COLLABORATION

Next generation of creatives: How collaboration is shifting the PR industry

SOURCE: Kuttelvaserova Stuchelova/Shutterstock
To be a successful PR executive, you need more than just knowledge of the industry. Creativity is key.

Public Relations is fairly infamous for being a tough, often cutthroat, industry. The fast-paced career path, filled with thick-skinned, no-nonsense executives, regularly lands itself on the top 10 most stressful jobs lists.

But PR goes so much further than just putting out fires. It’s essentially the business of persuasion; connecting with audiences and building relationships between a brand and the public.

Robert Wynne, the owner of a US-based boutique PR firm, sees PR people as storytellers.

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“They create narratives to advance their agenda,” Wynne writes in a Forbes editorial.

“PR can be used to protect, enhance or build reputations… A good PR practitioner will analyse the organisation, find the positive messages and translate those messages into positive stories.”

To be a successful PR executive, you need more than just knowledge of the industry. While that may suffice in some roles, to really stand out and get to the top, you need that special X factor that can only come with a creative streak.

This can be difficult to teach in a classroom. So one PR firm is taking a different approach. Rather than hunt out PR graduates, London-based Mc&T is teaming up with local universities to poach the graduates who think a little differently – those with a creative mind and an entrepreneurial spirit.

The PR and communications agency launched its “Makers in Residence” programme last month in partnership with the University of Westminster, Kingston University and Ravensbourne University London.

The scheme offers creative graduates a three-month residency at their London offices and includes a mentoring programme that incorporates PR, marketing, design and brand strategy development.

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The target audience is “makers” of any kind, from graphic designers and creative writers, to technologists and UX designers.

Sheila Birungi, the manager of the Creative Enterprise Centre (CEC) and student entrepreneurship programme manager at the University of Westminster, told PR Week the centre was “proud to collaborate” with Mc&T as it would be a huge boost to creative graduates entering a difficult job market.

Having previously run her own business and freelanced for years, Mc&T creative, Iona Inglesby, said she would have jumped at the scheme when she first started out.

“I would have loved the opportunity to bed in with an agency, to have that network around me while maintaining my independence,” she said.

“I’m really pleased we can offer this to the next generation of creatives who have that entrepreneurial spirit.”

Participants on the scheme are encouraged to build up their freelance portfolio in their area of expertise while also having the huge benefit of proximity to major consumer brands from Mc&T’s portfolio of clients. The programme also provides a small bursary to cover expenses.