How to find the best Communications agency for your business
If you have a product or service that needs to be better-known by customers, suppliers and other stakeholders, it is essential that you find a local PR agency as a partner.
Press relations can be a straightforward process for companies that already have experience in the field, but very complex for those which have never before required such specialized support, especially in different countries, where the culture has a strong influence in business.
Roughly speaking, we can share the cultures in the world with high-context cultures and those with low-context cultures. This refers to the value cultures place on indirect and direct communication. For high context cultures, communications are implicit and rely heavily on context. By contrast, low-context cultures rely on explicit verbal communication, documents, and evidence. High-context cultures value interpersonal relationships that are built slowly and dependent upon trust. Latin American countries are examples of high-context culture, issues may arise that makes doing business hard if the company has no previous experience within the country.
If you have already decided to partner with a local communications specialist, congratulations, you are on the right path! However, there are more steps required to ensure success. Here are three vital tips for those looking to work with a communications agency:
- Firstly, and most importantly, you need to hire a PR firm that suits your business in terms of expertise. An agency that works with construction clients, for example, cannot perform properly if you want to launch a new TV cookery channel. The firm must have a track-record of experience and success with your core business. One obvious benefit here is that the PR firm will already have links to key journalists, influencers, executives, associations and trade events related to your line of business.
- Secondly, ask for proposals from at least three different agencies, preferably of different sizes. Each one will offer differing benefits and prices and you must access their value to you rather than just bargain for the lowest price. Larger agencies naturally tend to employ a bigger staff, and the person in charge of an account is normally an intern. Midsize agencies are different. Normally, the account is run by a more experienced professional, so he or she will talk to your company and the journalist, which greatly facilitates the dialogue. Small-sized agencies tend to deal well with companies that needs more brand awareness. They offer a “boutique” service and will not be as interested in expanding their profile with famous clients. Your account matters to the agency and you will be served by senior staff or the agency owner, which brings a lot of value to your business.
- The third and final tip concerns creativity. The creativity of the agency’s attendant and planner is as or more important than the list of contacts she holds, because there’s no point in having anything to sell without having the right arguments to do so.
Therefore, ask your prospective partner to talk about their business cases, how they deal with big topics in your field and to describe the creative process in the agency. This can help you to make a decision about their suitability.
By Estela Silva, Capital Informação – Comunicação Integrada