How to brief a PR agency

clients from hell logo

There’s a nice piece in PR Week this week about successful client-agency relationships. Larry Franks from Beige PR makes some brilliant comments which resonated with me. Some of the stuff helps clients understand how to brief a PR agency.

The piece focuses on tricky client relationships but as most PR folk know there are some clients out there who are ‘challenging’ before you’ve even started working with them.

Having been on the receiving end of a couple of ‘real life new business briefs from hell’ this week I thought I’d share a few bits of advice for businesses seeking a new PR agency:

1) Don’t be coy about your budget. Firstly, it makes PR agencies think you’ve got no money to pay their bills. Secondly, how can a PR agency cost up a ‘amazing PR product launch for 150 key people in the industry’ if you won’t give them a budget to work to? I’ve politely declined the opportunity to work with two of these chancers twice this week. More PR agencies should do the same to avoid wasted work and effort.

2) Don’t ask PR agencies to pitch for projects that aren’t even guaranteed to happen. I’ve lost count of the number of people in 2013 who have asked PR agencies to provide ideas for free in order to pitch them internally to their own business. In other words, they don’t even know if they can appoint a PR agency.

3) Don’t tell us your existing PR agency is “for the chop” – but then tell us that they are being invited to re-pitch for the work. It proves you have no ethics and we won’t trust you to be fair with us.

Every agency has ‘clients from hell’ but some clients are hellish before the relationship even starts.


About Peter Davies

I'm a Manchester PR agency man. I work at RMS, the UK-based independent PR and marketing agency, I'm also a daddy and a football referee. Call me on 07779 033 016.
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