By Simon Moss, Associate Director & Head of Business Development
PR and communications consultancy is one of those strategic support services that must be considered for businesses of all sizes, but it’s a particularly important topic for organisations going through a step change or transformation – be it corporate growth, a re-brand or entering new markets. In some instances, it’s a major investment for companies that might be far more inclined to put money towards R&D. For others, it’s a go-to move during times of change. But in all cases, traditionally PR has been guilty of a widespread shortcoming – lack of measurement.
The issue as it stands
For decades, PR has followed a fairly formulaic approach – agencies charge monthly retainers that effectively buy their clients a set amount of hours, which are then used to promote the organisation or its latest updates. In its worst form, this PR approach results in sending out a press release every once in a while to journalists who have never heard of the company, frequently receive hundreds of similar news releases, and who are ultimately unlikely to report on the announcement. The outcome? No measurable results, or no coverage at all – making it more difficult to secure future budget for PR.
The new way of doing things
When your organisation has a message that it needs to communicate to the marketplace, take care to avoid the classic ‘retainer-based’ agencies. Instead, partner with a consultancy that offers set fees for set deliverables – along with bespoke campaigns that align with your business objectives and strategies. Whether each deliverable takes 2 hours, 20 hours or 200 hours, the fee will remain the same. This will ensure you have complete transparency of your investment.
SLAs and tangible results
Technology is not only providing PR agencies with additional channels to communicate your messages, it’s also providing the data that’s needed to determine the real success of the activity. By partnering with an innovative PR organisation that builds strategically-aligned campaigns from day one, you can agree strict performance targets before the activity begins. These targets and KPIs can include key message penetration, coverage volume, and tangible social media engagements. Importantly, by setting service level agreements with your PR partner, you can protect your budgets and ensure your investment is not squandered. For example, industry-leading partners will typically set SLAs that state ‘If we miss our coverage target by 10%, you’ll get 10% of your total fee back.’
The Whiteoaks way
Our approach differentiates us and we believe our work is second to none. All of the next-generation PR techniques mentioned in this post are the foundations of what we do at Whiteoaks. With an unrivalled network of business and tech journalists, analysts, bloggers, vloggers and industry influencers, and an expertise in leveraging social media content on the right platforms for our clients, we ensure their businesses cut through the noise. We build brand awareness and generate sales leads through targeted and impactful integrated marketing campaigns – driving real results and generating return on your PR investment.
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