As we have often discussed on this blog page (and in person when we have the opportunity), we do genuinely believe that there is no such thing as a standard, off the shelf PR plan which can be applied to every business.
There are so many specific considerations to be made and fine-tuning tweaks required to match the actions on the action plan to the needs and capabilities of the client in question. There are, however, a few things which are essential and, we would say, have to be openly discussed and understood if the PR campaign is to stand any chance of success.
So here goes: –
Compatibility – The PR specialist and the business wishing to raise their profile must work together to achieve their goals and this can be somewhat of an uphill struggle if they simply don’t ‘gel’ right from the start. There are a large number of PR companies out there and it pays to do your research to make sure you choose the one which suits your company needs, mirrors your own company ethos / culture (and maybe even one which you know fits well with the personalities in your team). An in-depth look at the website of a potential PR partner will give you some idea, but a frank and open initial meeting is still the very best way to confirm compatibility.
Clarity – From the very beginning of the relationship, PR provider and PR client must understand their individual roles in the plan. Whilst the majority of the planning, leg-work and behind the scenes stuff will be handled by your chosen specialist (we hope), there will still be tasks which fall under the remit of your team and these may be pivotal in the success of the whole campaign or strategy. If, as the client, you are looking for a more ‘hands off’ role in your PR plan you really need to make sure your provider is happy to work in this way. In our humble opinion, a PR specialist who suggests that you can simply sit back and let them handle absolutely everything without even so much as a regular communication meeting is probably somewhat confused about what Public Relations actually is…
Commitment – Many companies start on their PR journey with great enthusiasm but find that the initial energy burst is ‘worn down’ by other day-to-day demands of the business. If your campaign is to stand any chance of success it must be one which is sustained for sure, but also one which reflects the same high degree of engagement with the audience throughout the year. Dips in ‘rich’ activity are very often obvious to others, as are attempts to simply fill with ‘standard stuff’ which took little or no effort. Never forget that the negative vibes picked up by your target market can be powerful and can undo a lot of the hard-earned respect you’ve built up whilst you were being enthusiastically magnificent!
In our own experience, we know pretty early in a new client relationship if we are likely to excel spectacularly in raising profile; to be frank it is more to do with the three points above than with the nature of product or service we are promoting. That’s not to say that we don’t succeed in cases where ‘the three c’s’ don’t align instantly, but we know, for sure, that we may be facing a much tougher task – and there may be some tough agency / client conversations to be had about client participation. We are lucky at RDZ PR to have been blessed with some amazing clients and generally we find ourselves collaborating with like-minded, highly ambitious, driven people and organisations. We’d like to think that we are drawn together by feelings of mutual appreciation but in truth it is far more likely that we ‘weed out’ those who are not fully committed to success in our first meeting. Harsh as that may seem, we are all about raising profile and our many years of PR experience have taught us that some businesses like the idea of that happening without too much effort. Sadly – and as awesome as we may be – there’s no such thing as a PR fairy…