Poacher turned gamekeeper: when you have experienced both tribes, who is the jungle VIP?

Poacher turned gamekeeper: when you have experienced both tribes, who is the jungle VIP?

Simon Bibby

Simon Bibby

Firefly Senior Account Manager, Simon Bibby on why to be king of the swingers you need to walk and talk on both sides of public relations.

When conversations with industry folk turns to how my career in PR has taken me to my new role at Firefly, I know my in-house background is a good conversation starter. A common question is which discipline I prefer. Having given it some serious thought (then deciding I needed to use Jungle Book metaphors to explain it), it's an unanswerable question that ask.com could have featured in one of my favourite 2010 tactical press releases.

It’s possible to argue a case for both; however the best answer is to do both. It’s the only way to guarantee a leopard changes its spots and in doing so, ensure a PRO understands the pressures and needs of both prowls.

The established norm with agency folk is that you learn your living in agencies first, and then earn your living in-house.  Having chosen a different path already in my career, I can see obvious pit falls in their concept that you rise in an agency and then step into “semi-retirement” in your in-house home.

Now I’m back agency side (I first worked in an agency after studying PR at Uni – the merits of which is a debate for another blog), here's what I appreciate and respect about in-house heroes:

  • They know an industry and its media inside out
  • They work with executive stakeholders across different disciplines
  • They understand how to build relationships with non-paymasters
  • They don’t just talk it – they do understand the bigger picture
  • Working as a function that doesn’t directly generate revenue, they have to constantly justify their existence and importance in the company food chain

Now I'm working for a successful and driven EMEA PR agency, here's what I understand about agency action junkies:

  • We have to be meticulous, analytical and know the value of time resources and a plan of action
  • The risk and rewards are greater. You can progress faster, but if you can’t deliver you will be found out
  • We are constantly striving for balance; balance between content generation and execution and the desire to produce your best against the time constraints
  • A valued in-house colleague can open up internal contacts and content for the agency to craft media opportunities, allowing them to fulfill their role as expert media consultants
  • There are constant commercial pressures

These values are interchangeable, but unless you have played out both scenarios, it can be difficult to see that both sides are more alike than most people think. In the end it comes down to how you contribute to business growth, which at a granular level is determined by the human condition.

This is something Mowgli gets by the end of The Jungle Book and should be a bear necessity for fulfilling your PR potential.


Share this story:

Read more from the blog

Charlotte Stoel

The Impact of AI in Journalism

How is AI shaping the future of journalism? We attended AI Summit London to discover the latest insights from Reuters and The Times. Moreover, what does this mean for the future of comms? ...Read more

Charlotte Stoel
Charlotte Stoel

Five Steps to Shaping Your Reputation Strategy

Looking to implement a reputation shaping programme? Here are five key steps you need to take into consideration. ...Read more

Selina Jardim
Selina Jardim

Professional Wrestling – Lessons for Successful PR Campaigns

At first glance, public relations and professional wrestling seem worlds apart. However, there are actually quite a few lessons the comms industry can take from the world of wrestling. ...Read more

Emily Royle
Emily Royle

Add a comment

Time limit exceeded. Please complete the captcha once again.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Is it time to shape your reputation?

We operate in London, Paris and Munich, and have a network of like-minded partners across the globe.

Get in touch

Sign up to Spark, our newsletter

Receive thought pieces from our leadership team, views on the news, tool of the month and light relief for comms folk

You can unsubscribe at any time, please read our privacy policy for more information