So many times have I come out of meetings with the last words still ringing in my head, “This plan lacks the BIG IDEAS, it’s too plain, “Give us better plans, “Give us out-of-the-box ideas, give us ideas on how we can escalate our existing PR strategies to the next level…etc. etc…” I would then search the inner realms of my head to try and figure out what else could I suggest to this Client…I have given him eleven plans before this already with out-of-the-box, unconventional ideas and concept notes that have been approved but never executed, read but not approved and many, which are just unread mails in the Client’s inbox.
The excuses for not executing the out-of-the-box plans previously furnished could be umpteen… “No budget, no management approvals, no marketing team approvals, too big an idea, too small an idea, now is not right time and many more”.
This one is for our Clients…. J
In most cases the plans do not move forward because there is no synchronisation between the Corporate Communications teams and the marketing teams of the Clients. I am not talking about the ad hoc activities and support provided by PR for all events and initiatives proposed by the marketing teams. I am talking about integrating PR with the corporate vision of the organisation, getting the marketing teams involved along with corporate teams to interact with the PR team. Give a sense of the budget, what is it that you wish to achieve in your annual plans in terms of recall, the involvement you are willing to give in terms of monies, energy, people and commitment to causes. And why do I ask for all of this? Since PR nowadays is not just about media plans. PR professionals and agencies are getting more and more aggressive and integrated in their approach towards how they garner Client recall and build their brands.
Every plan that is made my PR professionals are rife with ambitions for their Clients, expecting and hoping that the Client would laud, encourage, and execute the ideas that the professionals have imbued in the plans. It all starts with the Client saying; ‘I want more than cc coverage’… the PR teams do put in their entire mind to create amazing plans and then frustration seeps in as the Client keeps rejecting the ideas under the pretext of budget, timing, and non conformity with teams internally. That’s not fair, is it?!
Which is why the solution is to get all concerned teams in the Client’s organisation who are a party to giving permission for all initiatives and activities should sit with the PR team and engage in meaningful briefing, laying clear limitations, aspirations and organisation objectives and budgets. That way the PR teams can come back with executable plans and ideas that work, that click and that create the much needed boost to the brands.
Clients need to stop treating PR agencies as vendors to get media exposures… PR agencies aren’t delivery boys whom you just hand over releases and who run around the city to get media coverage. They are hard thinking, intelligent, talented professionals, who are day in and day out striving to get that extra bit of brand recall over your competitors and working along with you to build your organisation’s perception. Treat PR professionals as your brand ‘consultants’… people who make you look good in black and white… people who are putting you in pages of history and making everyone worth a read.
Give it a thought… make PR worth the while for yourself… with the right tone of briefings, knowing what is it that you want to achieve for your organisations and encouraging PR teams to think innovatively for you.