The growing trend of branching out and offering more

A pint with your post and a gig at your ad agency – it’s all par for the course nowadays. The Economist today reported how a number of agencies are branching out in order to stay afloat in the tough economic times.

New York-based Kirshenbaum Bond + Partners (KBP), has added several divisions to create extra cash flow, including a public-relations unit and Varick Media Management, a data-analysis and investment-management firm launched last year. 

Euro RSCG, a unit of French advertising group Havas, recently acquired its own music label to sign budding young artists.

Another example is WPP owned Ogilvy & Mather that has launched OgilvyEarth, which advises firms on CSR and green policies. It also started a separate Recession Marketing Practice this year to counsel companies on how to use their marketing budgets wisely.

Agencies aren’t the only ones looking further afield to keep the cash flowing. This week it has been reported that an ingenious pub landlord has started a Use Your Local scheme – whereby people can have packages and parcels delivered to a pub rather than their houses – to remove the inconvenience of getting to the postal sorting office. 500 pubs have now signed up and it sounds like it’s all going well.

It’s not the first time that pubs and post offices have mixed – pubs have been opening their doors to the postal services for many years, since the post office started facing difficulties and closing branches in its more remote towns.

I think the parcel service is a brilliant idea. More businesses should start thinking about how they can expand their services to provide people with what they really need.

There’s nothing more annoying than needing to take a morning off work just to get to your local collections offices which are frequently in hard to reach areas and open at awkward times. This removes the problem and earns more money for struggling pubs too. It’s a great service and definitely one I’ll be using myself.

One thing all businesses considering branching out should bear in mind is becoming a jack of all trades and a master of none. Supermarkets offering banking and postal pubs are all good but they must also remember their original business purpose.