We are often asked how a PR agency works. Most PR agencies work, at the most basic level, on a time-service model which means that there is a rate-card of some kind, usually with different rates for the agency leaders, directors, account directors, executives and interns.
PR agency rate-card
At Potion PR we long ago decided that a rate-card based on job title/seniority was less relevant than one based on the actual tasks required. It links much more clearly to the programme and helps clients to understand how work is broken down. Our rate-card is therefore based on the complexity of work – strategic and planning work, account management and media relations work, account support and administration activities (although we always try to minimise administration, since this is a very fast way to use up valuable budget). We often, for the purposes of calculation of long -term programmes, also use an aggregate day rate which averages out work into days which can usually be assumed to contain a little senior input, a level of account management as a ‘guiding’ hand, with the majority of team effort going into writing and media or social media work.
Our rate-card is made transparent to new business prospects as part of our discussion with them, not published – because, alone, it actually tells you very little about what the cost of a PR programme might be or how effort might be directed. Every PR campaign is different, because every business is different.
International PR agency dynamics
When an international campaign is under discussion, international PR agency dynamics also come into play. Potion PR operates as a relationship-based network, where the core relationship is held by Potion PR out of London and it manages the work and quality of work by its international partners. You can find more about our network by visiting our international PR agency page.
nternational PR programmes are planned in two ways, either as hub and spoke campaigns where the content, direction and task management each month is managed out of the London headquarters, or by establishing independent campaigns in each local PR country which are developed in alignment with a central plan. In that case, countries still report in to the centre and the hub team is responsible for keeping the global or regional PR client informed – and it often also involves the local country keeping the client’s local country manager or marketing leader informed and in the loop.
International PR billing models are often different because they must align with the client’s internal processes. Very often, billing is issued only from the London headquarters, meaning that the client does not have to manage multiple invoicing and streams of expenses. We always feel that this is the best for everyone, as it minimises the time wasted from your PR budget which is otherwise spent on administration tasks.
PR client and agency interface
PR agencies should see themselves as part of your team – but key to enabling this is having a strong internal contact. Note that we do not say an internal marketing or PR contact – that is because, for some companies, they are not yet at a stage where they have an internal marketing organisation or, for others, because they have chosen to outsource the function to agencies entirely. Even if not a marketing contact, however, PR agencies do need a person inside the organisation to whom they can report, and who can be their information source. PR agencies need some guidance as to what is going on – and they cannot make the most of news and opinions in the client organisation if they do not know them!
Unlike some PR agencies, Potion PR is very used to working independently and you can expect us to come to YOU with thoughts and ideas, never to wait only for your instruction as to how to spend our time and your budget. We see it as our responsibility to learn enough about your organisation, your customers, your market and its issues and dynamics to be creative and strategic in our own right – and bring that together with the ideas and needs and content that come from your own company, to be stronger together.