New To Public Relations? Here’s What Clients Should Expect

19 Jun 2019 | 11.45 am

New To Public Relations? Here’s What Clients Should Expect

Insights from Ireland's leading PR consultants

19 Jun 2019 | 11.45 am

What expectations should a business have when it engages with public relations for the first time? Emily Styles canvasses the views of leading consultants 

Dan Pender, PR 360
The success of any communications activity depends to a large degree on the client’s willingness to treat their communications agency like a trusted partner, rather than merely a third-party vendor. Once buy-in from the CEO and senior leadership team is achieved, a creative communications agency will be just as important as an HR or products department in meeting a business’s hiring objectives, revenue targets, and more.

Niall Quinn, The Reputations Agency
First and foremost, PR activity needs to be aligned with a client’s own business objectives. Clarity of objectives and desired outcomes are key to helping advisors develop effective strategies and ensure that resources devoted to PR can deliver optimum return on investment.

Pat Walsh, Murray Group
Public relations can help achieve awareness and understanding that should add disproportionate value to investment in other areas. That may come in the form of business growth or value, or simply in facilitating business as usual by keeping stakeholders informed and on-side with what the organisation is seeking to achieve.

Sharon Murphy, Wilson Hartnell
Of all the disciplines, I believe PR is the one that has the highest level of emotional intelligence. Tuning into the shifting economic, cultural, political and social context every day, means that our insights and instincts are sharp. We understand the relationship that businesses and brands can have with their intended audiences, which means there is genuine authenticity at the heart of that relationship. 

PR is a growth driver for businesses and organisations that wish to remain relevant now and in the future. Even when dealing with the here and now, our work needs to be anchored in a framework that ensures we are driving brand equity over time. Clients should have high expectations and yet still be surprised at what PR can do for their business. 

Jane McDaid, Thinkhouse
PR has the ability to deliver exponential growth for brands. Anyone new to Public Relations should choose a partner who can prove that they have grown organisations similar to theirs. Their investment in that partner should be able to deliver whatever creative or strategic communications needs their business has. 

Mick O’Keeffe, Teneo
It really depends on what the business objectives are – there is no ‘one size fits all’. At Teneo, we partner with business leaders to ultimately achieve a business’s commercial objectives. At a minimum, a client can expect an enhanced reputation and brand, absolute clarity on a communications strategy, and better stakeholder engagement.

Anne-Marie Curran, Drury Porter Novelli
It depends on the objectives set at the outset and what a client is trying to achieve – an enhanced reputation, an increase in sales for a product, a crisis or issue managed. Client expectations ought be that their investment achieves the desired results.

Lynn Hunter, Hunter
Our aim is to educate the client on the PR landscape and showcase what can be achieved. Yes, the client knows their audience but as a PR agency we know where that audience sits in terms of media, activation and campaign channels. 

Nigel Heneghan, Heneghan PR
Clients firstly need to know and understand what they are looking for. If their objective is to enhance their share of voice and maintain a positive reputation, a communications strategy should be developed. The client should then work with the agency to set KPIs that should be measured against agreed objectives. They need to work with an agency that will ensure best-in-class activation to achieve the objectives.

Eimear Hurley, Carr Communications
I would advise anyone that is considering investment in PR to think about the endgame – what shift in attitudes and behaviours would you like to see in a year’s time? Ultimately, PR should focus on quality over quantity. When this is done correctly it can produce a major shift in perceptions of your organisation, your people and your objectives.

Mari O’Leary, O’Leary PR
PR focusses on generating editorial content – or to avoid it, as the case may be. Progressive businesses are now more aware of the role and function of PR. They are also conscious of the need to have an integrated marketing message for above-the-line and below-the-line promotion. Uniform messaging is important. My advice is to do some investigative work on potential agencies to work with. Go to their websites and look at their case studies closely. Examine how they use social media and get a clear overall insight into what they might do for you.

Paul Hayes, Beachhut PR
I think clients should measure PR firstly in establishing corporate profiles which develop trust and credibility and, secondly, more specialised product vertical coverage that helps to get people to the ‘buy now’ moment. One feeds the other if everything is well planned and the PR roadmap fits well on the company trajectory.

Roisin O’Hea, O’Hea PR
Every client is unique as is their expectation of PR. Understanding this, along with who they are, their business and markets, and what they want to achieve, is vital to developing a successful strategy that delivers for clients. This process will reveal whether the investment will deliver the desired benefit for their business.

Ann-Marie O’Sullivan, AM O’Sullivan PR
PR is so much more than media relations. Investing in Public Relations allows for planned and strategic communications with your identified audiences so that you get to tell your story in your words.

Derek Cunningham, Cunningham Devlin
Communications strategy goes to the heart of an organisation’s overall business strategy. Clients should be prepared to think carefully about ‘What is our strategy?’, ‘Who are the stakeholders that can influence our success or failure?’, and ‘Where should PR and communications play a role?’ Clients should be prepared to involve their PR/communications adviser in these discussions. 

Download Who’s Who in Public Relations 2019 

Owen Cullen, Cullen Communications
Over time, investment in PR will help to build relationships, generate awareness, establish and enhance credibility, solve problems (if necessary) and build brand value. We always say that PR is a long-term investment, but the benefits start working from day one.

Susie Horgan, Springboard PR & Marketing
You partner with your PR practitioner – it is vital that you are open and honest and have a clear brief of what you want to achieve, a clear target. This means that at the end of the campaign, you can measure the success. 

Melanie Farrell, FTI Consulting
For us at FTI, it is about managing and enhancing our client’s reputation and using PR to advance business objectives and align activity with specific goals. Investment in PR can help a company achieve many different objectives but it is important that these objectives are aligned with business strategy.  

Darren Hughes, MediaConsult
Both client and agency need to look at any relationship on a medium-term basis. As journalists, we make it our business that our brands have a good story to tell, but brand building takes time and planning. Many of our clients, particularly in the interiors and lifestyle areas, are able to realign public buying habits by changing the focus of their stories.

James McCann, ClearStory International
Investment in PR is invaluable, as unlike advertising, credibility through publicity can’t be bought. For early stage startups, credibility and awareness are important to gain attention in a crowded marketplace and position yourself against competitors. Targeted media exposure is key in order for any client to establish and position themselves in the strongest way possible.

Sharon Bannerton, Bannerton
An investment in PR is an investment in reputation and understanding. Working with a consultant will help clarify your markets and messaging, and the best means to convey the right message to different stakeholders. All brands and businesses are different, but they can all benefit from a structured PR campaign.

Jonathan Healy, Healy Communications
Our approach is always story-based. PR is never a given, and we know the kind of stories that will always be rejected by busy journalists and editors. However, there are a wealth of stories that are sometimes overlooked, or angles that have not been told before. Coverage is never guaranteed, but if there’s a good story there’s a better chance.

 

 

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