Great PR is a phenomenally powerful thing. It can attract new customers, make commercial partners more likely to approach you, and open up new markets and territories for your business. It can drive visitors to your website and increase the amount of time they spend. It can build loyalty to a brand and inspire the internal sales team to shift more products. It can make great people want to work for you and make others buy from you forever. All of which, ultimately, increases your profit. That’s why linking up with the wrong PR agency is not simply frustrating – it’s a massive and costly mistake. That’s why if you have the wrong agency on board you need to act fast!
So what are the early warning signs that their relationship (and your agency) is all wrong…?
You saw senior people at the pitch but only seem to be dealing with junior people now you’ve appointed the PR agency.
They don’t return your calls promptly. If your PR agency doesn’t call you back promptly you aren’t a big enough priority for them; and they are unlikely to be any more responsive to the media!
You don’t understand the invoices you are receiving from them. We’re not saying you won’t receive invoices, indeed your PR agency, if they are any good, won’t be cheap. However you should still be clear about the budget, know what the campaign is going to cost and when you will be invoiced.
Costs are escalating
This is particularly a problem if agencies mark-up the costs of items bought in such as photography, print, celebrity hire, design etc. To us it seems a very strange practice to swallow up lots of the client’s budget in this way. As long as you are a prompt payer of your agency invoices they have no reason to do this.
Meter running mindset
You feel that every time you pick up the phone to ask the PR agency to do something you will get an extra invoice. Yes, if you change the scope of the campaign massively, the PR agency should be able to ask for the budget to be revisited. However, the campaign should be fleet of foot and be able to be modified to pick up on impromptu opportunities or to meet your changing priorities without there being a massive budget discussion every time.
They don’t ‘get’ me
A new PR agency obviously needs to familiarise themselves with your business, any technical terms or nuances, your messaging, the target audiences and so forth. However this should be reasonably quickly achieved. If after a month you still feel you need to rewrite things too much and they are making the same mistakes repeatedly cut your losses