It took COVID-19 for companies to realise the role of PR in reputation management. As the number of companies asking for PR rises, PRmoment India spoke to PR professionals to understand how this has impacted the scope of business pitches and the current challenges of pitching.
PR insiders say that post-Covid-19, the scope of work has increased and PR has the additional challenge of creating enough talented bench strength to handle the demand.
Rising Scope of PR Work: PR firms view
Michelle Rocha, PR Consultant & content writer says, "The lines between PR, content, marketing and Advertising are blurred when it comes to giving ideas during a new client business pitch.
Transparency in paid media budgets is a key feature to be mentioned during the rounds of a business pitch.
Client business pitches also need to include internal communications as a major pillar, giving strategies to create ambassadors out of employees and internal stakeholders is essential."
Saurav Aikat, head - of partnerships & corporate relations, at Delhi-based reputation management firm, Consocia Advisory, concurs sharing that, "Budget allocation in modern PR often involves a significant portion for digital marketing, influencer collaborations, content creation for online platforms, social media advertising, and analytics tools to track campaign performance. The budget needs to be adaptable to the evolving digital landscape and the specific goals of the client."
Setu Shah, CEO, Prose Integrated & Digital Tribe lists the inclusion of digital services, mapping journalist and their social profiles to explore how the brand can engage with journalists online and global trends in the sector-if it’s a tech centric business- as some of the mains asks by clients.
Winning PR Pitches: Brand View
Lipika Kapil, communications director & global head of PR and communications at the maths learning platform, Cuemath, believes the core of a great pitch is understanding the organisation's business needs: "Last year, I invited two sets of agencies for two different projects. Some agencies took the initiative to set up calls and delve deeper into the brief, seeking additional information that would aid them in generating more thoughtful proposals. Consequently, the proposals from these agencies were significantly superior to those that responded promptly but overlooked key aspects of the brief. One large agency missed the brief completely."
Kapil, additionally, advises, "Sell right, sell adequate - Please don't over or undersell. Pitch according to the ask. For instance, refrain from promising a B2B business that your team can outperform their sales team. Instead, focus on how your services can enhance their product marketing efforts."
Kunal Ajmera, director - Trivoli Digital feels the key lies in, "Instead of sending out a high volume of pitches, focus on a select few that align closely with your agency's expertise and the recipient's needs. Quality proposals are more likely to receive attention."
Brands ghosting PR firms after pitches?
"Unfortunately, I've personally experienced this (ghosting) during my time in the agency.
Currently working brand side at Cuemath, Kapil says,"Speaking from the experience of working in startups, they operate with a higher degree of agility and often grapple with multiple concurrent business challenges. In this context, decisions may evolve or undergo significant changes. I believe it's essential to maintain open communication with the teams involved in such situations. Even if the decision is postponed by a quarter or six months, transparently communicating this is important.
Having said that,"Decisions aren't always solely within the purview of the communications team, and agencies can also show empathy and understanding."
Neha Mohanty, founder, StarFishGlobal Communications LLP, says, yes, ghosting does exist, "A lot of work goes into ideation and producing a PR Proposal because it is not a one-size-fits-all approach, therefore organisations should make it a point to at least notify the agency about their plans and avoid ghosting.
Devesh Purohit, CEO and director, Legacy Matrix PR has a strong opinion on the subject, " Many clients connect, ask for plans and commercials and completely ghost. I know some of my fellow colleagues who have faced bad debts and I have too. Ghosting, delayed payments, unrealistic client expectations, low budgets and lack of understanding of PR insights and value from clients are some of the problems faced by PR firms"