THINKPIECE: It no longer really matters whether you’re on the corporate or agency side, but that you’re a pro

The traditional question posed to many public relations job seekers is, ’So, do you think you’re suited for a corporate or agency environment?’ That question may be as antiquated as sending out press releases en masse.

The traditional question posed to many public relations job seekers is, ’So, do you think you’re suited for a corporate or agency environment?’ That question may be as antiquated as sending out press releases en masse.

The traditional question posed to many public relations job seekers

is, ’So, do you think you’re suited for a corporate or agency

environment?’ That question may be as antiquated as sending out press

releases en masse.



Here are a few reasons why.



The myths never match reality. If you’re employed at an agency, working

in corporate represents the ’glamorous’ side - leaving promptly at 5 pm,

cushy benefits and meals in the executive dining room. But all of that

has changed. Corporate jobs are no longer safe havens where managers

simply answer the phone and pal around with the CEO. Nor are agency jobs

all sales presentations and passing off work to junior staff.



In an agency, first-time job seekers want the thrill of a fast-paced

environment, or an opportunity to learn alongside other people who have

passed through the same entry-level tests.



But the current business climate requires more than just learning a

trade. It demands understanding business, management strategies, and

developing intellect far beyond what’s learned shadowing others. It also

requires investing in career tracks and people who will create value no

matter what the environment.



Even the nomenclature doesn’t provide an accurate definition. The terms

’corporate public relations’ or ’corporate communications’ may be

obsolete.



’Corporate’ implies preservation of assets, or real goods and

services.



No one is suggesting that this definition is a completely inaccurate

portrayal.



But the face behind the portrait has changed. Managing perception is now

more about the intangibles or what many treat as less measurable

factors, such as intellectual property, human capital and customer

buying behavior.



For evidence, look no further than high-performing ’old economy’

companies like Alcoa, Georgia-Pacific and US Steel, who despite solid

financial performance, have not achieved valuations of their ’new

economy’ counterparts.



Investors rewarding the intangible have created entirely new

communication challenges and paradigms. It is likely tomorrow’s leaders

won’t make the distinction between corporate or agency PR when it comes

time for answers.



Maybe what we need is another lens through which to view ourselves.

We’re no more ’agency’ or ’corporate’ PR people than we are professional

communicators.



It may be time to learn what the media has already discovered : the

medium doesn’t matter as much as who the messenger is. Who cares what

side they represent or where they’re from? That’s for the receiver to

decide.



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