Man with head in hands

My agency doesn't understand me

12/09/2014 14:52:40
You know your business better than anyone else. That’s a given. But how much time are you wasting, having to hand-hold your PR agency because they haven’t taken the time to understand not just your organisation, but also your world: your market, your customers, the burning issues and the hot topics on which you should be giving your view to help reinforce your position as an industry leader?
My agency just doesn’t understand us” is a common complaint we hear from prospective clients who come to us because they’re unhappy with their current agency. A significant factor in their dissatisfaction, they say, is having to spoon feed information to their agency and, even then, they find themselves presented with ‘off target’ ideas from the PR team responsible for getting their company in front of the right people, with the right messages.

So, to help you get the most out of your PR agency, ask yourself:


1. How much time does my agency spend in my world?

Do you see them at the key industry events? Are they involved in industry associations and federations, do they know the ‘movers and shakers’ and understand the core industry issues and challenges? Do they spend time on site with your team, getting to know the key people within the organisation who can provide them with the information they need to create marketing and PR opportunities? Have they asked to tour your factory, or spend a day in your life to get under the skin of what’s really going on in your organisation?

2. Are they connected to the right people?

How well do they know the media you are targeting? If they talk about wining and dining consumer writers from the nationals, but your target media is Building magazine, are they really best placed to generate the exposure you’re looking for?

3. Do they have other clients in my sector?

We’re not talking about your competitors here - no agency with integrity would take on a client that represented a conflict of interests with an existing client - but are they working with other complementary organisations? Can/do they go beyond their PR remit and introduce you to people in those organisations who could be useful contacts for you and your business?

4. Do I have a dedicated account team?

Are there people within the agency who I know are proactively working on my behalf to generate publicity opportunities? Are they in touch with me regularly, or do I rarely hear from them from one meeting to the next?

5. Does my agency break the news before I see it myself?

If your agency has its finger on the pulse of your industry, then your account team should be telling you the gossip and flagging things up to you that you could be commenting on in the media; blogging about or building an awareness campaign around.

Successful PR and communications requires a partnership approach

You can’t simply appoint an agency and then leave them alone. To work successfully for you, they need up to date information about the business as well as an in-depth understanding of your organisation, its strategic goals and key target audiences. In return, a great agency will invest time to get to know your organisation inside out, and will devise and deliver relevant, creative and effective publicity support that will help you move closer to your goals.

You might also like to read our blog post:

 Five reasons not to hire a PR firm