Agency Eater – they’ll chew you up and spit you out!

Portrait of a LionYou know that song by Nelly Furtado, Man Eater? She’s brutal, ain’t she (in a good way)? Perhaps I can go all PR-geek here and suggest we do a spoof called Firm Eater…

They’re a firm eater
Make you sweat hard, make you work hard, make you ruin relationships
Work for a month

Makes sense in my head…(Feel free to laugh at me here.)

We’ve all seen or at least heard of companies that sign on with a PR agency only to suck it dry of its resources, unprofessionally destroy relationships and then leave it out in the cold. These companies hire PR firms thinking they are ready for publicity, PR-able and excited to share their stories with the world. Fast-forward three months and they aren’t “thrilled with your writing capabilities” and “it just isn’t working out.”

Now for the serious part: media opportunities are lost and good relationships can be potentially ruined when a client works with a firm for a short time. Relationship building/maintenance opportunities are diminished. Also, those agency eaters are usually looking for their next PR firm before they even take a moment to evaluate their role in a client-agency relationship. I always tell new clients right away that they hold a certain responsibility in this agreement as well. (“I need a hi-res head shot of your CEO. The journalist’s deadline is 1:00 p.m.”) <– Sound familiar?

What are some good signs for PR agencies to spot these Firm Eaters? Does their track record list four previous agencies in the last 6 months (check out their online newsroom)? Have they redesigned their brand three times this quarter? What do we look out for?

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