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PR consultants - Essay Example

The structure of an organisation connects the elements of different departments’ activities and enables it to operate as one dynamic entity. “It is a long held assumption that organisations need a hierarchical command structure if they are to work… This approach was reinforced by a capitalist profit driven theory of organisation design and the development of the capitalist system made a major contribution to the development of early organisational forms (Salaman, 2001: 43). Modern organisational structure will of course depend on the subdivision in question: whether it be an agency, a corporate department or within the media.

These generally specialise in specific forms of advertising whereas a full system advertising agency is involved in all types of advertising. Such a service will offer research, as well as the planning, production and launch of a campaign. As Noronha, S. States in her work Careers in Communications (Noronha, 1998: 122), “Most ad agencies are organized [sic] into the following departments: administration or agency management, account management, creative services, media services, print production, traffic, finance and bookkeeping”. Noronha also described the various roles which allow such organisations to run efficiently.

In small agencies, such tasks are commonly carried out by an owner and any partners, whereas a large agency may be managed by a main executive officer and main financial officer. It is not unusual for such agencies to have an executive committee or board of directors. The account management department is in direct contact with the clients. This department will then construct a marketing plan which must be approved by the client. “These functions are executed by an account group consisting of a management supervisor, account supervisor, account executive, account coordinator, and account assistant” (1998: 122).

The creative team then develop and create the adverts. The creative department is made up of copywriters, photographers, illustrators, art directors, graphic artists, TV producers, and layout and mechanical artists. This department has control regarding the content of the advert, providing these meet with the codes set out by the Advertising Standards Authority: the “independent regulator for advertisements, sales promotion and direct marketing in the UK”, whose main values are that “ads should not mislead, cause harm, or offend” (http://www.

asa. org. uk). An advertising organisation is also comprised of a media services department, whose job is to “analyze [sic], evaluate, select, and recommend the appropriate media for the client’s ads. Job titles in this department include media director, media supervisor, broadcast media supervisor, media planner, media buyer, and media estimator” (1998: 123). The print production department consists of a print manager, colour experts and photographers who transform the art of the creative department into material print adverts.

The traffic department then coordinates the whole agenda to ensure that adverts are fully produced and reach the specified media. Agencies also appoint professionals in accounting and financial forecasting to oversee transactions. This is the typical structure for relatively small agencies, although larger ones may be more intricate, having specialists within each unit, with segregated departments for divisions such as research. The PR industry is comparable to the advertising industry in that both need an “organizational [sic] structure flexible enough to adapt to external conditions which change rapidly” (Grunig & Dozier, 1992: 476).

The PR industry is “there to develop and maintain good relationships with… publics, to help the organisation achieve its objectives” (Tench & Yeomans, 2006: 27). A public relations company management team is comprised much in the same way as a marketing agency, with a chairperson, chief executive, finance director and company secretary. However, a PR business is not self-funded in the same way as an advertising firm, thus PR has company advisers in the form of stock brokers, merchant banks, auditors and financial PR consultants (Beard, 2001: 9). “…

most practitioners look at the discipline in several main sectors comprising: financial and corporate communication; government affairs; marketing communication; internal communication; community relations”. The financial communication department has responsibilities in “relations with ‘major media’… and working with the financial media… ” (2001: 7). Media relations is an important platform in this department and to the company as a whole, because PR firms aim to get free media coverage through methods such as news conventions and press releases.

PR is concerned with community relations, campaigns, events planning and promotion, fund-raising and development. Some of the roles within a PR company fall under public affairs issues and management, communication, consumer and customer relations and investor relations. “Half of all corporations utilize an integrated public affairs organizational structure that includes the traditional public relations activities as well as government relations.

Other half of the corporations house the government relations activities and public relations activities in separate departments” (Heath, 2004: 66). The structure of such organisations support the incorporation of different mediums of communication, “blending the traditional disciplines of publicity and advertising to creatively present a clear and consistent message” (Smith, 2004: 7), and a collaborative approach which is “a perfect example of a complex adaptive system operating in the creative zone” (Lewin and Regine, 1999: 105).

Creativity is vital in such an environment, as is the ability to adapt to emerging consumer trends if such companies are to remain in business. Moore et al stress in the work, Managing Small Business: An Entrepreneurial Emphasis: “Advertising can accentuate a trend in the sale of an item or product line, but it seldom has the power to reverse a trend. It must, consequently, be able to reflect changes in customer needs and preferences” (2008: 428) (Moore & Gooderl, 2008: 428).

We are growing towards an increasingly globalised community, and with the rise of the Digital Age, mass media communications are changing as we witness an age of convergence, leading to changes in both consumer and recruitment trends. Media analyst, Jenkins states: “Media convergence is more than simply a technological shift”; it “alters the relationship between existing technologies, industries, markets, genres, and audiences” (Jenkins, 2006: 15).

Various means of utilizing media from print, radio, satellite, mobile phones and the internet has transformed patterns of media consumption as audiences become more fragmented. It is probable that such trends will become more prominent after digital switchover – “the point at which broadcasting no longer operates on analogue systems” (Johnson et al, 2005: 31). This is because multi-channel access with increasing viewer choice will result in greater competition to attract audience and gain advertising revenue, thus jobs in the industry will become more widely available.