From shaping corporate strategy to maintaining career balance and diversity, there are a number of benefits that experience on the client side brings to public relations professionals. Following are some key perspectives from our team – including my own – focused on the differences between a corporate PR position and life in the agency world.
Having personally worked on the corporate side as a PR agency client, as well as having also worked for several agencies, I have experienced the advantages of both roles. For example, working in-house for a single company allows for deep immersion in the company and its products and solutions. Working in-house provides opportunities for making real contributions to the achievement of corporate and marketing goals. Working for a PR agency, however, offers infinite variety and the ability to collaborate with like-minded professionals.
Working in-house empowers PR people to contribute to company strategy. The practice of integrating business and communications objectives is a key element of working on the client side. Understanding your company’s market positioning and its customers is central to crafting consistent and concise messaging, as well as for delivering outbound communications that resonate.
In-house PR pros are the company’s storytellers. A key element of corporate communications is becoming a storyteller. Those professionals who work on the client side have a great opportunity to become “internal journalists” and use their positions to unearth all of the cool and interesting happenings within an organization – whether they’re R&D, new product developments, stories about corporate culture, or almost anything else that’s noteworthy.
Packaging and positioning those stories and their unique selling points for the right media audiences can have great benefits, particularly when showcasing corporate thought leadership or company culture or highlighting philanthropic programs, among other things.
Working on the client side makes you a better partner with your PR agency. Client and agency relationships are most successful when each party has an understanding of what it is like to be in the other’s position. This is why corporate PR pros who have been on the agency side understand where, when and how their agencies can best deliver. Effective corporate PR leaders are those who have the expertise and judgment to truly partner with their agencies and enable their success.
In addition, corporate PR executives with agency experience are almost always better-positioned to make the right calls about staffing and budget, ensuring that a blend of in-house and agency PR resources serves the company most effectively.
For example, in many cases, deployment of agency skills and talent includes leveraging agency media contacts and expertise or using agencies for unexpected or fast-response projects that an internal team simply may not have the bandwidth or geographic footprint to manage.
Achieving balanced career experience is ideal. For both junior- and senior-level PR professionals, cultivating a diversity of career experiences makes sense. In my opinion, a truly well-rounded PR person should get experience on both sides of the desk. And from the standpoint of an agency like Bospar, we think it makes sense to have people from all walks of professional life on our team, because the different perspectives these individuals bring empower us to deliver more impactful client service.