Attracting A-list celebrities to a public relations program can be a formidable challenge. Getting them to do anything for less than a six-figure fee is practically impossible. But if you have the right story and that story meshes with the celebrity’s own interests, you might be surprised at how things turn out.
In public relations, we often take calculated risks aimed at generating conversations about our clients – what we call disrupting today. Thirty-two years ago, I went out on a limb and it’s a story that’s both entertaining and instructive even though tactics and media are so very different now than they were then.
One of the first clients I ever won at an agency was a large resort hotel adjacent to a major theme park. At the first meeting after we were assigned the business, the client took me on a tour of the property pointing out the various amenities, which were nice, but scarcely novel much less newsworthy.
Unlike advertising, public relations is more an art than a science. Based on our level of experience, we can reasonably predict outcomes, however, they are only predictions. All kinds of factors can influence what happens, good, bad or indifferent.
We lost a satellite media tour to a competitor recently because the firm told the client it could guarantee 300 million impressions. Put another way, that means the SMT and related content would be viewed by nearly every man, woman and child in America.
Early in my public relations career I was confronted with one of those clients everyone in this business wants to avoid. For 18 months, he made my life hell. I don’t blame him. I blame me.
Not long after I launched KEF Media in 1986, I began thinking about a television program dedicated to airing my clients’ video news releases. We kicked around a lot of ideas, from “Blue Chip News” to a show-and-tell type show. None of these ever got any traction because they lacked the requisite entertainment value TV programs need to hold the audience’s attention. So we put the idea on hold, deciding if we did such a show, it had to be the right show.
The quality of your work is the best sales tool at your disposal. This has been my mantra since I started my public relations career nearly 40 years ago. Deliver more than what the client is looking for and the client will come back for more. The client will also spread the word, thus becoming an invaluable secondary sales resource.
Things don’t always go the way we plan and sometimes our hopes and expectations crash head-on into corporate realities.
Boutique and small public relations agencies are flourishing. Clients love the kind of personal service they receive when agency owners and senior management are engaged in their accounts.