From the Desk of Patrick Ward…
The effect of the “always on” culture of today’s business is having a profound influence on how companies communicate with their communities. It is also having a similar effect on the PR industry and how it interfaces with clients and the media.
When companies start their search for a PR firm, a common question often arises: do you want an agency close to the media or close to your business? While there are solid arguments for each, try putting location aside while addressing the following questions first.
Questions to Ask Yourself When Hiring a PR Firm:
- Does your business have a distinct culture that is part of your communications strategy?
- Does the business move rapidly?
- Do your communications efforts need to align quickly to that dynamic market? Do those market dynamics mean your PR program needs to be managed closely?
- Does your program work best scoped on a project basis or does it need an ongoing, more collaborative relationship?
- Is your budget aligned with your agency size?
- Do you require a particular expertise?
Answering these questions first will not only help refine your overall agency criteria, but it will also help you understand if you need an agency that is close to your business or whether location is less of a concern. For some companies, seeing their agency once a week or more is important and they will find better value closer to home. For others, email, telephone and the web have broken down geographic concerns and other factors are more important.
Dismissing firms because of their location alone is a disservice, much like picking a firm solely based on location can also be shortsighted. If businesses are serious about PR as an asset, location should not be the only decisive factor. The good news is that talent is everywhere. Great companies, great PR firms and even the media are in every city these days. Look at home. Look elsewhere. The best relationships start by knowing what you’re looking for. And remember, it just might be around the corner.