Marijane Funess April 3, 2014 | 06:50:12

Does This PR Firm Make Me Look Fat? How To Know If Your Agency Is A Fit

Is a little voice telling you that you and your current PR agency are suffering from the business equivalent of the seven-year itch? Are you “growing apart”? Could they be “just not that into you,” or vice versa? There are warning signs that it may be time to re-evaluate and get a fresh start with a different PR agency partner.

Is your current PR firm serving up tired ideas? Or, worse, none? If you’ve provided a steady stream of company news and the agency still hasn’t devised new ways to gain positive exposure, your relationship may have maxed out.

Has your agency grown (or downsized) and you feel neglected? First, communicate this to your account director or the agency head and make sure your concerns are heard. Give the agency a chance to course-correct, but be aware that it may be a sign your company needs a different kind of partner who can service your business more attentively.

Has your company marketing strategy changed dramatically? If so, it may be time to audit your current agency’s capabilities to see if they are still a fit for you. Once again, start by having an honest discussion with your firm. You don’t want to end the relationship without careful consideration, especially if the agency has done great work, your teams mesh, and the key players know your business inside and out.

Do you and your agency fundamentally disagree on direction? Obviously you didn’t retain a PR firm to act as “yes” men to each of your ideas, but as the client you need an ultimate  meeting of the minds on strategic decisions. If you keep encountering resistance and cannot find a middle ground in your PR planning, this may be the time to consider a change.

Have you set reasonable expectations that just aren’t being met? At the outset of any client-agency relationship there must be consensus on goals and anticipated outcomes. Of course, these change throughout the course of a campaign and must be re-aligned and approved by the teams. If your agency partner isn’t delivering on agreed-upon goals and isn’t providing a sound enough explanation, the relationship will certainly suffer. Take steps to address as a team and if you can’t achieve satisfactory resolution, it will be time to look into some other counsel. Sometimes a fresh start is best for all parties.

If you conduct a search and your incumbent agency stands no chance for consideration, let them know, but if they could be a contender,  set a high bar and see what you get!

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