Many Comments: Factors Contributing to PR Failure


In the last Bridgebuzz blog post, I reported the results of a survey we conducted of PR professionals about failure to meet PR program goals and expectations. The survey was conducted using Survey Monkey and had a total of 54 responses.  Almost all of those who responded were quite experienced – the majority had more than 20 years of PR experience. In addition to the answers to the multiple choice questions, there were a surprising number of comments added in the open-ended “other/comments” fields.  On one question, there were over 31 out of the 54 survey respondents added their comments. Many of the comments were quite thoughtful and worth the time to report here, which I promised in my last post that I would do.

The following unedited comments were made in response to the question, “What are the biggest factors contributing to failure?”

  • Most agency/client relationships fail because the expectations of the client and agency are not in sync at the beginning of a project/program. It is critical to set and agree to those expectations prior to the start of the project.
  • There’s lots of competition from similar organizations trying to get attention for the same issues, all professing to be the leader on a specific issue.
  • Unclear or inconsistent client goals.
  • Client wouldn’t budget for research. “You should know all that’s necessary; anyway, I know the situation.”
  • Our client couldn’t give us enough valuable information to create a compelling [media] pitch.
  • The client’s expectations were centered around quantity of coverage vs. quality.
  • Some clients want instant results, even though we tell them that PR takes time.
  • Our client contact was totally unresponsive; perhaps there would have been a way to go above the contact.
  • We must make clients understand that the preparation stage takes real time up front before results can be achieved.
  • True agency/client partnership means both sides take responsibility for insuring success.
  • Agencies need to think critically about client problems and identify the best means of overcoming them.  PR is not always the solution.
  • An increasing number of media outlets are asking for payment for editorial coverage. It is becoming more and more difficult to get “earned media.”
  • Problems can come from mid-management decision-makers not understanding the perspectives (or not communicating with) senior management.

Lucy Siegel

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2 Responses to “Many Comments: Factors Contributing to PR Failure”

  1. juliecole6 Says:

    Really interesting to see those results – thanks for sharing! Budgets are an issue in every field, I’d say! 🙂

  2. Niamh Says:

    Reblogged this on Love PR?.

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