Media and Corporate Communications Tel: 07802 584536   Email Jools Payne

60 minutes to convince

As we hurtle headlong into the London 2012 and Team GB fever I’m eagerly anticipating the return of my favourite BBC2 TV programme Twenty 12. It’s a wonderfully clever, brilliantly written and superbly acted ‘mockumentary’ spoofing the Olympic Deliverance Commission, the body tasked with delivering the London 2012 Olympics.

One of the leading characters is PR Consultant, Siobhan Sharpe, who is Head of Brand and probably the biggest airhead on TV after Bubbles in Absolutely Fabulous. As if PR Consultants don’t have a bad enough name as it is, actress Jessica Hynes’ character offers a catastrophic assassination on the credibility of PRs. The problem is…and don’t tell anyone I told you…I have actually worked with people just like Siobhan Sharpe. It is a hilarious, if not slightly discomfiting watch.

For new businesses, setting up an operation is stressful enough without having incompetent providers around you. You want to be sure of your providers’ expertise and most importantly, at the embryonic stage of your business (actually, at any stage of being in business), you need to be getting the best possible value for money.

It is often promulgated by organisations like the now defunct Business Link and egotistical business advisers like Robert Craven, that PR is expensive. It’s a popular misconception too, that PR agencies demand an annual retainer. Neither is true. And certainly not of my organisation.

Investment in quality advice can help kick start your start-up or re-invigorate a stale brand – whether that advice covers legal, financial or marketing issues. You don’t buy a dog and bark yourself. But you do need to ensure that the guardian of your business baby knows their stuff and is worth their fee.

Any decent PR business will offer you a free 1 hour consultation to evidence their credentials and expertise and talk through your business needs. That should be plenty of time to determine whether you have a Siobhan Sharpe or a Jools Payne at the table. And for sure, you’ll know within those 60 minutes whether you’ll enjoy working with that person. People buy people just as much as expertise.

Do you have an example where you’ve bought a service based on the personality of the provider that you’re prepared to share here?


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