Yesterday's announcement from Hill & Knowlton UK that it is reorganising by industry sector rather than by PR practice area suggests one way forward for large PR consultancies.
The benefits of this approach are obvious. It focuses on clients and their problems. It plays to the trend towards integration (which major campaign does not have an internal or a digital dimension?). It plays to the strengths of a large, international, WPP-owned consultancy network.
But there are risks, too. There's the complaint I sometimes hear from general practitioners in medicine. It's not about their pay or status, it's that it can become boring dealing with the same routine problems day after day.
The trend in consultancies has appeared to be towards global and integrated services. But there's a contradictory trend towards smaller specialists in areas like social media, internal and international communication. It's possible that the brightest and most ambitious practitioners will realise that their careers will be more secure gaining a transferable specialism rather than operating in a generalist environment. It's the process of natural selection observed by Darwin.