The department vs. agencies assignment was an important assignment that was completed in the communications technologies course. Upon completing this assignment, we were able to confidently consult and recommend services based on the needs of the client; we were also able to understand the difference between a structured PR department within an organization and a PR agency. Learning about the benefits of each of these gave my classmates and I an idea of whether or not we would like to work client side or agency side and of course both have their pros and cons.
This assignment was completed as an example of how The Fruity Drink Company should structure their organization. As an independent PR consultant, it is important to recognize the type of organization you are advising when consulting. Would they be better suited having an internal PR department or a PR agency? Not everyone is the same.
A structured PR department can work best when they have access to top management, have a high level of influence and when they have authority. Structuring a PR department within an organization is beneficial because those who work within the company can specialize in one area and focus on specialized tasks rather than a variety of different accounts and projects (like an agency would). Specialists within a department know your product best and would be up to speed with any and all information regarding the company.
Don’t get me wrong, agencies can be efficient as well and these people know what they are doing; benefits to having a PR agency handling your company image is that they come equipped with a variety of expertise and skills, credibility, extensive resources and objectivity. PR agencies would be a great option for organizations who are doing one off projects because of an agency’s extensive amount of resources that reach far beyond a department's capability.
Upon completing the assignment with my partner Donna, we found that building an internal PR department is the best way to maintain a consistent public relations image for The Fruity Drink Company. In class we learned that in cases like this building a department would be a better option because the cost associated with an agency can be costly. Departments are able to work closely on areas of the company that need to be improved and also work closely on projects with other employees. The communication within the organization stays within the organization unless advised otherwise.
From there we were able to pull information directly from the case study in order to determine the primary needs of The Fruity Drink Company which were: community relations, media relations and issues management. This exercise enabled us to recognize the needs of the client and advise them on services that would be useful to improve the perception of company. We also learned that building a department within The Fruity Drink Company would be more cost effective in the long run as well. Using what we learned in class, we were able to comprehensively and confidently explain our reasoning behind each of these services and provide the best possible advice to our case study client.