PR agencies: our own worst enemies at times?

PR agencies hate it when they’re asked to enter a pitch and find out after submitting a proposal that they were just making up the numbers.

It happens a lot, especially if you’ve been in business more than 26 years, as we have.

But are we our own worst enemies at times? Are we all talk and no action when it comes to protecting our shared PR interests and values?

In the middle of a busy day running the media centre at the Middle East’s biggest real estate exhibition, also representing two developers and a real estate brokerage at the show, another email comes in.

It’s from a manpower services company who need help to promote a new regional operation, starting with setting up media interviews for a visiting executive.

The brief is as flimsy as they come, but if we have relevant experience can we send in a proposal?

We, meaning us AND the 35 other PR agencies copied on the email!

Not wanting to waste the sender’s time any more than ours, I point out that collecting as many quotations as possible and then opting for the best price, while a common practice, can be a huge mistake in terms of results and cost-effectiveness.

And I suggest they instead opt to work with an agency they feel comfortable with based on their reputation, experience and the gut feeling they get from being in touch with them.

The reply is also copied to the other 35 agencies, two of which, among the biggest names in Middle East PR, respond with their support.

There’s nothing, meanwhile, from the other 33. Not surprisingly, not another word either from the original sender.

How many of the 33 sent in a proposal is anyone’s guess. One of them will win the business. But is PR the winner here? Don’t we all lose by entering an auction, dragging ourselves, and our prices, down?

Tony Lewis, CEO