"The business of a client’s business." That’s a catchy phrase, isn’t it? I sure think so. In fact, we use it as firm’s our signature tagline.
We do so for a reason. Because we have so many more offerings than your average, plain vanilla PR firm, we "touch" a client in many different ways.
One day, we’ll work with a business continuity manager on a crisis/security plan for his organization. On another day, we’ll work with a chief marketer to close the communications gaps between her sales and marketing teams. On other occasions, we’ll liaise with a client’s interactive group to create its first intranet.
All of this adds up to a deeper understanding of the client’s business. And, that’s a big deal. Especially nowadays, with the markets tanking. Clients want to know their PR firms understand the role of public relations within the marketing mix. They also expect agencies to understand the implications of a stock’s rise or fall and meeting or missing the Street’s expectations.
GE CEO Jeff Immelt emphasized some of these points at his recent Arthur Page Society keynote address. Keith O’Brien’s PR Week opinion piece speaks to the need for PR people to "get" business. And, Brian McGee, who chairs the College of Charleston’s communications department, sees more and more students declaring business administration as their minor.
If our industry wants to claim (and maintain) a seat at the table during these times of
rollicking economic uncertainty, we need to know more than just the name of a Wall Street Journal editor, we need to understand what happens on Wall Street itself. Until then, we run the risk of being further marginalized on prices and continuing to be perceived as little more than press release writers, special events managers and party planners.