We have seen some PR agencies promising to make their clients famous but is this something they can really achieve or is it a classic PR overpromise?
At Motive we always take great care to under promise and over deliver when it comes to results. We think this approach is best when it comes to building long lasting relationships with clients. But there are many agencies out there who take the opposite approach - promising the world and then delivering very little of value.
One promise we’ve seen a couple of agencies make on their website or social channels is ‘We will make you famous’. But does this really work as a definition of what PR can do?
We do get why it’s tempting to create a marketing message like that. It’s short, snappy and memorable. But is it really fair to promise fame to clients and is it deliverable?
PR can certainly put millions of eyes on a brand. We have delivered campaigns which have achieved massive reach for clients - download our Greatest Hits pdf for some examples. So in that sense PR does have the potential to make a brand famous.
But one smash hit does not bring lasting fame which is why PR needs to be sustained consistently over many months and years to gradually grow brand recognition and awareness. The risk of a promise like this is it suggests a quick fix when the reality is brands have to plug away at PR for years to truly build a level of recognition which could reasonably be described as fame.
Poor quality clients
Another danger in making a promise such as ‘We can make you famous’ is it can attract low level clients such as fame hungry individuals or start-ups with zero budgets. These clients are pulled in by the suggestion of quick and easy success. And their expectations will be sky high. The agency promised them fame so they will be expecting nothing less than household name status within a few months. It’s a recipe for disappointment on their side and for frustration on the side of the agency.
That’s why we believe it is best not to over promise to potential clients and to be straight with them right from the start. Yes PR can put them in front of a much wider audience than other forms of marketing will. But it shouldn’t be thought of as a magic bullet and they should take a sustained, long term approach if they wish to make the most of the opportunities PR will bring them.
A better approach is to actively under promise - to agree targets and KPIs which can comfortably be smashed. This sets expectations at a level at which they can be exceeded and helps to build trust and confidence in the agency / client relationship.
That great 1980s bard Matt Goss once famously asked, ‘When will I be famous?’ If an agency is being honest their answer should be, ‘I can’t answer that.’