A hotly contested topic in the industry, we ask, is it necessary to have an external PR agency if you have an in-house marketing team?
“YES” says Naydene Commins, Managing Director, NCPR
A first-rate PR company will have the skill and expertise to provide a tailor-made PR and marketing plan that will be appropriate to budget and help a business grow
Although it might seem unnecessary to enlist a professional PR company when an in-house marketing person or team is on hand, I feel it can be hugely advantageous to any business. As well as marketing professionals, a great PR agency will have a team of experts on hand including social media specialists, journalists, media managers, designers and business experts to name a few. Together, they unite their expertise to deliver a bespoke marketing plan that will include a selection of innovative activities and campaigns to not only enhance brand awareness, but to target the perfect demographic. This will result in a higher footfall and ultimately lead any business to reach new heights.
Often companies feel that they won’t have the budget to support an external PR agency, but it is important to remember that PR solutions do not have to be expensive to be effective. A first-rate PR company will have the skill and expertise to provide a tailor-made PR and marketing plan that will be appropriate to budget and help a business grow.
Media coverage is absolutely crucial to building a high-profile reputation – it is a vital channel to connect with existing and potential clients and show them exactly what a business has to offer. This is one of the most important ways in which a PR agency can help. One of the key ways to succeed in PR is to build a network of contacts among media, bloggers and high-status personalities. By having such close ties, a PR agency will be privy to a host of opportunities and possibilities that can be used to the benefit of a brand. A PR team will also work closely with journalists to gain coverage through features and reviews in media titles to which existing and potential clients will be exposed. With ongoing publicity, a brand will attract more attention, from the media who will be keen to cite the opinions of a well-known brand in articles, as well as from the public who will be keen to be associated with a high-profile business.
For instance, through a one of our media campaigns, a client was noticed by an international modelling agency, J Model Management, and was invited to participate in a global fashion event. Following this, the client attracted a host of new business and just three months later won a prestigious beauty award. This is just one example of the effect a proactive external PR company can have for a brand.
“NO” says Clare Pardoe, Founder and Head Designer, Phioro Jewellery
I can be sure that my team will deliver our message better than an external PR team who would be handling several other clients at any one time
From our experience, we have found it unnecessary to have an external PR agency at this stage of our company timeline. We interviewed a number of PR firms, and after much deliberation we decided that our strongest path forward would be to focus our efforts in-house.
We have a specific in-house style of writing and communicating our marketing material, and even if we had chosen to employ a PR firm I would still want to edit every press release that goes out there! I feel that because our team is dedicated to Phioro and our brand image, I can be sure that my team will deliver our message better than an external PR team who would be handling several other clients at any one time.
In addition to this, it enables us to invest our money wisely. Our team handles everything from PR to social media, to online marketing. If we used an external PR company, these three aspects would be charged for separately and possibly handled by several different companies, so may not all channel the same message as effectively. We were of course tempted by the strong relationships that external PR teams have already built across the media network, however this disconnection with the journalists can become a weakness for companies should they want to change in future to another external PR company, or seek to focus on in-house marketing.
By working hard at the beginning to establish relationships with editors and press, it has meant that they can interact directly with the personality behind the brand, and I’ve found that editors really appreciate that. It allows me to truly communicate my passion for my brand, which I do by taking them on a personal tour of our collections and explaining the bespoke aspect of our business. The personal approach means that they connect with the brand on a much more emotional level, and suits our brand and what we represent. It also enables editors to experience a hands-on approach as they can freely contact us directly for their needs. This is hugely beneficial to media professionals, because as things are so often urgent and last minute, by knowing them personally we can cut out the middle man and work far more efficiently.