It is a long cherished dream of many PR professionals to move from agency to in-house.
Less stress, less hours, one client (usually (might be many stakeholders)), better pay, better respect (in some cases), better promotion prospects (perhaps). Whether the reality works out that way is another story.
While it makes sense for companies to hire PR agency professionals both in terms of wages and resource and indeed closer proximity with the business, there seems a slightly more worrying observation I think I am seeing although I cannot call it a trend.
At a time when recession PR means that everyone wants the most for their bucks, we are seeing marketing managers being saddled with PR duties more and more it seems.
It can be a false economy to say the least – PR is a separate discipline with learned skills that differ from marketing.
(B2B PR, consumer PR, public sector PR, financial PR are all of a smaller closer related family than marketing and yet there are differences that need to be learnt to operate between them).
Let me illustrate, a friend of mine who works at a baby manufacturing business showed me the job spec for an entry level marketing professional. There it was among the events, brochure, website duties: PR and that seemed to be summed up by the unimaginative and miscomprehension that B2B and B2C PR is press releases.
It seems common sense that a hungry go getter will perform their PR duties as well as their marketing ones. The reality is that they will probably flounder, unlikely to exploit the PR potential of the business. They are learning their art and the return is unlikely to be there, there will be a loss of coverage and profile by letting someone with no mentor to guide them.
But the issue goes further when even marketing managers have PR incorporated in their job specs.
It is time that if you really want PR you hire a public relations professionals or accept it is a periphery, an extra as you cannot have both.