offered customers and both had about 20 employees too. Culturally, it helped too.

So no one business culture or idea was above another. We were similar in thought and structure, so no big shocks were had in terms of how the company was run. This helped to keep stability within the merger and therefore among the employees as well.

What is it that you do now?

We’ll sit down clients and talk about what they represent and what they want to say to the public or businesses and develop a proactive media plan. We cover a broad spectrum of clients; from small indigenous companies right up to large multinationals. So we would represent them in terms of PR and their company communications to consumers. We also deal with sponsorship for clients as well. So, the recent big sponsorship deal for Dublin GAA would have been a part of what we do.

We also represent clients in their social media strategies, so creative content and advice would be our main role for that. We represent and advise many clients small and big. In the future we will have a digital first strategy, meaning all our employees will be social media savvy and online competent. However, hundreds of thousands of people still buy newspapers, listen to the radio and watch television daily. That means we still have to know how to deliver our clients’ messages to that audience and make their message work for them.


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