Crispy aromatic duck

Posted by: in Marketing Insights on June 28, 2011

Internal agency structure as a USP is just a canard

An article recently published in PR Week trotted out once again the old canard of the inherent benefits for clients associated with their agencies’ internal structure, specifically that those agencies who dispense with the ‘old’ hierarchies and embrace a ‘no titles’ structure will blaze a trail of enhanced client service.

It’s a nice idea, but unfortunately in most cases it is just a solution searching for a problem. I have worked in several agencies during my career to date, and have experienced both the ‘hierarchical’ and ‘no titles’ set-ups. Was there any difference between agencies in the quality of our client service that could be directly attributed to how we were structured internally? Not at all.

The stated aim of getting rid of titles is basically to ensure that only the most relevant agency personnel work on a particular piece of business, no matter which function they are part of, where they are physically located or their level of experience. Makes perfect sense, of course, but this is perfectly possible within a normal agency structure.

In most cases, failure to give a particular client the services of the best possible team is the fault of senior management, not the agency structure. An enlightened leadership team will always make sure that clients’ needs are met, not letting internal rivalries and fiefdoms or separate agency offices’ P&Ls get in the way.

The next time that you are selecting an agency (or interviewing to join one), ask yourself the following question: do you want to work with an agency that ranks its own internal structure (or lack of) of equal (or greater) importance than what it can do for you?

If the answer is no, then you know whom to call… 😉

By: Manu Field

Manu is a Director in WCG's London office, and offers his clients strategic medical communications counsel based on over 10 years of experience across MedEd and PR. His LinkedIn handle is 'manufield'.

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