A PR agency can greatly enhance your image and presence in the marketplace. It can also help you control damage and restore public confidence and loyalty in your brand. Having a PR agency that fully understands your company’s vision and mission is a first step in protecting your reputation in the marketplace. However, to get the most out of a PR campaign, there are a number of things a PR agency will require from you.
For a PR agency to meet its objectives, you would be required to demonstrate a commitment to a strategic PR campaign. If an agency cannot get this from you, no matter how good they are, the campaign may not succeed. At the same, be realistic in your expectations about what a PR agency can, and can’t, do.
2. Clearly Communicated Objectives
This is a shared responsibility between the agency and the client. While it’s the role of the agency to provide clear and specific goals and expected outcomes of the campaign, these goals must feed off from the client’s business objectives. As a client, you need to be forthright with the PR agency about what your expected outcomes are.
3. Transparency and Openness
Agencies require adequate information and data to come up with an effective campaign. If there are issues in your firm that are potentially embarrassing, the PR agency should be briefed about it to avoid being caught flat-footed in the midst of a PR campaign. A detailed background of the corporate brand would be vital in helping the PR agency tell your story. Inform the PR agency about corporate changes, company politics, or senior management expectations. In short, be as detailed and forthright as you can with the information you provide the PR agency with.
4. Trust in the PR Agency’s Expertise
It is important that you allow the agency to do its job without undue interference. This does not mean that you should agree to everything the PR agency recommends. However, you need to trust in their extensive experience and expertise. In any case, you hired them because you believe they will add value to your PR campaign.
5. Foster a Spirit of Partnership
A PR agency should be updated on key developments in your organization. It can be embarrassing for a PR agency to be asked questions about your organization that they are not aware of. Always rope them in on key discussions involving your company’s strategic communications. It can be demoralizing to a PR agency to learn of key developments in your organization long after they have become common knowledge.
6. Help to Manage Expectations
Make sure that your senior management understands what value the PR agency brings on board. This is important for two reasons. First, the PR team need the cooperation of the senior management for their work to bear fruit. Second, it helps in managing expectations among the senior management and hence avoids the potential undermining of the expected outcomes.
7, High Expectations
While it is important that you manage expectations, this doesn’t mean you should not expect a high impact PR campaign. Most people, agencies included, thrive under a certain level of pressure. When you raise your expectations, you are sending a clear message that nothing short of an excellent PR campaign will be tolerated.
A public relations agency is your friend, especially in times of trouble, when public perception of your company’s brand and image is adversely affected. However, when recruiting a PR agency, be as forthright with them as possible and facilitate them in coming up with a PR campaign that helps the public to understand your company, it’s products and services, and what it stands for.