It was another fascinating Commschat tonight on Twitter. Among one of the threads discussed was whether communication teams should be working as agency or in-house. It was a subject that prompted some heated discussion.
The answer seems quite simple to me, it has to be what is cost effective and beneficial to the organisation. The larger the organisation the more acceptable it is to have the team in-house as they will have a lot to do to manage reputation and link across the business. If you are a small company or sole retailer then you will need to keep costs low and work with an agency will be essential in some way.
But the most important thing for any business or CEO is flexibility. If you are the head person with responsibility for communication then you have to be adaptable. Modern life needs you to be able to respond quickly to changes happening around you. It may mean additional short term staff to assist an in-house team or it could be partnering with an agency for some specialist assistance.
The flexibility also extends to working hours, managing priorities and in the day-to-day work. Communication is a fast paced and fast moving industry and it needs us to be fleet of foot. We can only achieve that if we are able to quickly reshape and adapt.
For any organisation regardless of how communication is delivered it has to have a detailed understanding of the business and how it works. It is essential to have that and build credibility whether agency or in-house.
There was a heated discussion on the chat about what the difference is between PR, communication and marketing. I have a very low tech answer which is that at the heart they are all the same. They are about connecting and engaging and that is what matters.
The demands on the modern communicator are many and varied so being able to adapt, develop and deliver results is critical.