I can’t believe that I’ve been working in PR for nearly 21 years. I started out as a very green communication graduate in February 1987 as a junior consultant with Vion-Rutzou which later became Edelman and worked my way up to senior consultant level with Dennis Rutzou PR.

In 1993 I decided it was time to try something new and moved to an in-house role with Panasonic. This led me to a number of in-house roles including Dick Smith Electronics, Woolworths, Integral Energy and now back with DRPR. So I feel I’m quite qualified to talk about the difference between consulting and in-house.

Both have their merits and drawbacks which I plan to share with you.

Because I’m currently working as a consultant I’ll start with the benefits of hiring a PR agency like DRPR.

Our number one selling point when we are talking to prospective clients is our objectivity. As we are outside a client’s organisation, we can offer them a unique perspective. When you work inside an organisation you tend to be blinkered and, in some cases, a bit indoctrinated. So you can find it impossible to be objective.

Another major benefit of outsourcing to a consultancy is that you can hire someone (or a team) with more experience for the same budget. For example, if you were paying your consultancy $85,000 per year you’d be getting a senior PR person with up to 20 years experience, backed up by one or more junior level consultants. If you hired an in-house PR Manager for $85,000 per year you might get someone who had say five to seven years experience.

There are of course benefits to hiring an in-house person. They can absorb the company culture and have more accessibility. When I worked at Panasonic I became the organisation’s key resource for company history and the person who was called upon when no one else knew the answer.

An in-house person is also available to the organisation full-time so they don’t have other clients to command their attention. Having said that, they are still entitled to four weeks annual leave and at least five days sick leave so if you only have one PR person, you’ll have to do without them sometime during the year.

Often a compromise that many organisations settle on is hiring a relatively junior in-house PR person who is backed up by a more experienced agency. This scenario cashes in on the benefits of both consultancy and in-house and can work well for many companies.

Either way professional communication is something that most organisations need on an ongoing basis or at least from time-to-time so give us a call if you want to talk about how you can enhance your company’s image.

Nicola Rutzou