What we want from our PR agencies

The Twelve Consultancy – a PR consultancy themselves for the record – did a survey of some sort with 100 marketing directors to name the five key things that they want from their PR agency. This resulted in this list:

  • A thorough understanding of their business and industry sector – the best PRs understand their clients’ complete business landscape, which allows them to make strategic recommendations based on the marketplace or competitive climate and achieve quality coverage rather column inches for the sake of it;
  • Creativity – successful PR programmes always have one thing in common: constant innovation and challenging conventional thinking;
  • Strong writing skills – agencies must bring their clients’ stories to life in a way that will engage the media;
  • Strategic thinking – clients depend on PR agencies, as a third party with an objective but still knowledgeable perspective to offer up another way to look at any given situation;
  • Access to senior people – it’s reassuring for clients to know that individuals throughout all levels of the agency are invested in the account. PR is still a people business and clients want to see that they’ll get experienced and knowledgeable people working on their business.

Definitely not bad and not limited to PR really. Change the 3rd into ‘strong design skills’ and you get the list of 5 key things you want from your advertising agency if you ask me.

[Via the Marketing blog]

Technorati tags: , , , , , , ,



  1. David Reich says:

    Kris, this is a good list, but…

    Unfortunately, too many PR agencies simply do not deliver all of these important items. And, unbelievably, it’s often the larger agencies that don’t measure up to these standards. I know because AI’ve spoent many years at both small and large agencies before I started my own small firm 16 years ago.

    Going down the list– Strong writing skills. I am constantly amazed at how many young people in PR do not know how to write. Their copy is either sloppy or it reads like an ad, not like a news release that should have the basics of good journalism even while promoting a product or a point of view. Editing at large agencies is virtually nonexistant, so you have releases going out with typos and bad grammar.

    Access to senior management — The big agencies constantlky pull the bait & switch routine. In their new business presentations, you’ll see all these gray-haired senior types (nothing against gray hair — I have plenty of it now) who
    talk of all their experience and drop lots of names. Very impressive — it often helps win the business. And then the client gets stuck with a well-meaning but inexperienced junior who is probably over her/his head and gets no supervision from an experienced pro. They’re learning on the client’s dime. The next time the client will see the senior person is when they send a letter ro email saying they’re thinking of changing agencies. All of a sudden, the senior management will swoiop in, make all sorts of promises and the client is suckered into another several months of rudderless service.

    I know this sounds cyncical, but I’ve seen it happen so many times over the years.

    One thing the larger agencies do have is good graphics/design capabilities. It’s one of the ways they grab business — dazzling with bells and whistles that too often turn out to be meaningless.

  2. Kris Hoet says:

    Well, I don’t think you’re that cynical really. I’ve witnessed the same stuff as you did (with PR and Ad agencies). You get the senior with the initial pitch and don’t get to see them after, good copy is very hard to find and in a country like Belgium you need good copy in 2 languages (tough), continuous understanding of your business especially in a fast changing one as the one we’re in, …

    I found the list so good, because it’s quite concise but very recognizable as a key wishlist for agencies… one that is tough to complete as you point out indeed.

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s