Villing & Company

Saving the Saviors: How PR Agencies Are Solving Their Own PR Crisis

This summer I have been fortunate enough to be involved with some great projects here at Villing & Company. There were many things that I’ve learned while working with them this summer. This includes, but is not limited to, creating a time sheet, coming up with social media strategies, navigating through terrible company websites while doing research, and finally realizing that not even coffee can break the 2:00 p.m. slump.

However, the most surprising thing that I learned from interning here this summer, is that PR has its own PR, and with PR comes problems. An article from Adweek states that even PR has its own bad publicity. Even though PR programs can, “mitigate crisis and shift perceptions from negative to positive, […] the overall brand perception of PR is in the dumps.”

So who do you call when PR needs help? Many might say Olivia Pope, the fictional crisis-manager on ABC’s hit TV Scandal. However, that character is based off a true crisis manager, the “real-life Olivia Pope,” Judy Smith.

Judy Smith is America’s number one crisis manager and she has worked with celebrities, politicians, and major corporations.

Smith gave advice at LinkedIn’s CommsConnect event in New York on May 8th of this year. Among those in the crowd, partner and general manager, Tyler Perry, from Bateman Group formed her own four tips for handling the PR crisis situation.

One point that Perry advises to others is to make sure that agencies are treating themselves like the client. They need to promote their case studies, market themselves, and observe trends in the industry. PR agencies need just as much TLC as their clients do.

Another tip that Perry gives is from Smith’s idea of having, “3rd-party friends so when the time comes, you have someone that can publicly support you,” if you need help. Companies sometimes can’t market themselves, that’s where PR agencies come in. So when PR needs help, they should use their relationships with clients as partnerships, and from there, establish trust and value for their business.

At the end of the day, I agree with Perry and her belief that companies need to start viewing PR as a business strategy and not something that should be kept on the back-burner. Interning with a PR agency this summer has shown me just how much “good PR” can help a company thrive, and how “bad PR” can destroy everything the business built.

Now, it’s time for PR agencies to “take their own advice,” and start marketing themselves.

Filed Under: public relations, internship

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