We Aren’t Psychic: 5 Things PR Agencies Need to Know from Clients

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On a regular week, three out of five inquiries we get from brands and companies don’t come with a creative brief. It’s almost like the norm, and it shouldn’t be.

While we appreciate that you see the team as a potential partner, we need a brief to guide us and give us an idea on how we can work together to achieve your communication and business objectives. Project briefs tell us what we need to know: the facts, insights, and inspirations. These details would help us craft the right strategies to put campaigns into action.

A lot of companies often ask PR agencies for a pitch without providing enough details. This means we often end up pitching ideas that turn out to be off-strat—wasting time not just for us, but for the client as well.

To cut the guesswork, here are five things that would help your agencies pitch better ideas:

 

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The Big Problem

Consider the following scenario: Your company just recently rebranded following an acquisition. Now, you’re looking for an agency to help promote your products under the new brand name. Before we brainstorm for ideas, there’s one thing missing: the problem. This not-so tiny detail is essential because it gives us the context of your PR needs. Was your old brand a well-loved household name? Is the new brand suffering from stigma because it comes from a country associated with poor-quality products? Whatever the problem is, it will help us come up with a more accurate step-by-step plan for your campaign.

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A Plan with Purpose

The problem is one end of the campaign. The purpose is the other. The end goal provides us with a focus not only on how we should design and manage the story of your campaign, but also on how to determine its success. For example, your objective is to raise awareness on your new product. We can draft a better publicity plan recommendation by involving feature articles and blogger reviews. The team then can pinpoint specific measure of success such as the number of pickups as well as the type of media outlet that publishes the story. For the reviews, we can look at social shares, reactions, and comments as campaign metrics. These recommendations would only be possible with the campaign goal in mind.

Bottom Line

Putting plenty of details on the creative brief is good. Not telling us what all these sum up to is, well, bad. A short and sweet summary of what you want the campaign to communicate—ideally in one or two sentences—makes it easier to draw out insights for your brand’s overall message. For instance, the gist of your campaign is the following: “We want consumers to know that our global partnerships allow us to offer quality yet very affordable products.” This simple summary makes it clear that your international partners allow you to create better products. That means, the team can focus the central narrative on the brand’s global quality . Without this information, the team may suggest messaging that doesn’t fit the end goal. The team will end up giving you off- strategy recommendations.

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Client-Agency Expectations

PR success not only relies on the agency. We also need to know how we distribute roles between us and the client for projects to work. Otherwise, miscommunication and delays might happen once the campaign starts rolling. One example is a company hiring an agency to handle media relations for a small press conference and launch. Close to the day itself, the client, it turns out, is also expecting the agency to set up the event—a task requiring at least a month of pre-event meetings to coordinate not just with venue staff for the table layout and arrangements, but also with suppliers for the décor, AV equipment, and food. Such mishaps can be avoided if tasks and expectations are clarified from the get go.

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Budget, Budget, Budget

It’s understandable that some clients aren’t sure how much they should spend for a PR campaign. As a general rule, companies should allocate only five to 10 percent of their gross revenue on marketing. Of course the number varies depending on how big the company is. To be on the safe side, just stick with the general rule as your starting point. Remember: Your budget will determine what the agency can realistically achieve for your campaign. This is why it must be included in the brief so we don’t end up proposing too many activities and overwhelming you with all the possible costs that come with our suggestions.

Drafting your own creative brief can be tedious if you don’t know where to start. To make things easier, just fill out our creative brief for any inquiries about our PR services.