Birthdays are tricky things. For many people – usually those under 30 – they pass by in a blur of celebration. However, for others, they can be a time of intense self-reflection and soul searching.

The Right Agency recently celebrated its 6th birthday and that provoked an interesting discussion in the office about how the PR sector has changed. Like most businesses, our team is made up of a mixed age group, all of whom joined the PR industry at very different times.

I won’t name and shame her in this blog, but one member of the team can clearly remember the days when only one office computer in her first agency featured dial up internet, presentations were done on acetate with an overhead projector and press releases were posted – YES, POSTED – to journalists. At the opposite end of the scale, the younger members of our team can’t actually recall a time when social media wasn’t an important part of the mix.

What’s undeniable is that the skills on offer at PR agencies have expanded exponentially in the last few years. Alongside the traditional skill-set of copywriting and media relations, agencies are increasingly drafting in people with added value skills, including everything from coding and app building expertise, to digital and design.

As consultants, we regularly find ourselves sitting in on new product development meetings, feeding into sales strategies and even participating in preparation for a client’s new business efforts. There are PR purists out there who might shake their heads, but with a number of large brands recently opting to move PR in-house, agencies must prove their value by becoming immersed in a client’s business, working as an extension to the in-house team and demonstrating that PR shouldn’t operate in a separate silo, but instead should fully integrate with all of the client’s marketing endeavours.