What's the worst PR advice you have ever received?

Posted on: 2014-02-28 in How To   |   Tagged: pr agency

Rene Musech explores what horrors can occur when companies take PR advice from agencies that are not qualified to give it.

We’ve all heard the horror stories before. A company hires a PR agency that looked good on paper and was cheaper than the competition but then something goes terribly wrong and a brand’s reputation ends up damaged. We’ve asked our network to identify the kinds of PR advice unqualified agencies sometimes give that should never be listened to. Let this be a lesson for the next time you are on the hunt for a perfect PR agency!

1. Wait for it to blow over

Has a fault been identified in your product or has your service gone offline? Do not wait around hoping for the customer uproar to just blow over. Take action quickly to address any of their concerns and keep them updated on what you are doing to fix the problem. Not communicating with customers is rarely the right answer so question your PR agency twice if this is what they advise.

2. Any publicity is good publicity

If the Daily Mail calls and wants to interview your CEO about a hot or controversial topic such as immigration, be suspicious. Just because a journalist promises to put your company’s name in print doesn’t mean they are going to say nice things about you. Be wary of a PR agency that only cares about putting you in front of journalists without any thought as to what could be the result. 

3. Try to be funny

Perhaps you have a spokesperson that is naturally charming and funny (in an appropriate way) and you want to use their personality to attract the admiration of journalists and customers. You are lucky and in the minority. If your company spokesperson is not naturally funny please do not take PR advice that tries to force the funny. If you do, people will be laughing for entirely the wrong reason.

4. Let’s take advantage of...

News hijacking is a common and often effective PR strategy. It involves providing comment or getting interviews off the back of a story in which your company was not initially involved but has something to contribute to it. Some PR agencies, however, can advise their clients to take news hijacking too far such as using natural disasters or someone’s misfortune to gain publicity for a brand. Trust me, this approach usually backfires.

5. This video is popular, let’s make our own version!

Do you remember the Harlem Shake craze in early 2013? No, it was not a good idea to make a video of your office doing the Harlem Shake. It is difficult to make a corporate video go viral and usually when one does it is because everyone is laughing at you (not in a good way). Click here to see an example. It’s just wrong.

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About this blog

The B2B PR Blog is a resource for both PR professionals and people working in B2B industries on how to devise and implement successful B2B PR campaigns. The blog was founded by B2B PR specialist Heather Baker, who runs video production and corporate animation agency TopLine Film and digital PR and SEO agency  TopLine Comms. The B2B PR Blog takes contributions from sensible industry folk with something interesting to say.


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