PR is something nearly every organization needs. Yet many don’t know what makes an agency a ‘great’ fit. After all, all PR firms are not created equal.
Some companies fall victim to the “big budget, big agency; small budget, small agency” myth. Regardless of whether an agency is big or small, it’s the account team is usually comprised of a few dedicated team members who will deliver on the company’s objectives. When partnering with a big agency, companies forget that it usually means a bigger overhead. Many larger agencies are also known for the “bait and switch” where senior leaders pitch and sell to the client but then the account is turned over to junior staff to execute on their own.
Bill Gates is quoted as saying that if he was down to his last dollar, he’d spend it on PR. While the quote may be apocryphal, it’s good advice. When a solid PR strategy is executed well, it delivers results, boosts credibility, and builds strong thought leaders within the organization.
So how do you determine whether an agency is the right fit for your needs? Let’s delve into five sure-tell signs that they are.
The agency understands your PR and business goals
To bring on a PR firm, there should be a clear synergy between the PR goals and what the agency can reasonably deliver. That’s pretty obvious, right? But, a good PR agency also knows that its goals and deliverables are just one piece of the puzzle. The organization’s goals make up the other piece. The right PR team should not only understand how PR works, but how it fits into the broader landscape of your business and how you map its success.
It offers solid strategy and alignment
The right PR agency should come up with a SMART PR strategy and ensure there is clear alignment to your goals. They should be able to deploy any of the communications tools at their disposal to get results. And, strong skill sets are essential. If your PR team can only handle traditional PR and you also need social media, for example, it doesn’t make sense to spread out your budget to different agencies – you need a one-stop-shop. You should see your PR agency as a long-term partner with a skilled team that consistently delivers for your organization.
It gets results
When kicking off a relationship with a PR agency, it’s essential to define success and how they plan to achieve it. A good barometer for success is looking at work the agency has done for previous clients, particularly those in your sector. By studying the agency’s portfolio and case histories, you can evaluate how well they will perform for your needs. Your agency should be delivering measurable results for you that align with your KPIs and ROI.
The agency is proactive and creative
Not all organizations have a regular cadence of news and press releases. It’s often up to the PR agency to come up with creative proactive ideas that will garner media interest – even when there’s no news to share with reporters. A good PR agency knows that they can take POVs from executives or other internal initiatives and develop creative angles to garner media attention. Your agency should consistently be driving innovative ideas that help your company stand out among competitors.
The firm challenges you
While good PR agencies bring new ideas and consistently energize the relationship, they shouldn’t just be ‘yes people.’ A good agency partner will challenge you with ideas and statements that may differ from conventional wisdom to help you achieve your objectives. A good partner will take you out of your comfort zone, set realistic expectations with you, and deliver results that wow you.
At Crenshaw Communications, we aim to consistently meet our clients’ needs and drive compelling results for them. With a stellar team of dedicated PR pros, we showcase our tenacity and commitment to clients with regular top-tier coverage and successful long-term client relationships.