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Positioning your PR: Agency vs Client-Side


Victoria Usher

Published On:

May 31, 2013

Published In:

PR & Communications

I’ve always had a passion for languages and linguistics, and so the fact that a large part of my day is spent editing and proofing copy for clients suits me down to the ground. Obsessing over spacing and punctuation, and getting into the nitty-gritty of the syntax of a sentence really floats my boat so to speak, much to the bewilderment of my friends and family.

And working for an agency is great because we’ve built up a varied portfolio of clients, so we all get to be involved in a variety of projects – no two days are the same.

However, before I joined GingerMay, I also had the benefit of working client-side for a leading health company. This role also involved extensive writing, and the advantage was that I soon became an expert on all things health and nutrition, but naturally the downside was the topics on which I could write were rather more limited.

An advantage of being part of an agency is that working with an expert, like-minded team makes for a good working environment, and we’re all happy to roll up our sleeves at any point. One minute we’re quietly working away (dotting the ‘i’s and crossing the ‘t’s); the next we’re bouncing off each other’s ideas and fuelling creativity. People often ask me on which side of the fence I would sit if I had the choice: I think as long as you join the right team – and of course take on the right portfolio of clients – then it’s agency all the way.

However, having worked both agency and client-side has given me a good insight into the workings of PR from both perspectives. Although I now work for an agency, the experience I gained client-side helps me put myself in my clients’ shoes when promoting their products and I can support the ethos of the brand. In this way, I feel it’s extremely important to have a close working relationship with my clients; it often feels as if I’m actually working within their organisation. We’re always very honest with our clients and if we think something won’t work, we’ll tell them. Clients are too busy with their marketing strategies to consider the best ways of conveying their messages to their audience through PR, and that’s exactly why we’re there to help.

So for those companies considering outsourcing their PR efforts, just make sure that the agency or PR consultant you choose is happy to get stuck in and believe in your brand just as passionately as you do. And if they have feedback, listen to it, even if you don’t always choose to act upon it. Our most successful clients are the ones who are passionate about their work, but aren’t too precious about it and are open to change.

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