This weeks Topic of the Week is about PR Firms and departments and which one I would want to work for.
I would want to work for a PR Firm, at least when starting out. It just seems to me that most PR Firms have multiple businesses as clients whereas PR departments are departments within a business. One of the “Insights” in the book, Public Relations: Strategies and Tactics, features a woman, Stacy Nobles, who started out in a PR Firm and then went to work for a department in a company. For her, the experience of a firm before the company helped to prepare her. I would want to have the experience of working with multiple types of businesses before I decided what specific business I would want to stay with. If I worked for multiple companies and realized that certain types of companies were my favorites to do PR stuff for then I would maybe pick a company to go apply for their PR department. Also, starting out in a firm and then later concentrating in one area/company department would give me the experience to build my portfolio which I would need to get hired at the company.
The PR Firm also seems more exciting to me. The list of services a PR firm provides as listed in the book seems more along the line of what I would want to do. Marketing communications, executive speech training, research evaluation, crisis communication, media analysis, community relations, events management, public affairs, branding and corporate reputations, and financial relations are listed as the services provided. Seeing as I enjoy things that involve creativity; I would thoroughly enjoy marketing, events management, and branding and corporate reputations since I could use my creativity to add to my abilities to perform jobs.
In the book there is a clear defined area of advantages and disadvantaged for PR Firms, but not one for PR departments. According to Careerride.com the advantages of an in-house department all span from the fact that the department will focus only on company products and markets and be the spokesperson for the company. Careerride.com also says that the disadvantages are that one person usually does all the work and that lack of resources limits the companies visibility and product awareness in the public eye.
The advantages and disadvantages for PR Firms listed in the book are as follows:
Objectivity, variety of skills and expertise, extensive resources, international jobs, offices throughout the country, special problem-solving skills, and credibility.
Superficial grasp of a client’s unique problems, lack of full-time commitment, need for prolonged briefing period, resentment by internal staff, need for strong direction by top management, need for full information and confidence, and costs.
Overall, based on what I have read and learned, I really want to start out my career in a PR Firm and maybe later move to a department.