Opinion: From our Readers - The solution lies in specialisation

It is a conversation I regularly have with colleagues from other businesses - is PR developing into a profession? Ian Monk highlights the issue well (Opinion, 19 February).

Here is a different twist though. We neither have enough different interesting entrants from other sectors (including journalists) in PR, nor do we have what Monk calls barriers to entry such as training and professional qualifications. The schizoid challenge that many in PR face is 'specialist or generalist?' - and the solution lies in specialisation, especially as the recession is heightening the demand for real added value and clear benefits.

So, be clear about the practice or the sector skills you have - as they do in law - and about the analytical or creative skills you have - as they do in advertising. Don't try to be a generalist PRO, but invest in a chosen route.

Just like developing a brand positioning, this requires a painful moment of walking away from other things that we could be. But the pain is worth it. We will end up differentiated, with clear skill sets, focus and direction.

Ash Coleman-Smith, MD, EMEA Ogilvy PR Worldwide.

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