Clients paying Peanuts?!
Sometime ago I had written about how it was important for the media to understand the importance of PR as an industry and respect its professionals. And how without their help it would be difficult to give PR it’s due importance. But there is one more entity who plays an equal role and needs to give PR it’s dues, which I mean literally and that is Clients!
As much as we may all want but pitch fees is still utopia to expect but what is not Utopian and is even justified is for Clients to agree to give PR agencies at least the fee they so deserve and not haggle over monies. Am sure all senior PR professionals would have experienced this at various points in time at new business presentations. The plans and concepts presented are seldom just the ordinary and I know that many of us burn the midnight oil, brainstorm and research a lot to present the best of pitch concepts and plans. The Client is all too eager and excited to lap it up the first instance…but the moment the commercials are put across the table the Client cringes to an extent to make you feel as if you have asked for the moon. As much as the fees may be, trust me, PR is still asking for peanuts as compared to all the money that the Client spends in other forms of communication. When you are invited for a pitch you are told that the brand is incomplete without you, which we agree…then why the discomfort to pay the right dues?
The haggling goes on for days on end…(am sure to get a lot of …Madhavi, it is a part and parcel of this profession..comments) but what am saying is it is not fair! People negotiate and renegotiate…they want all regions, they want dedicated resources, they want all the activities mentioned in the pitch and then they confess about menial budgets for PR. Why should you have menial budgets for PR? Why shouldn’t you understand the long term positive effects and the equity you will enjoy as a brand after a successful PR campaign and allocate budgets for PR likewise?Why would you not understand that it takes a lot of effort, a 360 degree understanding of various media operations, people skills, industry knowledge and a news sense to get your brand the required limelight…so why would you not pay?!
And the even better part is that when Clients do agree to a commercial, they start negotiating on the size and position of coverage, when it will appear, the headlines and content?! Suddenly one wonders if the Client is equating PR to Media buying?!
Even while the PR professionals study and increase their competency to understand the Client’s domain and communicate to the Media, just as we all expect the Media to respect us for what we do and not treat us as mindless mediators…we also need the support of Clients to understand that PR is a knowledge exercise…Public Relations is the Art of communicating with the masses and formulating a Scientific approach to reach out to your target audience to enable the publics have better understanding of an organisations’ objectives and intention thereby building a favourable image.
It’s a humble request to all the Clients all over who engage or want to engage PR teams and professionals…Do not haggle and negotiate to an extent to drain the communications experts of their enthusiasm and eagerness to work for you. When you are agreeing to a retainer or project fee, you are respecting the talent, the ideas and the resources that is being dedicated to build your brand. It is not a high perk, high paying, high on revenues and billing industry. But that does not mean the work and effort, the brains and sweat are any less…so just do the needful…Give PR it’s Dues 🙂