Opinion: From our Readers - A sector approach needs commitment

Richard Millar's restructuring of Hill and Knowlton (News, 30 April) is sound corporate strategy and good news for clients if it's based on genuine staff expertise.

The sector approach means clients get more from consultants from day one - intelligent advice, policy understanding, and good relationships with key journalists and third parties. The model has underpinned Linstock's growth.

But the sector approach requires commitment. When a client's in-house team is organised by discipline, structural realities can make a sector specialist harder to buy. If the head of media relations has an agency on board, the head of public affairs may be reluctant to hire a cross-disciplinary consultancy.

In our experience, there's no point trying to cut your cake in every direction by switching to a single discipline approach (however good your credentials). All you can do is make a sound case on your own terms and accept that you can't win them all. Fortunately, what you do win is more interesting and rewarding work. Head to head, sector expertise will overcome generic, recycled assertions every time.

Jon Bennett, director, Linstock Communications

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