Whether you’re still lounging on your holiday sunbed, with a Piña colada in hand, or steadfastly steering the comms and PR ship for your business, it’s important for marketing and comms executives to consider what’s key when on the hunt for that perfect agency comms partner.
- Define the Team & Cultural Fit: One time, my agency team thought we’d won the business after delivering a great PR pitch to a tech firm… only to have its marketing director challenge us with a group task to complete in 20 minutes to evaluate our teamwork. Despite feeling like we had lost control of the meeting, we displayed agility, creative thinking, and addressed the challenge well, ultimately winning the business. To ensure a successful PR partnership, meet or speak with the team members who will be running your PR campaign and assess if their skills align with your requirements. Are they resourceful, proactive, agile, and consultative? How will they work with your internal stakeholders? Do they have the X factor you need?
- Get Clear on Business Goals: Transparency is crucial; you need to share your company’s real business goals upfront–whether that’s driving sales leads, establishing a better position in your tech category to attract an acquisition, or seeking investment to expand overseas. Define and prioritise the key goals, as they should shape the comms objectives and, ultimately, your PR programme.
- Communicate the PR Goals: Be crystal clear about the PR objectives you want to achieve: is it driving more positive industry analyst engagement, or gaining higher media share of voice compared to your competitors? It’ll help you both to know what you really want, and it avoids later disappointments. Include at least three key messages for the PR campaign to guide the agency’s thinking. If you’re unsure about that at this stage, that’s fine, but identify it as a priority to work together on from the outset. Additionally, provide clarity on target audiences and geographic areas where regional assistance may be appreciated.
- Reach Measurement Heaven: Indicate how you’ll want to be measuring success for your organisation and its executives. Any agency worth your money should have concrete initial views on measurement criteria, e.g., industry measurement best practice. Ensure alignment from the beginning: you can’t improve what you can’t measure.
- Outline Your Budget: Don’t leave agencies guessing what the stakes are here. Be explicit about your budget or at least provide a range. This enables the agency to create a well-suited campaign for you and establishes a level playing field. Budget clarity will also help rule out agencies that might not be the right fit, saving time for everyone involved.
All in all, investing time in to crafting a thoughtful, business-oriented brief that communicates your requirements in a communications partner is worth doing as it will ensure you receive quality proposals from agencies that align with your needs.
That’s because while team fit, culture, and chemistry matter, creating a comprehensive brief upfront will lead you to the most suitable PR partner which really is equipped with the right set of skills to elevate your planned communications blitz to the next level.
Now, get back to your Summer holiday!