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Seven key characteristics of the perfect PR team

2nd February 2011


Here is PRmoment.com's list of the must-have qualities that you need in your team if you want to get the best results:

1. Diligence – There’s no getting away from the fact that hard work pays off. As Holly Knowlman, social media executive at PR firm the Vivid Consultancy says: “It goes without saying that everyone needs to love working hard and going the extra mile for clients.”

2. Knowledge – At least one person must have online skills, from appreciating the power of social media to understanding how SEO really works. Obviously, which skills are needed depends on the brief. Knowlman adds that these skills must be happily shared, saying: “One of the key reasons our team works so well together is the fact that there are no monster egos in the office. There’s a real willingness to share ideas and help each other out on our accounts because no one is secretly scheming to grab the limelight.”

3. Ability to get on with others – There is no value in having a genius in the team if they can’t communicate their ideas. Amanda Hassall, director of PR agency Six Degrees, believes that being a team player is probably the most important quality a member needs to have.

4. Planning skills – Once you are confident that everyone is happy to share ideas, Hassell says that the next most important skills are the ability create and follow a strategy. Because at the end of the day it is all about “results, results, results”.

5. Strong leadership – Or as Hassell puts it, “The grande fromage – the one who pulls everyone together like Hannibal in the A Team!” It is important that this person ensures the team is motivated, and can also have a laugh, so it helps if they also have a good sense of humour.

6. Creative talent – Knowledge is of no use unless it can be used to help inform original campaigns. It is good to have creative thinkers in the team who can push boundaries.

7. Passion – Experience, talent and ambition are well and good, but it is the spark of passion that gets the fire going. Camilla Brown, senior account executive at communications agency Manifest London says: “What takes the team from competent to perfect is when there is passion for every aspect of PR. Members of the team should wake up hungry for news, live and breathe social media, be inspired by design and go gaga over SEO.”

So is that everything covered then? Well not quite. Brown concludes that the last talent a team player needs to have, is “the ability to make a good brew”!

Simon Glazer, board director at PR agency Nelson Bostock, describes the perfect team:

“Creating the perfect PR team is one of the eternal challenges of agency life, be they client-facing, new business or senior management. With the right team, the sky’s the limit, but the wrong mix, or poor team dynamic, can potentially lead to communication breakdown, performance issues and, eventually, dissatisfied clients.

“In my PR heaven, the best performing teams should ideally include individuals that are aware of their unique strengths, and, more importantly, where they fall short. An ideal team for me needs a combination of researchers, planners, strategists, creatives, client service operators and collaborators.

“The most important point is that PR firms need to be wary of building teams based solely on the same personality type, method of working or time available at that moment. This is a recipe for long-term problems which can have a negative effect, not only among colleagues, but also clients. For example, endless concept creation and brainstorms may well demotivate the planning types, whereas too much analysis of the programme detail is likely to concern the strategists.

“The PR reality, however, is that the most successful and progressive PR people need to show a more flexible mindset and aptitude across all these skill areas, even if their core strengths lie predominantly in one or two. The perfect PR team does exist, but we need to spend a little more time analysing personality types and client fit, when putting a team together. If we invest a little more effort upfront in putting that team together, the positive outcomes will become evident to all.”



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