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November 12, 2010
PR Firms: Smaller More Relational Than Bigger?
 
True, this is from a press release by the parties at interest -- small, boutique public relations firms. And when you have only 29 members, the situation at Public Relations Boutiques International (PRBI), you're likely to know polling results before the questions are asked. Still, there's a point to be noted in the manner in which boutique firms operate: Their senior people get involved with clients, and that's good. 

We're not suggesting that larger PR firms conduct client relations through neophytes -- their less experienced staffers. But if you're a large firm with lots of clients, your senior, most experienced people can only be stretched so far. While understandable, that may rankle some clients. 

It's not surprising to find PRBI reporting that "specialized, focused services of senior practitioners is a common thread driving the hiring of such firms (boutiques), regardless of today's economic climate."

Not all PR services, of course, are explicitly strategic, but most stem from strategic insights. After all, PR as a craft is rooted in visioning, planning, and strategizing. And during a period of economic stringency effective strategy is especially important, so the boutique firms have a selling point in in the experience of their senior practitioners.

However, especially in uncertain times like these, we suspect that all PR firms are seeking to provide their clients with the best advice possible, and that the senior people in firms of whatever size are finding ways to relate well to, and thereby retain, clients. They'd better be.  

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Doug Bedell has a background in journalism and PR and is the owner of Resource Relations LLC in Central PA, focusing on organizational and crisis communication. He’s the community manager of SimplyFair.net, a social network on fairness. On the Web, Doug’s at www.ResourceRelations.com. On Twitter, he’s @DougBeetle.
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