When PR Agencies become a pain

About two weeks back, a mail from a local Public Relations (PR) Agency read – ‘Please find attached press release and photograph of a launch…’ but as the attached picture was missing, I mailed them back asking for the picture. “Sorry, there’s no photo, it was a mistake”, was the reply. Yesterday, they (the same agency) sent a release of a press meet. ‘Do you have a picture of the press meet that we can use? “Sorry Sir, we don’t have.”

I find it difficult to believe that nobody takes pictures of events and press conferences these days. If you don’t have, get them. It’s time you learn from professionals and start behaving as professionals or else stop this crap business and pack your bags.

When there is no photo, we usually use the logo of the company/brand. In case we use an old logo or a generic image, these same guys would call us ten times to get it right. Aren’t you guys being a pain (in the wrong place)? With no offences meant to my friends from the PR industry 🙂

Conflict of Interest or Vested Interest?

Some PR agencies in Kerala have started their own news websites, where the Client Executive also doubles up as an Editor/Reporter. (Sometime back I saw a person with about one year experience in a PR Agency with a designation of ‘Editor-in-Chief’ of a news website run by them). Anyway coming back to the main issue, I feel this is highly unethical as there is a clear conflict of interest here. This also affects the credibility of genuine news portals. Billing clients for PR activity and publishing the same on your own website as news is just another form of ‘paid news’ apart from showing inflated coverage to the client. I know one local PR agency who runs at least four websites to show their clients that the news was widely covered on the net.

There are also instances when PR Executives from these PRs have gone for an event as a ‘Reporter’ of their website and then sent out a free press release to other media, thereby making it difficult for other PR agencies to pitch for a contract. This is a very unprofessional way to kill competition.

Is this trend only in Kerala? I moved to Trivandrum in 2007 and have been observing this from 2010 onwards. I have worked in Bangalore for over 10 years, interacting with so many PR agencies during that period but never came across such instances.

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