Having just made the transition from Corporate to Agency, I have a very fresh memory of what it is like to work in public relations for a single organization and then move to a PR agency where I am working on multiple accounts. And let me tell you it’s like comparing apples to oranges.
Working for the man
While working at an agency and on the corporate side are both time consuming, there are major differences. In the corporate world, things move slowly. You have to follow bureaucratic rules and sometimes it can take a week for a news release to be approved. Many corporations may not want to have any public attention — good or bad.
I call it the ostrich. You know, because an ostrich will stick its head in the sand whenever something comes up. Well, at least that’s what I learned from cartoons.
Projects and causes your organization take part in become difficult to put out there in these situations. Not all organizations are like this, but getting anything approved is a long-winded process.
It may seem bleak, but it’s not. There are advantages to corporate life. You gain a much deeper understanding of the business and its culture. The work provides stability and longevity in many cases.
Fast and Furious
Seriously, I don’t think I could describe it any better. Everything moves a lot faster when working for an agency. You work for multiple clients and projects at once. This requires you to know a lot about not only your client and how they think and act, but about strategy. You have to be mindful of trends and current affairs that could involve any one of your clients.
Your clients look to you for advice and direction for everything that is PR. You’re the expert, so you’d better know what you’re talking about — or at least sound like it.
This fast paced environment may sound fun and exciting, but it could lead to longer hours, including nights and weekends.
One or the other
So which is best? I think they both offer benefits and drawbacks. For me, it’s like comparing apples to oranges. Life in both is so drastically different. I will say one thing about life at an agency — I’m never bored.