EDITORIAL: Specialisms are more than a fad

PR consultancies are just as prone to fads in management theory as any other type of company. And in a people business, there is often a tendency to overdramatise the importance of each tweak of the agency structure as a blinding innovation which will leave the opposition standing.

PR consultancies are just as prone to fads in management theory as

any other type of company. And in a people business, there is often a

tendency to overdramatise the importance of each tweak of the agency

structure as a blinding innovation which will leave the opposition

standing.



So it would be easy to dismiss the decision of Lexis PR to set up a

creative department as just such a flourish. But maybe it isn’t.



One of the most significant trends in PR consultancy over the last

decade and a half has been the emergence of the specialist - consultants

who specialise in either a particular branch of PR, like lobbying or

investor relations or issues management, or those who specialise in a

particular industry sector, like IT or healthcare. Some of the most

successful consultancies during that time have made their names in such

niches, and many of the big generalist consultancies have responded by

re-shaping themselves into divisions along similar lines.



But while the principle of specialisation in particular kinds of PR is

well accepted, consultancy executives are still expected to be all

things to all clients in other ways. They have to be account handlers

and managers, new business getters, event organisers, salesmen, media

experts, writers and creative geniuses. Yet how many people genuinely

excel at all of those things?



Lexis is not the first to try to restructure itself in line with the

skills of its staff, and its preferred solution may not suit all. But in

an increasingly competitive environment, it will become even more

important for consultancies to play to the strengths of their people in

order to extract the maximum value for clients.



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