ginny paton, House pr, public relations london

PR consultants – the modern problem solvers – by Ginny Paton

Remember when the job of the PR agency was simply to come along near the end of a campaign to make some calls to the national newspapers?

Thank God those days are now largely over – agencies like House PR (Ginny Paton is MD) are far more likely to be giving insights as part of their ongoing day to day activities for their clients. This is a hugely varied role, so it leads us to the question of what the true purpose of a PR consultancy is, these days.

Well if you ask me, the PR consultant is uniquely placed to be an all-round solver of client problems. PR professionals of today can and should be the first point of contact for the CEO or the MD, providing insights on handling crises, sorting a launch across diverse media, helping with a new corporate strategy, or informing business priorities.

That’s why PR consultancies are frequently going after the same account work as management consultants – but we have one advantage. We bring our creative skills to the party.

While we come at our work from a background of understanding comms and the press, we bring our analytical skills to bear on many more strategic activities than gaining media coverage.

But a key point to bear in mind is that we can only earn that role by being channel-neutral about the advice we hand out. We could advise them to spend their money on advertising rather than PR, for instance. Or digital marketing. Or a combination of all three.

Why do I think that the PR consultant is best placed to take on this job, rather than those other advisors surrounding a brand? Because our range of awareness is very broad. PR people have to be analytical and they have to have a strong understanding of business drivers and the pitfalls that could occur to a company. But they also need to know their current affairs, and their way around a marketing strategy.

And what’s most important, they can give consideration to all of these issues in a holistic manner.

Recently, House PR has been asked by clients to suggest ad firms, to take part in internal recruitment meetings, and we have given advice to CEOs on all sorts of business plans. That’s because our clients trust us, and we know their businesses implicitly.

We at House PR take a problem-solving approach. We give the best possible answer to a question, even if the answer isn’t what you’d consider to be traditional PR.

That might seem odd, but only if your view of PR is severely outdated. If you open your mind to the capabilities of the modern PR consultancy, you’ll be impressed by how it can enhance businesses of all kinds.

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