Is Your PR Company Too Big & Successful (Busy) For You?

Far be it for me to stick my neck into the PR business but when the successful agencies win most of the accounts, sure, the economies of scale and influence work.

But only for a short while (after the big high-cost publicity event).


The resource allocation and prioritization sets in pretty soon into the mandate win, and just as quickly junior execs and interns are now handling these accounts — These are usually folks who neither have the experience, skills, know-how nor interest (yet) to manage relationships with stakeholders / vendors / 3rd parties.

Then for events organised by these PR companies, you see the same guests every time.

Is it for a lack of trying? Or just a churn of the same invite list?

I really just don’t get the business rationale of turning some of these people up, people who can’t even be bothered to (pretend to) check out the products on display in store. They stand around, huddled in cliques, take wefies, and leave. This is frankly just rubbish database activation at work.

Aside: This isn’t about “free loaders” because the best ones actually know to mingle and be good crowds. It is afterall their interest to be re-invited.

Then the influencers show up, and they’re more interested in their OOTD than what you’re selling (unless you give them some freebies or paid mentions). Honestly, my buying decisions have never been influenced by an influencer but maybe that’s cos uncles don’t dress like xiaomeimeis.

Then the coverage by media: Formulaic “best dressed”/what-she-wore lists that have no relevance whatsoever to the collection launch (it’s an instore event not the Oscars, FFS). Or worse, a half-blur low-lit lousily-shot Instagram photo that does nothing for the brand other than to show the magazine was there.

All this partly stems from the poor initial PR contact, which I surmise is a result of delegation of management. Who they use to reach out with, who they reach out to, how they followup, what understanding and expectation all sides have of deliverables and how they grow and cultivate those relationships.

When this is done poorly, I cannot do my job properly.

Pick a PR company that WANTS your account, not just one that YOU WANT. Or become THAT BIG account it can’t afford to lose, and will go out of its way to ensure that doesn’t happen.