Having worked and dealt with more than 10 PR firms in the past six years, I have only come to know one thing for sure; the agencies will just about promise ANYTHING to get you onboard, no matter how unrealistic and unattainable those deliverables are. In a race to beat 5 other agencies, and win the mandate, most agencies end up promising you the moon, but don’t even know how to fly! The bosses usually make a larger than life plan in order to ‘WOW’ the clients, but most often than not, the team (which is commonly younger and less experienced) will end up not meeting them. What can you do- Instead of looking at the PR deliverables alone, ask your agency to outline the plan of execution.
Most agencies do not give two hoots about your business; they only care about the money that you bring. No, I am not talking about the employees working on your account, but the top bosses. Employees have their KRAs to prove, but the bosses don’t! What you can do- Hiring an in-house team or a person that understands PR to monitor that all your money in not going to the drain is always a smart idea.
Majority of the agencies don’t tell you that in order to achieve PR results, even you as a firm need to innovate and do things out of the box. As a result, the client ends up thinking that the PR is solely responsible to garner them interactions and stories in mainstream media, without realizing that PR is a two-way process where the client also needs to persistently design business goals and strategies that attract eyeballs that can leverage via PR. What you can do- Ensure that each of the planned activities mention the action required from the client.
I have often found start-ups expecting that the PR will overnight turn the game around and suddenly everyone will start talking their cool, new product. Sadly, it doesn’t work that way! For a brand that has had almost zero visibility, it often takes months to become talk of the town, and in most cases, the greatest PR results come from years of proactive strategies and enactment. What you can do- Ask your agency to chalk out strict timelines for each and every activity when starting the project. Tell them you take the deadlines seriously, and ask them to set realistic timelines.
There are a lot of businesses that thrive and prosper only due to the quality of the services and word of mouth! Sometimes, firms do not need a particular arena of marketing or simply their story is not worth-telling, and most often than not, agencies pitching to you do realize this, but remember that one time, when I said they don’t care about you! What you can do- Know your product. More importantly, know your competition. Invest your time and money in things that will have a better rate of investment.
This is a super important article for young founders. Thanks a ton for sharing Ananya :)