Resolutions for PR agencies in 2014

In the time-honoured tradition of New Year’s Resolutions, here are some suggestions for the PR agency community for 2014. Stop over-servicing – spending too much time on a particular client (in relation to fee) is not heroic, it’s costly and morally wrong. At the very least, it means you are pulling down the hourly rate/profit on a project. In the worst case scenario, it can mean that you are not pulling your weight on other client accounts, therefore those clients are suffering and you are setting unfair expectations that damage the rest of the team. Say no to beauty parade pitches – there is something deeply distasteful and unethical about asking half a dozen or more agencies to engage in multi-stage pitches (we had one RFP in 2013 that involved so many stages, documents and meetings that I feel dizzy even thinking about it). There are better and less time-wasting ways for clients and agencies to find out if they can work together. Be a proper PR counsel – you owe it to yourself, your client and your colleagues. The client pays you for the right advice, so don’t be afraid to give it. And, if your client is asking you or your team to take part in poor PR practice (e.g. the reviled follow-up phone call to check the response to a press release, one of the biggest PR howlers of all) then stand up for your principles and say no. Social media and content is integral to your future bread and butter – PRs are the best-placed marketing professionals to make a great job of the digital and content marketing revolution. If you haven’t got with the programme yet, you need to catch up fast or be left behind. Allocate time towards new business – it is so easy to be so engrossed with the day-to-day stuff that you lose sight of the new business pipeline. Put some time in your diary each week and treat it as sacrosanct. Go out of your way to cultivate better relationships – with media and analysts of course, but also clients and colleagues. Take the time to understand what people really want from you, what their motivations are and how you can help address them. Have more fun – sure, there are going to be times when you need to work late evenings or weekends, but try to put a limit on them and instead, make sure that having fun and keeping healthy feature somewhere on your busy schedule. You, your colleagues and clients will all benefit from a less frazzled, more productive you. Maxine Ambrose, Joint Managing Partner, Ambrose Comunications
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