By Marah Harbison
As a part of PRSSA at IU’s first trip to Chicago, 11 members visited the public relations agency PCI on Friday, Feb. 12. IU alumni Johnny Ford, Sara Brazeal, Lauren Kotarski and Bob Gosman gave the group a sample of PCI’s work, offered insight into the daily lives of a PR professional and shared tips on how to start a career in PR. Here are three ways PCI sets itself apart from Chicago PR agencies.
The nature of PCI’s clients makes it different from the other agencies we visited as a group. The majority of the agency’s clients are what it calls “purpose-driven” organizations. These are organizations that usually are not trying to sell a product, but instead attempt to raise money for a cause, change legislation or spread knowledge and culture. Some of the clients the team at PCI talked about included the Museum of Science and Industry, the National Association of Diabetes Educators and the Aids Foundation of Chicago. The agency also chooses not to take on any tobacco or alcohol clients, because they would contradict the work it does for its several health care clients.
No sector teams
The PCI team stressed the collaborative nature of the agency throughout their presentation. They said the fact that the agency is not divided up into sector-based teams makes it easier for everyone in the agency to work together. Instead of being an agency of highly specialized practitioners working in silos, PCI is full of talented generalists that work together towards a bigger goal. Every employee at PCI touches almost every client at one point or another, which eliminates competition between teams. It also gives PR professionals at PCI the opportunity to work with many different clients and determine which suit them the most.
What sets PCI apart the most, however, is the unique types of employee benefits it offers. In addition to more standard benefits for employees like yearly funds for professional development, PCI offers each of its employees $200 of company funds to donate to a nonprofit organization of their choice. The agency also offers its interns health benefits. These unique employee offerings are congruent with PCI’s purpose-driven client base and focus on healthcare and sets it apart from other agencies in the area.