Talent remains crucial, but its defining qualities are changing

Talk to any senior executive in the PR business, on the agency or the client side, and they will tell you that attracting and retaining the right talent will be the most crucial factor in determining whether they are successful in 2011.

Talk to any senior executive in the PR business, on the agency or the client side, and they will tell you that attracting and retaining the right talent will be the most crucial factor in determining whether they are successful in 2011.

PR is a people business. It is all about coming up with great ideas and communicating them to a target audience, through whichever medium is most appropriate for that group.

Every brand, company, or organization is searching for "the big idea" that will propel its sales forward, achieve a corporate aim, or head off a potential problem at the pass.

The talent that creates these ideas is the very fiber of an effective in-house or external agency communications team.

In many circumstances, you can't beat experience. However, the definition of "experience" is changing. And outfits that are top-heavy with expensive, "old school" talent will struggle to navigate their way through this new dynamic.

This is certain to be one of the major themes of the year ahead as recruiters search for the new breed of PR pro. These individuals might be skilled in content creation, digital and social media, community management, or production, just as much as they are adept in traditional PR skills such as writing, media sell-in, and crisis management. And if they can combine all of these abilities, then they will really hit pay dirt.

Agencies and clients are looking for a new type of talent and they are spreading their nets widely to find it. Marketers are reflecting this and sending out briefs to many different firms in a bid to source their big ideas for 2011 and beyond.

As we embark on a new year, the competition for the talent that is going to push communications forward is set to heat up. The shackles of the recession have largely been thrown off and companies are in recruiting mode again.

The industry must attract and retain the right type of talent to ensure it is equipped to provide the communications expertise and big ideas so sought-after in the modern marketing environment. 

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