As the new year begins and we enter a third lockdown, now seems the right time to think about what will make the best PR agency for clients whether in Manchester, Liverpool or the North West. Here, we share our thoughts on what makes a PR and social media agency successful and how good client relationships are the secret to taking marketing results to the next level.
Key Characteristics Of The Best PR Agency
Know the client. I mean really know the client
One key skill for PR executives working in agencies is the ability to juggle various client demands at any one time. It can be very challenging working in a PR agency, but it does allow executives to get a broad range of experience under their belts, which in turn adds value back to clients. You can really become mini experts in a number of different industries in no time, and the best PR agencies will always be the embodiment of this skill. After working client side, I realised that there’s always more to know about a business, to understand its strategic decisions and its relationship with stakeholders. If you can take this in-depth approach and apply it on the agency side, whether for B2B clients or B2C clients, you not only offer better communications advice but can also help shape the client’s business direction.
Put substance before style
I’ve never been a big fan of the PR stunt or more general ‘PR puff’. Although creative ideas remain the backbone of what we offer, the best PR agencies should always consider whether the proposals are achievable and whether they deliver real returns and impact for clients? There’s nothing worse than a Mr Negative in a creative brainstorm or planning process, however the best PR agencies always keep an eye on the prize and an effective balance between style with a healthy dose of substance behind it all. Over promising and under delivering is the worst of all worlds.
Tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth
When looking back on my career, I do recall a moment when working in house for one of the UK’s leading retailers and we were advising the board on how to handle the media in light of a poor set of annual results. The CEO was his usual bullish self, pushing for us to make this claim or that. I realised then that my boss, a very successful director of communications, was essentially the grey man of the boardroom by only telling the CEO wanted to hear. I made a vow to myself never to be that grey man and to always offer honest PR / communication advice based on experience. Clients are at liberty to adopt or ignore it but for effective relationships, always be honest (perhaps that’s why I never became a Director of Corporate Affairs..!?). To us, this is one of the most important things that makes the best PR agency.
It costs how much?
The days of big spending PR campaigns may be over, but the requirement for showing a return on investment is omnipresent. It has never been more important and the best PR agency will always demonstrate that great ideas shouldn’t cost the earth to deliver. We live in a quicker, more transparent society and one that does allow great stories and content to be shared easily. Also, if you know your client, you should know what they need to spend to succeed – don’t turn your back on big budgets but always be aware of what will be delivered in return.
Know what PR campaigns work
You’d be amazed how many clients still view being on a breakfast TV sofa as a success. Be honest from the outset and tell B2B PR clients that sales of their new widget are rarely achieved after an interview with Phil or Fern. Be targeted, selective and know their customers and where their products or services need to be – this adds real value.
Be supportive and flexible
With Covid 19 still causing business disruption, the best PR agencies will continue to be flexible and supportive of their client’s changing needs and priorities – including knowing how to handle a crisis situation. Having the right strategy and the flexibility to evolve it ensures a client’s business remains focussed on priorities and the changes on the ground. Our work with Combermere Abbey is one such example of a business that faced hardship due to lockdowns but came out stronger on the other side. Let’s hope the same is true for other businesses as we eventually emerge from this pandemic.
If you’re looking for a PR agency or social media agency in Manchester, Liverpool, Cheshire or the North West, please get in contact and let us show you why we are the best PR agency.