One truth is not so self-evident — all PR firms [...]
Dick Grove, shares the story of when PR was measured with a Pica Pole. Say what?
Over the last several years we’ve noticed a trend in client objectives away from building a brand to driving sales, increasing contributions, or gaining clicks – instant gratification versus a longer term basis of positive growth. Around our shop, we refer to it as ‘making the phone ring.”
In my forty years in the PR and advertising business and twenty-plus years serving clients, I have yet to discover a completely viable method of quantifying the effectiveness or difference between the two main marketing tools –advertising and public relations.
The PR pro’s dilemma. One would think that with the ever expanding media covering the 24/7 news cycle, there would be ever expanding opportunities to tell a client’s deserving soft news story. Not true.
David Letterman used to do a comedy piece having the audience determine whether photos of various entertainers and celebrities were wearing their real hair or a toupee’. The audience would shout out, their opinion…” real” or “fake” at each photo. Sound familiar?
There are a few of us – dwindling to but a precious few every year – that remember the golden age of magazine journalism…Life, Look, Collier’s, Time, Fortune, Sports Illustrated…and later as our tastes grew younger…People, INC, Fast Company, InStyle, Healthy Living, etc. A recent story in the New York Times regarding Time, Inc. brought back both these memories and how fragile they may well be.
Good business owners have certain expectations from their PR firms before entering into media relations partnerships. On the other side of the relationship, the firms also have certain expectations from the business client. While it is the firms’ responsibility to get coverage and meet the client’s expectations, the firms rely on the clients themselves to help them achieve the goals. In a way, it is perpetuating the old adage, “the best way to get help is to help yourself.”
We have a slightly different take on RFP’s. As a pay-for-performance PR firm, we seldom fit the prescribed boxes or rigidly required criteria, we look at every RFP as an opportunity to demonstrate our creativity tied to the prospective client’s needs; and in so doing present our capabilities in a fun, visual manner.
I realize it’s blasphemous to be a PR pro and agency owner and acknowledge the obvious...that not every client needs outside PR counsel. But if a client has the time or staff, a certain set of PR skills, the resources, and very importantly, a realistic set of goals, then yes, they can do their own PR.