Does your PR agency know its onions?

“You have to understand accounting and you have to understand the nuances of accounting... unless you are willing to put in the effort to learn accounting – how to read and interpret financial statements – you really shouldn’t select stocks yourself,” Warren Edward Buffett 

What does a quote about accountancy skills have to do with a technical PR blog, I hear you ask? Allow me to elaborate.

By Kirsty McMahon, MCIPR

Warren Edward Buffett knows his onions. The American investor, industrialist, philanthropist and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway is often referred to as one of the most successful investors in the world. Not to mention the fact that he has taken up permanent residency on the list of the world’s wealthiest people. So, if he tells you that you need an accountant that is putting effort into learning all the intricacies of accountancy, you better believe him.

In the real world, populated by us folk that aren’t ridiculously rich, this means hiring an accountant that is chartered or certified. It makes logical sense to ensure that the person handling your cash is someone that is invested in continual professional development (CPD). What fascinates me, however, is that we aren’t always as discerning with other suppliers that handle crucial aspects of our business operations.

Why should you care about chartered PR practitioners?
Anything in which you invest even a small portion of your budget must show clear return. It makes sense that if you’ve approached a PR agency to help increase awareness of your brand, you must be looking for expertise that you do not have in-house. So, how do you know you’re not being sold a load of nonsense that’s just been packaged well with lots of nice pictures?

Not once have I attended a pitch and been asked by a client whether anyone at our agency is chartered, or to what level we invest in CPD. Not even on occasions where we’re suggesting a substantially sized campaign to achieve the outlined goals.  Why on earth not?

The litmus test for whether anything you’re purchasing is worth the money has to come from something substantial, and part of that test should be asking this question. An agency that is keeping up-to-date with the latest best practice in a structured way is much more likely to be able to deliver the best possible service.

Not only will your account managers be better placed to offer accurate consultancy advice, but the campaign as a whole is much more likely to achieve the results you actually want.

For example, let’s say that you want to use social media platforms to reach potential customers and enhance the service you offer to your existing customers. If the PR consultants working on your account are not undertaking CPD they will fall behind as social media evolves. It’s not good enough to just be good – a good consultant needs a continual burning hunger to improve.

As my main man, Buffet, says, “Price is what you pay. Value is what you get”. So, next time you’re speaking to a PR agency, make sure you really look at whether its people are positioned to give your business the value it’s looking for.

Or you could just give us a call. Nine of the Stone Junction team are members of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations, four are accredited practitioners two are student members and our MD, Richard Stone, is a chartered PR practitioner — so we really do know our onions.

Kirsty McMahon

Stone Junction is a cool technical PR agency based in Stafford. We work for all sorts of businesses, with a particular focus on technology, technical and engineering companies. We like being sent cake and biscuits by clients, journalists and prospects.

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