Ultimately you are buying creative ideas, and you need to give a potential agency enough information to inspire them to do their best work.

 
 

The perfect match

With a name like Partners, it’s no surprise that every once in a while we get an enquiry from someone who thinks we’re a dating agency.

But when you stop and think about it, there are some similarities between briefing a PR agency and selecting a potential date.

So, when preparing a PR brief (or looking for a date):  

  • Be clear about what you want – are you looking for a quick fling or a lifelong partnership? In PR terms, this means clearly defining what you want to achieve through PR, linking your communications’ objectives with concrete business objectives and being as specific as possible Typical PR objectives are to effect improvements in sales, usage, awareness, image, reputation, profitability, customer profile, shareholder value, and/or response levels – although there are many other possibilities, too.
  • Explain where you are now – and how you got there. In dating terms, that might mean laying bare your baggage. In terms of briefing a PR agency, it means describing the current position of your business and brand, its background and the key issues it faces; describing your product or service in detail (including key attributes and benefits); distribution channels; market size (volume and value); competitive brands/products and outlining their communications activity.
  • How will you measure success – not bolting from the restaurant screaming after 10 minutes is one indication of a successful date. In PR terms, we’re talking about clearly agreeing how the campaign will be measured. It’s vital to put measures in place to establish whether or not the campaign delivers against its desired objectives. When will those measurements be taken? By whom?
  • Who are you targeting? Are you looking for a blonde with blue eyes or is a silver fox your type? As a brand, you will know where the potential lies for developing your business through customers, partners, advocates and stakeholders. All communications are designed to elicit some form of response from a particular group of people. These target groups should be defined and prioritised as accurately as possible in your brief to a prospective agency. Equally important are the insights you already hold about them, which can be leveraged to create the desired reaction.
  • Where do I fit in?  Does your hectic lifestyle mean you’re only available at weekends for dates? For an agency, this means understanding what else you are doing to achieve your objectives – share your marketing strategy and key messages so that the agency can develop a PR campaign that will support them and help take you in the right direction.
  • A budget – does your perfect date consist of a swift pint and a bag of crisps or are you expecting a weekend in Monte Carlo? When it comes to setting a PR budget remember you’re not trying to catch the agency out, or grab yourself a bargain. You are trying to find an agency to partner with. The relationship needs to be open and honest. So state a budget or at least provide a range.

An agency is looking for clear objectives and comprehensive background information that will stimulate their creative imagination, not restrict it. Ultimately you are buying creative ideas, and you need to give a potential agency enough information to inspire them to do their best work.

The brief you give an agency is crucial, and a good agency will interrogate and challenge even the best briefs. It’s all part of making sure we have the information we need to do the best possible job for you.

    
 
The Partners Group

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