Why PR needs to be less linear

Yesterday’s piece in The Times about RBS looking to recruit a new generation of arts graduates to prevent further ‘linear thinking’ of the mathematicians and economists that are historically associated with its industry, really caught my attention.

Just the previous day, the marketing director of a very successful global technology consulting firm told me that he felt the way traditional PR agencies operate was essentially too linear, in that from a tactical execution perspective, their business model’s focus is generating revenue from specifically devising and delivering PR campaigns.

Not a great deal of objective or lateral thinking in that approach, obviously.

In order for comms agencies to offer more objective, less ‘linear’ strategies and services to their clients, they ultimately need to be as channel-neutral as possible from a delivery perspective, otherwise it’s the old proverb of turkeys voting for Christmas.

When an agency has the full suite of market delivery tactics within its proposition and talent or partner base, it creates a culture focussed on devising the right strategy for a client, objectively, without being preoccupied with ensuring the tactical execution has to involve one type of tactic or another to deliver revenue. This is where Brand to Sales really comes into its own in terms of tech brands looking for something different.

Where I would beg to differ with RBS, however, is that it’s not someone’s degree that dictates whether they’re a linear thinker or not. It’s their personality, attitude, experience and above all the culture within which they operate. Here at Octopus Group we love physics graduates as much as an English Literature graduate, as long as they’re smart, ambitious, fun and want to be part of our journey.