PR View by Michael Beckerich

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After spending almost a decade at some of the world's most successful healthcare companies, I'm making the atypical journey back to the agency side, and that has me thinking about what in-house experience brings to the agency table.

The acute sense of urgency learned on the client side is different than experienced in an agency. The window of opportunity is smaller and less predictable. Clearly understanding client priorities and providing precisely what they need makes it easier for them to get a decision made. This is key with the increasingly volatile environment in which drug companies operate.

Internal meetings make it difficult for PR folks to be externally focused. Agencies must provide frontline updates and subsequent recommendations, keeping the client informed and prepared. There is nothing worse for a corporate PR person than being caught by surprise about an external news story. There's nothing better, however, than presenting strategic recommendations to company brass in quick fashion.

The importance of appropriately packaging info is often overlooked. Whether it is a formal presentation or e-mail, there's constant jockeying to break through the overload that plagues corporate life. With the growing e-mail culture, clients appreciate turnkey materials.

Solid “blocking and tackling” is critical for brands, particularly those under increased scrutiny, but agencies make their name with bold recommendations that have the end goal of the business in mind.

You don't need to be the client to lead and drive a brand. There is not some internal power that sets the agenda, leaving the agency to carry it out like a fast-food cashier. Agencies need to provide leadership.

As the great James C. Humes says, “the art of communications is the language of leadership.”

Michael Beckerich is EVP at Dorland Global Public Relations

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