Bridging the gap between business skills and online reputation management
I liked Professor Tom Watson’s bullet point overview of the eight key skills execs need to have to make a career out of working in PR.
I also noted that the Industry bodies have additionally identified a ‘lack of business skills’ and the ‘need to develop their understanding of online media’ as significant attributes that PRO’s need.
The question is whether these two aspects of a PRO’s skill set can be taught or are learned through carrying responsibility, or by mentoring from senior colleagues.
Francis Ingham is right to allude to the curious truism; that the juniors get sent on grammar and writing courses while the sage-like seniors have to understand social media- a curious juxtaposition of roles that could probably be resolved by the senior staff teaching the juniors how to spell and write and the juniors showing the seniors how to tweet!
Good account management requires the utilisation of all the talents at the agency. The importance that is placed on the bottom line in combination with the significance of the need to be social media savvy means that the two aspects are linked, whether the agency likes it or not.
Clients will expect that if their communications are being managed through the resources of a professional PR agency then all the relevant channels are being exploited to the full. There are countless instances where social media has had a negative impact on a client’s business, and this applies to the capability of account handlers as much as the competence of brand owners.
We function in a time where measurement permeates all aspects of business and consumer life, so how we respond to the challenges presented by ‘new’ skills also effects our ability to manage the ‘old’ ones as well.
The one common theme in all this is reputation, and this can be enhanced or compromised in an instant. All the more reason to ensure that whatever the range of capabilities within the Firm (or for that matter the expectations of the paying client) the Agency can demonstrate it has the capacity to manage reputations from within and beyond their sphere of influence.
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