Isn’t it great when someone fully agrees with you. Nodding in agreement when you claim something, laughing when you tell a funny story and acknowledging any statement, however questionable it may be: “I was just going to say that myself!” – The only drawback is probably that this is getting you nowhere. Except for stroking your own ego, this person is of no use to you. It is all the more striking that in the area of PR and communication you will stumble upon many advisors and professionals who have made nodding their core business.
How can you figure out whether a PR agency is of added value to your organisation? There are some differences in emphasis on specialisations and branches, but as far as products and services go, most agencies are similar. The real difference is made by the people of the agency. Do they have the expertise, creativity, network and the critical attitude to be a partner who will really help your organisation take a step?
Prefer having an expensive echoing well?
The most important question is: is that your goal as a client? Do you want to be challenged, inspired and encouraged? Do you dare to trust the knowledge and experience of the other? Or are you primarily looking for someone to take your plans and ideas and executes them? Who notes down your unrealistic KPIs as goals without blushing? And you’re ok with the fact that you never get to see the director or senior after the first meeting because the junior is such a devoted performer? Of course you may. If you are comfortable working together with an expensive echoing well, be my guest. Or rather, be the other agencies’ guest.
That’s the same question I would like to ask colleagues. Do you want to be a performer or rather a professional, putting something in motion based on skills and competence for your customers. Who invests in growth along with the customer. Who exposes the true goals and discovers through dialogue with the customer what would be the best way to realise and exceed them. Are you a ‘we deliver what you need’ agency, or are you ‘bold enough to do the right thing’?
Or a nodding dog?
As far as I’m concerned a valuable cooperation with a PR-agency needs both sides to show guts and authenticity. Aware of their own strengths and skills, interested in each other, courageous enough to let go of fixed ideas because of the expertise of the other party, and with an open mind for the wider context. This will mark the start of cooperation which brings you a step further.
There will be numerous ways to get acknowledgement somewhere else. Think of a nodding dog on your car’s dashboard. It will follow you everywhere, wherever you go. If you go left, it will behave well and nod yes – go right, and it will nod just as much.