There is a longstanding belief that the War of the Roses exists between the media and PR people. I say those days are gone, so let’s put that totally behind us! I have sat on both sides of the fence and all those jokes about the ‘dark side’, ‘selling your soul to the devil’ etc are so old school that anyone who says them appears uneducated and living in the dark ages. The role of the journalist and the PR professional go hand in hand, like a wetsuit and a surfboard – they both serve their purpose and assist each other in the end outcome.
So at the risk of being controversial… where the war really exists is between internal PR people and the PR agency. In an agency we see it every day unfortunately; in-house PR people who don’t like that an agency have been brought in to be the ‘creative ones’ and they are set to show us who is boss – a short lived power trip that doesn’t assist anyone, least of all the client, and only makes them look unprofessional. The reality is the role of in-house and agency are both incredibly important and achieve completely different things.
As an agency there is no way we can be across every internal step of the company and as an in-house person there is usually no way you can achieve what an agency can due to our size and depth of experience. But when we work together and both use our unique points of difference you strike gold.
Fantastic in-house people are usually meticulous with detail, planned, measured, have sensational systems and know the sensitivities of the brand inside out. Some of the best PR operators I have meet are amazing national in-house PR/marketing managers, whose detail and systems I will always admire – these are not the people I am referring to. The opposite end of the spectrum is the Gen Y junior marketing assistant, who with two years experience thinks she should really be the state marketing manager and sets out to make the agency’s job a challenge to achieve, just to prove who is really boss. If only they understood the difference in our roles and worked to the betterment of the brand.