Is your agency sector savvy?

One of the greatest investors of all time, Warren Buffett, once said, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you'll do things differently.” It is a statement that all businesses should consider when selecting a PR agency to manage their brand reputation.

Public Relations and communications agency

In general, PR isn’t rocket science. But, delivering effective strategy and council to clients operating in highly technical sectors, such as financial or professional services, pharmaceuticals, mining or tech, requires practitioners who are not only highly skilled and competent in the communications field, but who also have a deep understanding of their clients and the industries in which their clients operate.
Often, the biggest mistake that PR agencies make when it comes to working with clients is that they underestimate the sector specific technical know-how and knowledge that is generally needed to be effective.

During the pitch process, agencies are quick point out their B2B capabilities and expertise – often with the thinking that this will be enough to win and maintain the business. In some cases it may be.

However, unless they fully immerse themselves in the industry that their clients work in, they will be committing to something that they won’t be able to deliver on.
So, what are some of the top attributes of a savvy PR agency?

·         People and knowledge:

It can be problematic if only one or two people have the relevant industry know how. Rather, a good understanding of the specific industry is critical for all team members that may be working with a particular client. For clients, it is important to get a sense from each team member on the account what their level of understanding is of their business and industry.

·         Insight:

A key function of any PR agency worth its salt is providing deep insights to clients on changes and developments in the industries in which they operate as well as advice on how to position them appropriately on these. Agencies should be able to consistently demonstrate these traits at both a strategic and practical level.

·         A head for numbers:

Within the creative world of PR, a head for numbers is a rarity. In particular, when it comes to financial or professional services clients, it is critical for consultants to have a sound understanding and a passion for statistics, economics, financial reporting and other quantitative elements.

·         Knowing the audience:

Understanding the inner workings of many of these technical industries can be tricky enough for those actually working in them, so imagine how hard it can be for many target audiences. c

At the end of the day, the PR process for most clients remains the same. What separates great PR professionals, especially within the more technical sectors, from the rest of the industry is the added value of being able to be understand these industries and in so doing, deliver real value to their clients.