One of the best things about working for yourself is that you don’t have to put up with all the nonsense that all too often accompanies a “proper job”.
In the world of PR, being an independent practitioner means you succeed on the merit of your own abilities; building a reputation based entirely on what you know and do.
For many of us, that means reflecting strong personal values in terms of knowing what you stand for and being principled about what you will and won’t do.
A friend and fellow “freelancer” called me this morning to ask for my opinion. She had been offered an opportunity to work with a consultancy for two-days a week, but still working from home, on a key piece of business in her area of expertise.
For someone who has to earn a crust, this regular income was very attractive. Then, although agreeing to work with them, she discovered this consultancy was citing in its pitch document as one of its prime accounts, a client of my friend.
This was not credited to her at all and the implication is that the high profile that this organisation has gained with the media was down to them, not my friend.
This is outrageous and totally unethical. They are seeking to win business on the back of someone else’s work without any reference to that person. Her credibility as having won and managed this client’s work over many years could be damaged.
The row earlier this year in the Manchester PR world saw lawyers called in and that was very different to this situation. There both Communique PR and a former employee, Natalie Bagnall referenced to work for particular clients. Provided each is clear about their involvement in their claims, this is a standard practice.
Here, the consultancy has never met my friend’s client let alone achieved some amazing PR results. I have never heard of such blatant “passing off” in PR.
But what can she do? Apart from the obvious of not working with this unprincipled PRs, should she brief the lawyers? Talk direct to the potential new client?
What would you do?