Would you take your car to be serviced at a restaurant?16th July 2015
So, according to a recent article in PR Week magazine, the world of PR is changing to such a degree that agencies should now be equipped to provide whatever skills it takes to ‘make a client successful’.
That’s a great idea, in principle, and there’s a lot to be said for the one-stop-shop. But hang on a minute…if the PR agency is providing all the skills required to make the client successful, what is the client doing? And how are they going to manage this sprawling multi-skilled agency team, or pay for this limitless portfolio of services?
The reality is that the PR sector, like any other, must evolve to keep pace with trends, market forces and technology. It’s a fact that we have embraced here at Clare PR with an increasing focus on content marketing and social media.
However, we’re not a design consultancy or a sales training organisation or a call centre. That’s not what we’re selling, it’s not what we want to be and, quite frankly, it’s not what we’re good at!
Our clients come to us because we are specialists in what we do and they trust us to develop their reputation and build their profile through the content we place in print and online.
Sometimes, we need additional skills to complement that expertise, such as compelling photography, stunning design or commercially-focused web development. When we need those skills, we buy them in; but that doesn’t mean we have to employ those people. We simply inform and advise the client, managing ad hoc additional resources for them in our professional capacity as experienced and strategically driven PR professionals.
The danger with muddying the waters of PR with an over diversification of services is that an agency’s core expertise can become diluted for the sake of short term revenue at the expense of long-term credibility. Why would any client approach a PR agency for telesales or sales training? It’s like going to a restaurant for your MOT – the service from staff might be great but they simply have the wrong skill set to do the job.
I’m not surprised that there is client confusion about what services can be accessed where, given the amount of bandwagon jumping we’ve seen in marketing environments in the digital era and the number of ‘full service’ agencies playing at delivering services that they don’t understand.
In my philosophy, the ability to adapt and change is healthy, but the ability to identify where you excel and stick to what you do best is equally vital for the wellbeing of both the agency and the client.