Posted by Amanda Chapel
This news comes with a heavy heart: Yesterday, Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide, a WPP Group company, announced that it was immediately adding a doctor to its senior team. Sad, the old gal is now in need of full-time care.
NEW YORK, April 19 /PRNewswire/ -- Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide today announced that Dr. Jennifer Scott has joined the agency. In her new role, Dr. Scott will be a part of the firm's Strategy + Planning division, a team of very senior counselors. She will drive the growth and development of the agency's primary research capabilities. In addition, Dr. Scott will work closely with practice leaders to inform business development and enhance programming for existing clients.
First off, note "very" senior counselors. I imagine a nursing home and Dr. Scott roaming the halls administering to the needs of the senior-most staff. I promise I won't get too graphic here.
Seriously, let's put this in perspective. What exactly does an internal research person do at a PR agency? And why would a client care?
There are a few possibilities:
No. That's not it. I've obviously over thought this. It's really in the first four lines of the announcement: Scott will help them look good in new business and she'll help enhance account strategy and programming. She's going to help ground some of what they are doing in a little reality. That makes sense. Okay, now we're getting somewhere.
With regard to new business, you come in there with a shit load of graphs and such and you're looking pretty smart. It's the look women love and men admire. Think of the Scare Crow in the Wizard of Oz with his new diploma. You start spouting the square root of the hypotenuse triangle, well the value of that just cannot be measured. Seriously, it's as simple as this: it's all about domain knowledge, facility and enthusiasm. I mean, do you want to sit by a true fan at the Cubs game or some tourist schlub?
Alright, how about the "planning" part? The planning part is really an offshoot of its advertising big brother. It's also British. I may have mentioned that at one point I worked for Saatchi & Saatchi in London. Those guys don't take a poop without the research.
The problem with PR Research for planning is that it comes with a bias. This is bad, much like why you want independent research from your financial guy. See, numbers are funny. They're especially funny in the hands of those that want to sell you something. Keep in mind, the nature of PR is not about facts that come together to make a story; it's a business of making stories and then looking for supportive facts. Here, I've got an idea; let's justify it. Or more specifically, I think you need to give me more money; let me prove it to ya.
Obviously, I am not a big fan of research "divisions" in a PR firm. I had a boss once that hit the nail on the head: from a client perspective, you're either telling him what he already knows or telling him what he doesn't not want to hear. Research is always the first thing that gets fired.
All to say, good luck Dr. Jenny. I hope it goes well. I understand that geriatric care can be very rewarding. I think you've got a clean up in room 427.
# # #
Display comments as (Linear | Threaded)