Who needs a PR department part II

Tomorrow's Business

PR agencies are getting it in the neck this week. I feel just terrible.

The response from hacks to yesterday’s piece asking why chairmen hire PR agencies in the first place was agreement and gnashing of teeth. Really, what are you good for?

There was a missive from my favourite in-house PR man, the one most likely to call me what Caitlin Moran called Tim Martin. (I don’t mind.)

He says: “Chairmen have PR agencies to second guess the in-house PRs if the fan gets scatological or if they have gone native and are too wedded to the executive management. It’s like a governance requirement, the PR equivalent of having a backup office in Slough. And just as useful. And like the backup office, when you finally go in to turn on the lights because that day has come, nothing works. Most of the time the in-house team spend their time on the sport of making stuff up to give to agencies to see how much they’re leaking.”

I think that’s a) funny. B) well harsh.

From a hack’s perspective, I’d say the quality of the in-house PRs has soared in recent years. I don’t know why that would be, but the head of corporate affairs at Big Company X totally knows what she is doing.

And she knows that sometimes it is far better for the message to come from a deniable distance, via an agency flak. Via someone she can sack, in other words.

I also think that the very very best PR folk are agency, perhaps because they have a wider perspective than the in-house guys.

Next week: why you are all brilliant.

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