The Pros and Cons of Being an Embedded Employee
Last September, shortly after my one-year anniversary at Brandware, I was selected to work client-side at Porsche Cars North America. Since then, I’ve been treated like a PCNA employee—equipped with new business cards, company laptop, company ID and only visiting Brandware once a week for our Tuesday staff meetings.
Beyond the obvious differences (gone are the days of jeans and “Summer Fridays,” sigh), I’ve learned a lot about my client, the client/agency dynamic and even myself. But rather than blabbing on with my own self-realizations, I’ll share the good, the bad and the ugly of being stationed client-side.
- Relationships. Being embedded at the client’s office allows you to see both sides clearly. Having close connections with each and every team member at both the client AND the agency allows for a broad understanding of how teams work, who is responsible for what and where everyone’s strengths lie.
- Technical knowledge. It’s not the easiest task to memorize the internal code names for each of the 25+ variants of the Porsche 911. But when you sit in an office full of product specialists and gear heads, the numbers 997, 991 and 981 flow off your lips naturally.
- Instant feedback. Sometimes, it’s just easier for a client to review a press release or a media plan if I print it out and set it on their desk. No more worries that my emails got stuck in the Spam filter or lie buried behind 1239 unread items.
- Fast rate of absorption. Corporate life means many meetings – but being onsite and participating is so much more valuable than getting a phone recap or PowerPoint deck after the fact. If you’re embedded, you’re now your agency’s first line of real-time information (and that ultimately saves time and money for both client and agency)!
- Variety. Brandware is fortunate to have a bunch of cool clients in very cool arenas—everything from automotive, motorcycles and healthcare technology to tourism and fast food. Don’t get me wrong— I love the Porsche brand and enjoy being a “car girl” —but I do occasionally miss the exposure to different categories and the variety that agency life brings.
- Multiple Bosses. Working for the client and the agency simultaneously can be stressful. The client’s needs come first, but I must remember to be conscientious of all the parties who manage my projects.
- Let’s face it. There’s nothing ugly about working for a badass PR agency and one of the world’s greatest automotive brands at the same time. My advice to others who find themselves in this situation: enjoy it! It’s a unique and important experience, and you’ll grow professionally and personally from rising to the challenge.