While you may not realize it, PR firms are at work almost everywhere you look. Individuals employ them, businesses rely on them, and even countries pay them to improve their public image. But what exactly makes a great PR firm? With all the agencies out there, how do you choose one to entrust with your business? Well, there are a few characteristics that set some companies head and shoulders above the rest.
They are multi-faceted. PR firms come and go, but the ones that stick are the ones that offer not only multi-faceted services, also timely, relevant ones. For instance, social media has become a top playing field for public image promotion – it’s where your customers are. A firm that neglects this integral area is essentially alienating many potential as well as existing customers.
They are barely detectable. Good PR agencies are like ghosts. You don’t see them or detect them, just see their results. Top corporations rely heavily on their PR teams to boost their image and keep them in a positive light. Even brands that are household names like Papa John’s Pizza has a PR team that works day and night to keep that household name a positive one – yet you never even know they are there.
They have the knowledge and education to get results. Knowledge comes from education and experience. You want your PR firm to have both of these traits. This knowledge has a two prong approach. First, there is the technical knowledge and then there is the intuitive knowledge that comes from experience. You want your firm to have both.
They have top notch creative talent on their team. Knowledge is great, the ability to seamlessly blend with a company is outstanding, but if the creative talent isn’t there it just won’t work. Great PR teams have writers, layout artists, graphics artists and other creative at their disposal. You want that well rounded team of know-how and creative energy.
They have a proven track record. Great PR agencies have track records that speak for themselves. Look at their clients. Look at how various ‘PR disasters’ have been handled by the firm. Look at how seamless the team integrates with the client. Look for RESULTS.
Of course, it is important to remember that public relations is a team effort and the company or individual that employs the team must be on board. For instance, the PR firm, Ketchum has an outstanding track record, working with some of the top corporations in the United States. They also represent the Russian Federation and Gazprom. While the PR seems to be faltering in that area, the firm cites that the reason is because their client does not heed their advice.
So before discounting a firm that has all the traits of a great one because of one faltering client, take a look at the big picture – and you just may see the genius of the man behind the curtain. And those PR firms are the ones that will rise to the top taking your reputation, your business, with it.
Most companies or individuals don’t think about public relations until they actually need it. By then the PR team is often left to do damage control. Maybe it is time to think ahead and adopt a proactive approach to your business’ image. There are garden variety PR firms and then there are great ones. How do you separate the two? Actually, there are several hallmark traits of a good PR agency and finding one is easier than you might think. All it takes is a little research. If you don’t think your business needs a PR team, think again. If you don’t know where to start, start here.